A 5-day vacation in Bali 13 years ago changed his entire career plan. Now, he’s married with 2 kids and calls the island home.

Glass doors let natural light into the home.

Simen Platou fell in love with Bali, Indonesia, during a 5-day vacation.Those days stretched into 6 months, and eventually, he decided the island was where he wanted to live.It’s been 13 years since he left Norway, and he doesn’t think he’ll move back anytime soon.

It’s been 13 years since Simen Platou moved to Bali from Norway, and he remembers his first visit to the Indonesian island clearly.

Back then, he was doing an internship in Vietnam, and a group of Indonesian couch surfers who were living with him planted the idea of visiting Bali in his head.

Intrigued by their stories, Platou decided he wanted to see the island for himself. A week before he was due to depart for Bali, Platou realized he wasn’t enjoying his internship at all.

So he quit, hopped on the flight, and never looked back.

Simen Platou with his wife Jennifer and their two kids.

“It was before social media and everything, I didn’t know anything about Bali at all. I had never seen a picture of Bali. I didn’t know that Westerners even lived here,” Platou, 38, told Business Insider. “But when I realized that it was a possibility, it just completely changed my whole outlook.”

What was meant to be a five-day vacation stretched into six months. Platou then returned to Norway to start his master’s degree in finance, sticking to the original plan he had set for himself.

But after six months in Norway, the allure of Bali was too hard to resist, and Platou never did complete his master’s.

“I decided I wanted to be here in Bali instead,” he added.

Finding a place in Bali

The exterior of the villa.

When Platou first started living in Bali in 2011, he stayed in a communal home in Kuta, a region near the south of the island. Known for its surf scene, Kuta was also one of the first tourist developments in Bali.

“I had a fan and a shared bathroom with four other people,” Platou said. He said he paid 1 million Indonesian rupiah, or $60, a month for the room.

In 2014, as other parts of Bali slowly developed, Platou moved further north to Kerobokan — an area sandwiched between Seminyak and Canggu — where he still lives, now with his wife and two kids.

The sofa in the living area.

His three-bedroom house is a leasehold property on a 20-year lease.

He first leased it for two years at 170 million Indonesian rupiah, before renewing his lease for another two years at the same amount. He’s since extended his lease for another 15 years — until 2034 — at 370 million Indonesian rupiah for every five years.

This averages out to 6.04 million rupiah, or about $370, a month.

Platou’s two-story villa is tucked away in a quiet street, next to three other villas owned by the same landlord.

The open-plan living and dining area.

On the first floor, there’s an open-plan living and dining area, a kitchen, and a home office. Upstairs, there’s a TV room and two bedrooms.

“One is meant to be the kids’ bedroom while the other is supposed to be my and my wife’s room, but now I’m sleeping with my daughter, and my wife is sleeping with my son,” Platou said.

The dining table.

The property was brand new when he moved in, but it’s been renovated twice over the past few years in order to accommodate his growing family.

“When I moved in, I never thought that I was going to have a family here and everything, so we kind of done it as we’ve gone along,” he said.

The baby fence around the pool and the new doors that close in their first-floor living space are fairly new additions.

A lounge chair by the kitchen counter.

“Before that, we had no AC in here,” Platou added.

The house wasn’t built with the best materials, which caused things in the house to deteriorate quickly, he said.

Even though he doesn’t own the property, Platou says that he’s paid for everything that he’s changed — from the water pump to the kitchen — out of pocket.

A sofa on the upper floor of their villa.

“I am OK with that because I spend so much time here and because I’ve locked in the rent so early that it’s relatively cheap, so it’s still worth it,” he said.

Although he has another 10 years left on his lease, he’s hoping to build a new house elsewhere for his family soon.

Embracing a slower pace of life

Platou’s done a lot of different things since he moved to Bali, from starting his own clothing business to doing marketing for insurance companies.

The kids’ room.

In the past couple of years, Platou’s been investing in real estate. He’s currently completing two holiday villa rentals in Pererenan, near Canggu.

As an entrepreneur, Platou says he loves the flexibility in Bali.

“I work for myself, and I can work whenever I want to, but the best thing about Bali is that everyone else does it too,” Platou said. This is different from what life was like in Norway.

Platou and his wife sleep with their kids.

“With my work hours in Norway, I wouldn’t have anyone to hang out with,” Platou said. “Even when I go there in the summer, the friends that don’t have vacation, we can’t meet up — it doesn’t matter that I have time off. But here, everyone has similar schedules so it’s easy to gather.”

It’s also easy for him to meet new people who have similar interests.

“Moving here as an adult, I think it would be easy as long as you put yourself out there a little bit,” Platou said. “I feel like here, if you want to meet people, you’ll meet people.”

One of the bathrooms in the house.

It also helps that the expat community in Bali is large, Platou said that many others he’s met along the way have the same attitude toward making friends and letting new people in.

Like many locals, Platou has a motorbike that he uses to get around the island quickly. And it’s another contributor to his social life.

“If I’m going to meet up with a friend, it’s easy for me to go anywhere. In Norway, it’s like I have to check what time the metro runs and how far the walk is on each side,” he said.

There’s a child fence around the pool.

But the best part of Bali has, by far, been the people, he said.

“I’ve always experienced people’s willingness to help,” Platou said. “When I first started my clothing line here, I didn’t know anything about production or design. But all the people I met were just so helpful. They took me to factories, showed me how to do it, and let me sell stuff in their stores. I think in other places people would probably be a bit more competitive.”

Bali is continuing to change

Platou has a word of caution for those who want to move to Bali. Because of how quickly the island is developing, it may look and feel different from what people expect.

“You have to be a little bit mindful of your long-term plans. So don’t build a villa rice field view because it could be gone in six months.

Lastly, the island has more to offer than popular tourist spots such as Canggu and Seminyak, he said.

“I think a lot of people when they come here, expect the tropical life but end up moving to what is now a semi-city,” Platou added.

Have you recently built or renovated your dream home? If you’ve got a story to share, get in touch with me at agoh@businessinsider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours