Great news for Boomers: whether you are an extrovert, an introvert, a newcomer, a regular or occasional visitor, you can rest assured that Bali- thanks to its thriving and diverse expat community- is an ideal place to connect with likeminded people and make new friends fast. This is a small area filled to the brim with expats of many origins, backgrounds, types and interests and it’s easy to connect with compatible people and increase your circle of friends in retirement.
Bali boasts a rich layer of social, sporting, altruistic and professional expat organisations that cater to the need for information, advice, social and professional interaction, and assist in a seamless transition to expat life in this exotic locale. Here you will encounter both structured and informal groups that satisfy the social and interactive needs, wants and wishes of expats of all ages. As a Boomer you have many choices. You can join Bali chapters of familiar associations that focus on social and charitable causes like Rotary or Lions. If you are still a working Boomer, you can connect with strictly-business groups like Bedo and the Bali Business Club. On the social level there are a great number of clubs for you to choose from, including hobby and sporting groups. Some groups provide a combination of social, business and charity oriented pursuits. Some are women-oriented; others have a preponderance of men members. But they all have one thing in common: they provide a meeting place and a networking forum for expat fellowship, support and mutual recognition, and a platform for altruistic purposes. They represent just about every segment and age-group of the current expat population in Bali and Boomers, who make up a sizeable portion of the expat residents, are active members in all of them.
Internations is one of the popular social expat clubs in Bali with over 500 members. It is part of a global organisation with community groups in more than 300 cities across all countries of the world. The Bali chapter is mostly social and organises monthly cocktail-hour get-togethers in various entertainment venues with free canapés and discounted beverages. The Bali faction also has focused Activity Groups, which organise cultural, entertainment and adventure outings for members around Bali. The groups active at this time are into chess, food, golf, board games and writing. Check out the Internations website (www.internations.org) for more details. The site also has a lively member’s forum where you can ask pertinent questions or join a discussion group.
While Internations and other internationally-geared gatherings like BIWA and the Rotary Clubs welcome any and all nationalities in their midst, there are a few country- or language specific clubs in Bali that are popular. Bien A Bali (Comfortable in Bali) is a social association of French speaking residents. This group gets together for a casual lunch every month and organises activities such as playing cards or society games, lectures, documentaries and movies, or cultural presentations about Bali or Indonesia. Other activities include excursions (Bali and other islands), cooking classes, dinner parties, golf outings and karaoke evenings.
Other nationalities tend to form casual groups that have no strict infrastructure like the Dutch business or social Nederlandse Club Bali. There is also an Indian Cultural centre with various activities of interest to India expats. Some of the embassies in the country have networks for their registered citizens and facilitate social get-together or business-oriented encounters.
Besides nationalities, other groups are formed around religious or spiritual communalities, sports interests, literary or artistic interests, charitable pursuits, health, yoga and meditation. There are clubs for gamers and collectors, musicians and choristers, investors and traders. Sporting clubs include croquet and cricket, yachting, Aussie football, off-road biking and the Hash Harriers who organize weekly fun-runs followed by convivial social gatherings. There are many groups with diverse interests and focus and they can be easily tracked down. Check the very comprehensive listing in the Community Info section of the Bali Advertiser website for a good start to meeting compatriots in a social setting.
Strictly Business – If you are a retired professional and still miss the excitement of your working life, you may think of joining a business club for the sheer joy of being in company of professionals in your area of expertise and maybe contribute your knowledge and skills as a volunteer consultant. A number of business groups and networking clubs promote professional interests and help members with various business related activities. The Bali Business Club is a commercial networking and referral club, meeting every month featuring a scheduled presentation on a topic of interest to the members who come from a variety of industries, business and commerce. BEDO (Bali Export Development Organization) is a non-profit business support organization for Indonesian-run SMEs based in Bali. They hold monthly meetings on different topics that are relevant to SMEs and provide networking, training, coaching, workshops and assistance with design & product development, and marketing.
Volunteer! For the altruistically inclined, your professional and seasoned life skills may also be put to good use in a volunteer capacity at the countless NGOs in Bali who work with humanitarian causes, children, the disadvantaged, the displaced, endangered or abandoned animals, wildlife conservation, the environment, etc. There are so many places where your contributions would be welcome and truly appreciated. The roster is simply too long to include here. The list of community organisations published on the Bali Advertiser website is a good place to start looking.
Social Media Based – The internet has become the great communicator and connector and consequently you will find many groups active on various social media. The big area- specific Facebook groups in Bali are Ubud Community, Sanur Community, Canggu Communty, and Bali Expat Community. There is also a lively internet forum and blog culture that provides portals for hooking up with like-minded individuals. Especially for Boomers, there is the Bali Retirement Group.
Other Ideas to get involved – Some neighbourhoods, like Sanur, have a lively pub culture and it’s easy to make friends by waltzing into a place like that and join the crowd at the bar or challenge a patron to a biljarts game.
If you’re sports- or action-minded, you’ve fallen with your derrière in the butter – to paraphrase an old Flemish expression that means you’ve struck it rich. There are golf tournaments, races and beach runs at the drop of a hat and these provide excellent occasions to meet people. There is a croquet club in Ubud, lawn bowl on the Bukit and yes, the famous Bali Harriers whose members seem to be greying a bit but still hold their own on their weekly hashing joints. Church groups are also a good way to meet people and many denominations organise social activities and get-togethers for their members.
The literary minded can join book clubs, the playful-oriented can try out their luck or skill at board or card games. Trivia addicts can sate their addiction at a few trivia or quiz games like the famous and utterly hilarious quiz night at the Bali Dynasty Resort. If you’re truly stuck finding partners for a specific interest or activity, you can also put a free ad in the Bali Advertiser under the Game Partners category in the classified ads section. Or start your own group with a new and not-yet-available-in-Bali activity.
Start networking – With all the resources available in Bali and which, for the most part, are accessible through the internet, there is no excuse anymore for feeling disconnected and alone. It takes a bit of research and reaching out but with all the information at your fingertips and a social, business, and charitable life at your doorstep, it only takes a little time and motivation to lay that first contact. From there, it just snowballs.
The Boomer Corner is a column dedicated to people over 60 living in Bali. Its mandate is to cover topics, practicalities, activities, issues, concerns and events related to senior life in Bali. We welcome suggestions from readers.
By Ines Wynn
E-mail us at : Baliboomers@gmail.com
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