Royalty and Millionaires in Bali: Around the World in 80 Years

If the wind doesn’t change, I will sail tomorrow.” He held one finger up in the air and assessed the wind’s speed and direction… he had been sailing around the world for five years non-stop, and I was about to join him on his trip. And that… was going to be one of the most amazing parts of my journey.

You may remember that in the last article, I promised to tell you more about some of the most interesting people I have met on the road… and today I’ll make good on that promise. You see… when you keep going from place to place, meeting new people *every day* is almost *inevitable*. And if you keep doing that in exotic locales and cultures, well… some of these people are bound to be flamboyant characters with absolutely fascinating lives.

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These encounters have taught me a lot… and while there have been too many to count over the years, I’m going to tell you about some of them today. But first, I will let you in on a little secret about me… I’m not only a linguist and a language teacher, I’m also a professional pianist and a music teacher. And so it happened one day, as I was in Spain, that I got a phone call from an Asian pianist who is a very good friend of mine:

“Frank… I know this is coming totally out of left field… But how would you like to teach the piano in Bali?” I was in Barcelona when I received that call… I had been in Spain for about half a year, I had just gotten out of a relationship and I was ready for a change of scenery… Asia sounded *perfect*. But more than Asia… Bali? One of the most famous islands for paradise beaches and tropical getaway vacations in the world… I couldn’t believe it when he told me.

What would you do? If someone offered you a job in Bali… would you take it? Well, for me, that decision was a no-brainer… and I instantly said yes. I didn’t even ask him anything… I didn’t ask where I was going to live, how much money I was going to make or when the project was going to start… I just said: “Absolutely man. Count me in!” He was a good friend I could rely on… and I knew I was not going to regret that decision.

You see, Indonesia is one of those places that are so exotic that they might as well be on a different planet. I mentioned Sumatra in my last article…one of the world’s best spots for diving. Then there is Java, the main island of the Indonesian Archipelago, with huge ancient temples that most people don’t even know about… and then there is Bali, of course, the Hindu part of the country and one of the world’s most famous places to go surfing!

But two of the most interesting things about Indonesia that most people don’t even know about the country are these: it is the world’s biggest Muslim nation, and it still has royal families… and one of the princesses ended up coming out to dinner with me and a couple of friends of mine one evening. It still blows my mind to this day… royalty in the 21st century! I remember wondering that night who was more influential in the country… the princess to my left, or the multi-millionaire business tycoon to my right?

And this encounter taught me an important lesson, because as I was living among some of the richest people in the world, I realized something interesting… in the end of the day, they were both just normal, everyday people like you and me… people who eat rice and meat, who fall asleep every night and wake up tired before their first coffee in the morning. People who have their dreams and hopes and fears and aspirations in life, just like everybody else.

And that’s the thing – when you do get to experience the life of the mega-rich for a while, you really begin to understand a fascinating part of human nature: we are truly adaptive creatures. Studies have shown that people who have an accident and end up in a wheelchair might fall into a depression… but six months later, they are back to the same level of happiness they had before their misfortune. By the same token, people who win the lottery are usually ecstatic for the first couple of months… but once the initial novelty wears off, they, too, go back to their “baseline” of happiness.

That seems to be very difficult to believe… but trust me, it is very true. I never asked my friend who invited me to Indonesia where I was going to live… but he had a real treat in store for me. I ended up living in the huge mansion of the millionaire I mentioned above… there was the main house we lived in and two separate houses with additional rooms… plus a fourth house where his seven servants lived, his driver, his gardener, his maids and all the other staff.

And you know what… for the first couple of weeks, I was totally blown away. I had never experienced this kind of luxury in my life… and it was amazing. But soon enough, the exact same “happiness effect” I described earlier started to get a hold of me… and I got back into a routine. I went to work every day, did my workouts, had my meals and met my friends… and before I knew it, I didn’t even really notice the luxury all around me anymore.

And here is what I found… money is nice to have, and life is extremely complicated when you don’t have enough. But my time in Bali wasn’t special because of the nice house I lived in, or because of my host’s lavish life style… what made it special were the people I met there, and the friendships I forged. What made it special was being in an exotic paradise that I could never even have dreamed of visiting just a couple of months earlier… and the moments I shared with my friends in that place.

And now I just realized that I’m completely out of space again, and I haven’t even told you the story about the sailor who invited me to join him on his trip around the world for a while… so I guess I’ll have to leave that for the next Part of “Around the World in 80 Years”. But as always, leave me a comment below and let me know what you’d like to read about… I really do read all the replies and try to get back to you personally as soon as I can.

Thanks for reading, and stay in touch…

My best to you all,

~ Frank Florida ~

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Frank Florida

Frank Florida é professor de idiomas desde 1994 e fala oito línguas. Viajando o mundo por 11 anos, ele visitou umas 300 cidades em mais de 50 países. Ele se graduou da High School nos EUA, se formou em didática na Austrália e é criador do site Fórmula Fluente.

23 comentários

  • 11/11/12  
    teacher fllavia diz: 1

    Frank, you’re story is amazing!!! ;)
    Keep on telling us about the trips and also about all the life experience that they’ve brought to you… It’s really nice reading the phisolophic part of all that experience you have. I myself have visited some places abroad, but certainly nothing compared to your trips!

    Best regards

    • 12/11/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Flávia, thanks for that comment, I appreciate it! And don’t worry, I’ll keep writing… ;) Always the best,


  • 12/11/12  
    sandrom diz: 2

    Frank, my friend

    If everyone leaves their jobs and “goes saling” you will be guilty of it…eheheh!

    I enjoyed this post a lot. Thanks again for sharing it.



