Luís Simões, travel sketcher around the world
From a traveler life to a settled life in Bali
After my trip to New Zealand and Australia, I was worried about what is the meaning of traveling and life for a long term nomad, like me. Was it really making me happy or I was just doing it because I thought so?
In New Zealand, I started to feel if I continue traveling with this interrogations I wouldn’t enjoy my time and make the most of it with the experiences I would have. The mind was trying to find a meaning for traveling, when the body was instead, missing a settled life stop worrying about progressing. So what should I do, when settling sounds always so unusual to me…
I understood that to continue my venture I have to put finish a project with some of my work. Constant drawings without a plan on what to do with them was letting me frustrated. And, honestly, I did some tries to put something out in the past, but they never came out to see this world.
These are some of the examples I did when I traveled intensely with Jorge Vassalo in India in 2015. Unfortunately, we didn’t succeed to understand each other and we move on without anything done together.
In Thailand with Pietro Buzzanca, I worked again on a supposed book, but again, we crashed at the very end and it didn’t come out.
Then I met the third person and we started to work on… Nah, I’m kidding! I think I would be dumb keep trying after those fails. Rather, I started to look for what I have done so far. There was so much work and so much to tell that I didn’t really need to search for more sketches or stories, and that’s how I started to think about my own book.
Why I choose to live in Bali?
When I came for the first time to Bali in February, it was impossible to be indifferent to the temples, incense smell, people smiles, attractive beaches and great sceneries to sketch. Of course, there is chaos: taxi drivers trying to make business with the “new bees” in town. The traffic jam, with all the dust and motorbikes speeding everywhere… but life looked exciting here.
One important thing I also found fascinating is the sympathy between western and asian lifestyle. It’s so easy to find nonspicy food …ha ha yeah it’s a big thing for me. But since I arrived, I felt that Bali had magic! Days in Bali were filled with a good vibe and they continued during my stay. Plus, and today I can tell it is a big plus, I met Anisa before I went to Australia.
I spend around 3 months traveling in Sydney, New Zealand, and Melbourne before I made the decision to settle in Bali. The life cost in Bali was affordable for all what I was looking for: rest from traveling, work on my book and explore my time with Anisa, plus its summer all year and an amazing place to surf. That’s why Bali, will always be a good choice I did to find again comfort!
Where do I live?
I choose to live in the south of Bali. The first house, I was paying 250$US and was a dark room with an open air kitchen full of mosquitos. Before I could do anything in that kitchen, I would spray anti-mosquito gas to get rid of all the bastards, and only after a while, I could clean the dead bodies and prepare my breakfast. It was so good that in one week I moved to a new place.
Maybe traumatize from the last place, the second place I choose was a luxury. I was paying a bit more (400$US) but I had everything. Pool (yes Bali has this great deals), wifi, cleaning 3 times a week, and 2 windows… that, unfortunately, was the downside of the house. Not enough light.
So the search continued until I found the actual house I’m staying. I’m now paying 280$US for a full house with mango, and papaya trees and unexpected animal guests. Geckos, spiders, rats, cats, dogs, frogs, mosquitos, flies, bees, etc. are all normal since I live in the middle of the jungle/nature. It doesn’t have a pool and all the cleaning is done by us, but to be honest, that just makes us appreciate and care more about this house.
My landlord is also one of the reasons I like this place. He’s kindness every time I need anything, gain my loyalty. In one of our conversations, he told me that there are three things he believes he should always treat well: nature, humans, and gods. In his vision, if he treats well this three elements, they will give him well treats too. It made sense.
The talk continues and he said that every person has a bad and a good side. No one can be just one side. What happens is, some choose to show more one side than other. Finding the balance was the key he said. It made sense again.
How do I travel around?
The best way is by motorbike. Yes, the traffic is mad, but after my experience on a 1989 LML Vespa in India, makes driving in Bali easy! Plus I have a 125CC Honda Vario (like 90% of the population in Bali) that it just needs to be filled up with petrol and speed up to go surfing!
Is it difficult with the visa?
It’s not easy, but it’s not complicated. Overall is not as cheap as it was in Hong Kong (I stayed 11 months) where I could go one day to Macau and on the same day I would came back and would get 3 more months for free.
The Indonesian government asks a lot of documentation and fees every time I want to extend my visa. There are Agents to help you out for a bit extra money and also some foreigners can help you to understand.
What is my life in Bali?
If you haven’t noticed, it’s because you haven’t been coming here that often! I recently changed this page for what I think is a more organized page. You can see easily my sketches, videos, and pictures and also communicate more with me leaving your comments at the end of the each post or page, and rate posts you liked to read. This change also helped me to catch up with the habit of share a bit more what is going on with the World Sketching Tour, and be more close to all of you that have been following me till now!
I’m also focusing on the process of layout and storytelling of the book. There is no title yet but I can tell it will be about my tour in Europe.
Beach and surf have been my choice to decompress the mind from the “stressful” traffic in Bali …ha ha. And once in a very while, mostly when friends are visiting, I go for some traveling and sketching.
I confess that this moment of being stopped is feeling better than I initially thought it would be. Having again routines and share my life with Anisa has been giving a good home comfort that I was missing for a long time.
When will I restart the tour again?
Once the book is ready to be published and I find a way to publish it, the idea is to move on but this time with a company. Anisa is such a good partner and we will find a way to work in Australia or Canada and save some money to travel together thru all America.
…but the truth is: life is full of hopes and dreams and who knows what comes next!