It’s been a few weeks now since I last posted an article on here. Since then, Ms MM and I have spent all of February travelling around Bali, Indonesia. Our mission, besides the pure relaxing pleasure one, has been experiencing what a not-too-far-in-the-distant-future living a retired ex-pat life in a foreign land could feel like.

Sanur Beach, Bali

In answer to the obvious question, could we live overseas in a place like Bali, where every dollar goes two or three times as far as it does here in Australia, where the pace of life appears permanently relaxed, where the people are always friendly, and where dining out on delicious food becomes the norm? Why, absolutely, YES WE COULD!!

I have to admit, we did excel at the pure relaxing pleasure part spending days just hanging out, swims in the pool or sea, seeking out food stalls that the locals eat (as opposed to local restaurants that serve burgers, chips, and pizza to foreigners), and generally avoiding, as best we could, the locations visited by a constant stream of camera-clicking Chinese and Korean tourists arriving by the bus load every few minutes.

Could I become a ‘digital nomad’?

My intention before leaving for Bali was to keep you up to date with a weekly commentary of our trip and, at the beginning I did start writing a draft for week one’s intrepid adventures. However, as the days went by, the desire to write began slipping south quicker than the icy cold Bintang beers being served up most afternoons.

In fact, I had to discipline myself (mentally, not physically) to take a couple of hours every few mornings to create sufficient content to meet my paid freelance writing gig obligations. This was easier said than done but in the end, my client did receive what they had asked for.

You’ve probably read about the growing number of people who are packing their bags and travelling around the world whilst still earning a living via a variety of different jobs that can be done with little more than a laptop and a decent internet connection.

Herein lies the first lesson learnt about becoming a ‘digital nomad’. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

How can you work with views like this?

Take it from someone who has just spent a month experiencing what it’s like to become one of these lucky buggers who tease us with tales of working from cafes on sandy beaches in exotic locations. It actually takes a lot of dedication and discipline to tear your focus away from the sand, the surf and the palm trees, ignore the noise and other distractions around you and produce quality material for a client.

And finding a reliable, decently fast internet service can be a challenge in itself. How can it one minute be blindingly fast, and the next, nothing? A ‘first world’ problem no doubt, but highly frustrating when one is in work mode.

So apart from doing what I ‘had’ to do, which was write for my paying client, what I didn’t ‘have’ to do, i.e. write engaging articles for this blog, went much the way of the empty Bintang bottles……. out the door so to speak (or into the recycling for the bottles. But I think you get what I mean).

Back to normality. Ho hum

Since returning to Brisbane and a life of ‘normality’, my fingers haven’t hit the keyboard much either. I think what I’ve got is a classic case of ‘blog writers block’ and to be honest, it doesn’t really concern me much.

When I started this blog, I felt I had plenty of Oracle-like advice to offer the world on topics of frugal living and reaching financial independence, and the eventual goal of early retirement. And I was ready to share with anyone who was willing to listen (or read) my sage-like pearls of wisdom that may help in their own FI/RE journey.

Since then, and it’s almost been a whole year of writing this blog, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are blog writers out there who do a far better job of this than me. In fact, some of them are truly prolific posting 2 or 3 quality articles per week. I really don’t know how they find the time, but they do.

Some of the blogs I’ve most enjoyed following over the past 12 months include…..

Freedom is Groovy – Mr and Mrs Groovy both contribute highly entertaining stories about how they have reached financial independence and their recent early retirement. “ I want to teach my fellow Americans how to liberate themselves from the yoke of bumbling bureaucrats and the pointlessness of pointless jobs.”

The Picky Pinchers – Millennial Mrs Picky shares how she and her hubby are learning and experiencing the ups and downs of frugal living as they work towards early financial independence. The weekly frugal meal ideas are worth catching too.

Dividends Down Under – Tristan and Jasmin are another young couple who share the writing on their highly motivated journey to financial freedom here in Australia. With a baby now on the way, T&J’s articles should provide inspiration for anyone who wants to reach FI/RE as soon as possible.

Millennial Money Man – Bobby’s FIRE website is one of those success stories when it comes to monetising your blog. What’s better than a zillion readers? A zillion readers who click on your links and make you money. Find out how he paid off a $40k student loan in 2-years and gave up his teaching job to become a full-time blogger.

From little things, bigger things grow

My other excuse for a lack of blog writing effort is that my side-hustle, the online drug testing product business I set up in June last year, is becoming less and less like a side-hustle and more and more like full-time employment. Yikes!!

Sales over the past couple of months have picked up and so have the number of enquiries and opportunities out there for my products. Not necessarily a bad thing.