    • 12/11/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Haha… I know Sandro, I’m a very bad influence on people ;) But somehow they don’t seem to mind hehe…


  • 12/11/12  
    vskpero diz: 3

    This was one of the most incredible articles I have ever read at EnglishExperts. You are definitively a “flamboyant character”.

    • 12/11/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Thanks, that’s quite the compliment… much appreciated! :)
      Cheers my friend,


  • 14/11/12  
    João B. L. Ghizoni diz: 4


    Resting after my lunch, I’ve just taken some time out to update my reading of the English Experts posts. And to my surprise, I ran into one of yours. What an awesome surprise. Reading what you write is such a pleasure. Please keep it up.

    All the very best to you.
    Florianópolis, SC, Brazil

    • 14/11/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey João, thanks, that’s always good to hear… don’t be too surprised now when you see a post of mine, they’ll keep coming. ;)

      Greetings from the USA!

      ~ Frank Florida ~

  • 14/11/12  
    Maria Zilda diz: 5

    Congrats, that was an incredible experience. thanks for sharing it with us.

    • 14/11/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      You’re welcome Maria! :)

  • 15/11/12  
    mario diz: 6


    • 19/11/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Mario, just saw this… Nice one man! It’s not as scary as you think, once you get going… Just take the plunge! ;)

      (Here I go, being a terrible influence again haha)…


  • 16/11/12  
    Victor diz: 7

    Hey mate… how have you been?

    I’m reading your post since you began to share it with us!
    It’s a motivational experience and when i read…I’m totally sure of travel around the world and meet every culture as possible.
    Do you have facebook?

    thanks a lot!!!


    • 19/11/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Victor, thanks… I’m working around the clock these days to launch a new course in December… But I will have to create a Facebook presence soon. I should get around to it by January at the latest!


  • 16/11/12  
    Alexandra Lima diz: 8

    Hi Frank!
    I really love your posts !!!! and I’d like to thank you for sharing your experience and for writing so lovely ! I kept all your posts and I always recommend your writings to my friends. I went to Vancouver in Sept and it was amazing… I spent only 30 days there and it was my first trip abroad, but making friends and meeting people from everywhere, including an Indonesian English student, was amazing !
    Now, I can have more trips reading your posts !
    All the best for you!
    Lots of kisses
    Praia Grande SP

    • 16/11/12  
      Lidia G R diz:

      Hi dear Frank!

      I didn’t read Around the World in 80 Years – Part I, II, III, …
      but tonight I decided to read the part XIII, and I enjoyed
      a lot the whole story you told us dear teacher, so I’ll
      read yours former posts.
      It’s amazing how the things happened in your life.
      I’ll be anxious to continue reading yours posts.
      God bless your journey around the world.
      Have a great time anywhere in the world.
      kisses, bye!
      São Paulo/SP

    • 19/11/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Alexandra… You know what, in a way I’m jealous… because you are still at the beginning of your journey and you get to experience so many things for the FIRST TIME! :) That’s awesome… I’ll keep writing, make sure to drop by on the forum some time and let us know about your travels too!


    • 19/11/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Oh and Lidia… Better late than never, right? ;) Glad you enjoyed the article, and yeah… It’s really amazing what kind of people you run into when you’re on the road… I wouldn’t give up on this lifestyle for anything!

      Stay in touch and always the best,

  • 17/11/12  
    Luís Paulo diz: 9

    Hi, Frank! Sorry for not being more here. I love all your articles and in general I agree with you. In this case, I´ve experienced the same feeling as you. Now I´m studying in Paris and normally people think that´s amazing, “très chic”. And it is but after two weeks I staterd to live my student routine here and I´m one person more that walks on Paris streets, take the bus or the metro and go for my things. Of course I try to discovery different people, places and events and to get that special feeling that makes Paris. And, as you said, this is the most important, that´s what I´ll remember after. So your article make us think deeply and see through other perspectives. I really need time for doing that. We´ll talk more after. Hugs and thanks very much again!!

    • 19/11/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hehe… Luís, your comment really made me chuckle, because that’s exactly what happens… even when you’re in a foreign country, the routine can catch up to you, and everybody else there is already in a routine… That’s why I like to keep bouncing from place to place to keep it fresh! :)

      Cheers man,

  • 19/11/12  
    Jair Pereira diz: 10

    Dear Frank.

    Good morning!
    I hope you are okay!
    By the way when you will come to Brazil?
    It will be a pleasure to receive you here.
    Do you know Brazil?

    I am looking forward to hearing from you soon!

    Yours faithfully,
    Jair Pereira

  • 19/11/12  
    Dinho diz: 11

    Hi, thanks and congratulations by the posts.
    I have some questions to share..
    So, i read all your posts, but, i studied until the level basic in english, so, i think that i speak so more than level basic.. What do you think about my english if i got read all your posts so well – was only few words that i don’t got it – what do you think..?
    And, what do you think about work in ship cruise – It’s worth?
    Congratulations, i love read your posts… Very nice!

  • 20/11/12  
    sheyla diz: 12

    Hi Frank! How are you?

    I am brazillian, i am married and have two children (3 and 8 years old). My family love adventure and traveling. Last year, we lived in Toronto-Canadá for a while (one year). And this experience was very rich for all of us.

    I love reading your article: “Around the World in 80 Years”. Thank you for share your life and amazing experience with us!!!! Your life-style is fascinating!!!!

    I would like to know if you have some funny history in your trip… Things that happened because the differences cultural or things like that….

    Please, continue to write!!!!!

    Congratulation for the article!!!!! All the best,
    Sheyla Maciel