Villas | Focus

October 23, 5:30-ish pm

We’ve spent (most of) the day looking for a place to stay.

Most of them were bad. Not much more than hotel rooms. One was okay. but it’s 30 minutes out of town, in construction and doesn’t have WiFi.

So, we’ve settled for something decent : a small hotel room with a kitchen, balcony, good WiFi and a pool. The complex has an old temple vibe to it. Common areas occupied by trees, buildings made out of old stone, and the front door feels like a sacred gate.

I like it.

Catherine isn’t convinced. Yes, it’s better than the others we’ve seen, but it doesn’t get much light, the room isn’t great and it does feel like a hotel.

Even though we’ve scheduled to meet with the owner and take the room the next morning, we agree get back on our scooters and keep looking.

A few hundred meters later, we see four lavish two-story villas on the opposite side of the road, facing rice fields, palm trees and the sunset.

“Could you imagine living there?!”

Clearly, we can’t afford it.

Further down the road, we ask someone if there are any villas around.

He points towards those.

“Are there any smaller ones nearby?”


Well, might as well give them a look.

“How much is it to stay here?”

“12 000 000 rupees, one month”

Ouch. Twice our budget.

I offer him half that, almost jokingly.

He counter-offers at just 100$ past our budget.

“Mmh, maybe. Can you show us the house?”

And there we were, visiting this two story villa, with a fish pond, couches, a microwave, a private pool (a small one, but still!),  a shower with a view on the rice fields and a flat screen TV.

“So, is this really your best price?”


“And if we take it now, for maybe more than one month, could you do better?”

A few more back and forths about the price, negotiated a deal because it was already booked out for a weekend and… we got it!

The two story villa, with views on the rice fields for sunset, L-shaped couches, a flat screen you can watch from your bed, a fish pond in the entrance and a private swimming pools with lights for the evening !  It’s ours !

It is at the high end of our budget and we do have to vacate for a weekend, but, for the time being, it is fucking ours!


It’s been about a month since I left Montreal. Most of that month I spent packing, unpacking, figuring out where to eat, where to sleep and moving from one place to the next.

Now, even though Ubud is a bit more touristy than I expected, even though I’ll probably move again next month and even though we actually have to leave the house and come back over a weekend, it feels great to settle into a routine for a while.

The past few weeks sure were helpful in getting accustomed to travelling again, learning about what we are getting into and gaining some distance from my Montreal day-to-day. But, now that we’re set somewhere (even though it’s only been a few days!), I feel like I’ve gotten so much work done.

The main reason for this trip is to get myself in an environment where I can focus on projects I want to take on and not be bothered by distractions from “back home”, and it feels great to know it’s starting to work.




Jumping Ship

I believe doing the things you want to do has more to do with what you forgo than what you involve yourself in.

The reason we don’t pursue what is meaningful to us is not that we don’t want to, it’s because something prevents us from doing so.

There’s always a constraint, an obligation, a sacrifice to be made. But that’s the easy part.

Recognizing the things that unconsciously halt us is where it gets complicated. When your job is such a central part of your life, you’ve never given thought to quitting it, when in a  relationship, options that accommodate the both of you become defaults.

Getting to the point where you can have sufficient distance from yourself to see what core aspects of your life truly hold you back is the challenge.

Montreal, Canada – June 24, 2013

I’m having lunch with Catherine at an event our friends Diane and Danny organized. They’d worked on every last piece of decoration for the event for weeks, from the promotional video to the chopstick holders. They had the chef explain thoroughly how he chose and prepared his fish. They showed us how to wrap a basket with cloth so that you can carry it around. They had even made small baskets with gifts for every attendee.

Catherine and I were both struck by how different their lives were from ours. How they’d spent weeks working on this project, while we’d been routinely managing our businesses.

As a reward to myself, I had planned a 2-3 month trip during my painting company’s upcoming low season. During that lunch, we talked about it, and suddenly it came up : Why didn’t I ditch the painting company altogether and leave for a year?

I’d been doing the same thing for over 18 months, and that was the first time I actually realized I could go out and do something completely different. That what was holding me back was not some exterior force, but a self-imposed constraint that I’d internalized.

A few months later, I was off.

With a one-way ticket.

Bali, Indonesia – October 14, 2014

Substantial change logically has to come at the expense of some other important aspect of one’s life. Rarely does it come through increments, it is usually drastic, revolutionary.

To get to where you want to be, convincing the entire crew to change course is never as effective as jumping ship.

And therein lies the challenge : giving up, on all the right things.


TAIWAN – transit.

Back in Asia.

Halfway through a 5 hour layover in Taiwan, after a 16h flight from NYC.

7 more hours and I’ll land in Bali.

After a few change of hearts, Catherine and I went back to our original plan and figured Hubud, an indonesian co-working space for “digital nomads”, would be the best place to set up our project.

I’m looking forward to settling someplace and having somewhat of a routine again. Been trying to learn some programming and it’s been hard not being able to put more than a few hours here and there during the past weeks.

This whole adventure still feels somewhat surreal (especially after a 2AM flight resulting in a 12h time difference).

It’s easy to doubt yourself. Have I made the right choice? Should I really be doing this?

On my last trip I came up with the “1 million dollar test” : When in doubt about something, I’d ask myself “If I had one million dollars in the bank, what would I be doing different right now?”

Even though it’s simplistic and isn’t the best rule of thumb to plan your future, I still found it comforting when, while flying somewhere over the pacific ocean last night, I answered to myself :



I feel a blog is the proper way to document this next chapter in my life. After three years, Catherine and I have both said goodbye to our old jobs and have decided to go all in and pursue an idea we still can’t put into words quite well.

After eight hectic days of finishing up in Montreal, we are gone. Off to NYC, and soon we’ll be gone again. I’m still unsure about where. We’ve learned a lot from the past days. Not necessarily the things I taught we would, but I guess that’s how learning works. Hopefully, this blog will help put into words some of that knowledge.

Cheers, Tim image