How To Be a Travelling Writer in Bali

The Travelling Writer

View of a Travelling Writer
Photo by BossFight

You’ve seen the images online, the guy with his computer on his lap, the crystal clear water spread wide before his feet, and some annoying caption about how great the view from his office is today or something inane about work-life balance.

But you have to admit, it’s a fantasy every writer has shared. And if we really think about it, it’s certainly possible. Unless you’re covering breaking news, a writer’s job isn’t one that necessarily needs to be confined to an office.

Photo by Thomas Depenbusch

You’re probably not going to be able to afford a five-star hotel with your nomadic writing lifestyle, but if you don’t mind something a little more rustic, it’s actually quite reasonable! Let’s take Bali, one of the most popular beach destinations this side of the world, for 


Teba House Ubud | Superior Room

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Superior Room facing the beautiful garden of tropical orchids. It’s simply designed with Balinese Architecture with 30 m2, has big private balcony (seating area) completed with bamboo furniture set…

Short Term Accommodation Ubud

Like I said, you’re probably not going to get a luxury hotel. But this cosy looking villa above with its reasonable amenities will set you back S$625 a month. That’s cheaper than any apartment you could possibly get in Singapore! Assuming that you charge S$100 per article, you will be able to cover your rent money within a week of work! If that’s still too much for you, the room has another bed so if you’re travelling with a buddy, you could bring the total rent down to an affordable S$312.50 a month.


Photo by Aiko Konishi

According to, a meal at a mid-range restaurant will set you back about S$26, and a meal at an inexpensive restaurant can go as low as S$2.40. While restaurants in Bali cost about the same as a cafe in Singapore, street food is pretty affordable, and tasty too! Breakfast is provided in the villa I chose so that means you only need to have two meals a day. Since I like to enjoy life, I’ll treat myself once a week at a fancy restaurant. That brings my total to about S$234.

Technically, that’s all you need to live, a roof over your head, food in your belly and water. The total for rent and food will cost you S$859 or S$546.50 if you have someone to split the rent with. You’ll have to do some extra work for entertainment though, but that’s not exactly going to set you back much either assuming you spend S$300 on entertainment. Your maximum cost will round out to S$1,159. That’s 12 articles over a 30 day period, which is a comfortable pace.

Getting the jobs

 Now, you are probably thinking about how great my theory sounds, but the plan is only going to work if you manage to get 12 assignments a month! For some writers that’s not really a problem, but here are some tips for those of you who aren’t quite there yet:

1.Work in the press first

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Clients like to see credentials, and you are a lot more likely to be hired if you have written at a publication before. A stint at a magazine or paper not only gives you some writing chops, it also opens up a network of potential opportunities you can tap on while you’re sipping on Mai Tais on the beach. At the very least, you should try for an internship and build up a strong portfolio while you’re there. 

2. Build a portfolio


Nothing sets a client’s mind at ease like a fleshed out and impressive portfolio. Set one up for yourself as soon as possible. You could use your blog, but unless you’re an influencer, a portfolio site will more likely appear more professional and therefore, push for a little more on assignments. 

3. Join a freelance site

Photos by BossFight

Even with all those fancy connections you’ve made, it never hurts to have more. There are plenty of sites online that serve as marketplaces that will let you receive assignments from all over the world. They probably don’t pay as much, but if you really, really need some money to attend a reggae festival, here’s your ticket. You could also sign up for our service and get connected to jobs posted by brands and agencies. 

4. Get your name cards

Having a name card is one of those tips they don’t teach you in school. A name card shows care and effort you have for the profession. A really good name card can also create a lasting impression. 

5. Revise your rate

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Are you charging a fee that’s fair? It’s important to know what you are worth and optimise your pay cheque. Here’s a handy guide on just how to do so. You also want to develop long-term relationships with publishers you’re working with. It’s easier to ask for a raise when you’ve become an integral part of their process.

Book your flights now!

Photo by Pexels

Now that all of that’s settled, you can safely pack your bags for an adventure of a lifetime. Don’t forget your notebook for jotting all those ideas down, and heck, you might even be inspired to start on that novel you have been putting off for so long.

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