This growth in activity comes as a result of increased media coverage and escalating public knowledge about the harm caused by the use of methamphetamine in Australia. As people become aware of the growing risk of becoming an innocent victim, more are purchasing these test kits to protect themselves before buying or renting homes, or buying used vehicles.

So what was the whole point of this, again?

So much for retirement eh? But we have discussed this in a previous article. Retiring early inevitably means lots of time to fill that was previously occupied by working for someone else. Now my days need filling with productive, alternate activities to prevent the onset of brain-numbing boredom and all of the potential temptations that too much time on one’s hands might offer.

happily-retired-earlyThe great part is that this abundance of ‘me’ time can be used to do what I want to do. My online business and freelance writing gig are taking up pretty well most of what I’d describe as ‘work time’ while still leaving sufficient hours each week to ride my bike, whip up a batch of home-brew cider, jump in the pool, and throw my culinary weight around the kitchen every day, cooking up fab meals.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m planning to shut up shop here at Get FIRE’d. Oh no indeed. I’m just not going to set myself any writing or posting targets that I feel mentally obliged to achieve. If I feel that I have something to say, or some burning topic that is just begging to written about, I’ll write and post it to the waiting world. If not, well it just ain’t gonna happen folks……..

So to all of my loyal readers and subscribers, I thank you for following me over the past 12 months and hope that you stick around for future articles.

Many of you are also bloggers and as you know yourselves, the comments and feedback received after each post, as well as the Facebook and Twitter comments, likes, and re-posts/re-tweets, are the fuel that keep us writing.

It’s so satisfying to know that our work is being read and appreciated by the wider community. And please, don’t stop them coming.

10 thoughts on “Bali holiday, side-hustles, and finding a post-retirement balance”

  1. Hey, thanks for the mention. 🙂 It’s great to see you had so much fun in Bali! I think it’s important to test the wateres for any big life change (ie. being a digital nomad) before diving in headfirst only to realize it isn’t for you. I wish I could spend a month in Bali. 😉

    And congrats on a year of blogging! I know it’s NOT EASY whatsoever, especially with other online writing obligations, too. I hope we can see more fun pictures from your travels! 🙂

    1. You’re welcome Mrs Picky. And congrats on making your own one year blog anniversary this month. Slices of birthday cake for everyone. I think ‘dipping the toe in’ first comes with age and experience. Too many times have I made rash decisions only to pay dearly for them later on. If you’re keen for more photos I’ll find a suitable way to get them out there without swamping readers with my holiday snaps. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

  2. Wow, thank you so much for including us. We’re truly humbled. Mr. Groovy is much more inspired about writing than I am, and I don’t even have balmy beaches or Bintang vying for my attention. I’m glad you had a wonderful trip and it sure must feel good to confirm you could get used to the nomad lifestyle, even with a spotty internet connection. Congratulations on the one year blog-o-versary!

    1. Credit where credit’s due Groovy’s. I do enjoy your blog and I don’t care who knows it!! As you may have gathered, beaches and Bintang do have a certain allure which is hard to resist. The plan is to settle down somewhere rather than a constant nomadic lifestyle but there will definatly be plenty of travel too. The digital nomad side-hustle should fit into the picture quite nicely I think.

  3. Great to hear things are going so well, particularly your online business. With your investments, business and freelance work, you’ve got the multiple income streams that is the key to remaining FIRE.

    I wonder if it would be so difficult to be disciplined in Bali once you knew it was permanent, and your life now. A month is definitely a holiday time period, but once that had extended to 6 or 12, you might again find yourself looking for something to do.

    I’m happy to keep reading whenever you want to post. Also, for me, it doesn’t always have to be an article where you are teaching something. People can learn from stories about your life as well. Even if we don’t, I find them interesting to read.

    1. Thank you very much for the kind comments Mrs ETT. I do hope things are settling down in your lives now.

      Having a diversified investment portfolio and a few different income streams really is the key as you say. Once you have made the decision to give up full-time work, or have retired due to age, the idea of taking up full-time work because you have to, just doesn’t bear thinking about. But the key, I have found, is to become financially independent first. That way, you’re not dependent on other income streams or side-hustles for living on and it makes doing them so much more enjoyable.

      I appreciate you staying on board and hope to keep getting worthwhile articles out periodically and look forward to reading yours as well.

  4. That’s great how you were able to create numerous income streams! This will definitely provide much better financial security than depending one source for all of your income needs. I should take a page out of your book and do the same! 🙂

    1. Hi Mrs FE, the side hustles I have keep me out of trouble during the day and top up the income derived from my investment portfolio. Without sounding smug, it’s not so much a case of ‘needing’ the money but I do think that in the early stages of retirement it’s good to keep topping up the money pool as it’s always going to be better to have too much than not enough.

      Maybe having a couple of smaller income earners that you can do from home may be ideal for you rather than going back into mainstream work.

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