Tribewanted Bali: who are we?
My three month experience with an amazing group of people.
Dear Mr. Vernon, we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us — in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case…a princess…and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.
In December 2014, I moved to Bali to start a new phase of my life. I had spent nearly 20 years in various corporate jobs all over the world: Canada, the Caribbean, the USA, Europe, and for the past 10 years, based out of Dubai and working all over the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The move to Bali was instigated by two factors: my son wanted to attend the Green School and I wanted to bring to life a six year dream to start an ethical sourcing recruitment firm.
After spending a couple weeks settling in and celebrating the holidays with friends and family, on January 3, I opened an email entitled: “Happy New Year from Bali.” It was from Ben Keene, the founder of Tribewanted, amongst other ventures, enticing readers to escape the winter and build your startup in Bali. I had read Ben’s book in 2010 and was impressed with his entrepreneurial enthusiasm and practical problem solving in challenging environments. I immediately responded asking if I could join the Tribe. Thankfully, he agreed.
Two days later, I found myself in Hubud, a co-working space in Ubud, Bali. I was greeted warmly by Ben and met some of the early members of the Tribe. I attended what was to be the first of many “check-ins.” Ben asked what we are working on and if there is anything we need help with. I was impressed with the breadth of all the businesses that were being created or expanded. In addition, the concept of budding entrepreneurs helping each other, sharing your skills and experience, was refreshing after my corporate experience where hoarding information was the status quo.
In order to make the most of the whole experience, it was suggested we spend 50% of the time working on our businesses, 25% helping others and 25% exploring Bali.
The next three months were a blur of activity: check-ins, skill sharing presentations, helping fellow tribe members, getting help from fellow tribe members, visits to local businesses, schools, and charities. But, it wasn’t all work. In addition, we engaged in some physically demanding activities such as climbing volcanoes, and more relaxing efforts such as visiting temples and other spiritual pursuits. Of course, we found time for evenings out and weekends away around southern Bali and nearby islands.
On personal level, I thoroughly enjoyed working with other tribe members. It was a daily dose of inspiration to see people working on ideas and businesses that they were passionate about — everyday. Over the course of the three months, over 40 people took part in Tribewanted Bali’s startup experiment. The depth and breadth of their backgrounds and experiences was amazing, even for someone like myself that had worked in very diverse work environments. I learned so much from my fellow tribe mates and I hope that I was able to share knowledge which was useful for them.
As a group, we shared a lot of knowledge and a lot of laughs. This made us stand out, even in a busy co-working space. Everyday, I was asked who we were. As the journey progressed, I gave a different answer almost every day: start-up accelerator, co-working group, a group of like-minded people escaping the winter, entrepreneurs in the making, people looking to change the world.
So, after three months, I look back at my experience and ask myself who are these people that inspired me every day?
an astrophysicist, an eco tourism operator, a lifestyle coach, an educator, an erotic story writer, a tv presenter, a cricket commentator, a marketing agency exec, a business coach, a sustainable hotel entrepreneur, a designer, a travel blogger, a musician, an author, a social entrepreneur, a recruitment firm operator, consultants, digital nomads, and many other things. But together, we are more.
We are a tribe
We are Tribewanted
Sincerely yours, Tribewanted Bali