Working in Paradise – Hubud, Bali

February 5th, 2016

**Hubud [Hub-in-Ubud] is a collaborative working space home to a diverse community of local and visiting creatives, techies, entrepreneurs and businessfolks, changemakers, downshifters and truth-seekers.**

Imagine taking off to the other side of the world to a traveler’s paradise and starting a business…and the space you’d be working from is set in the middle of rice paddies and a monkey forest… Well, this is reality for a group of digital nomads who have landed in Ubud, Bali at a co-work space called Hubud.

During our visit to Bali this past October, I had the chance to see such a workplace in action. Through a serendipitous series of social media events, I connected with one of the aforementioned digital nomads, Georgi Gregiov, co-founder of SavvyBeaver Canada, a discount discovery tool making vouchers and coupons for online retailers in Canada. After a few emails back-and-forth, we set up a time to meet at Hubud, located on Monkey Forest Road in Ubud.

Villa behind Hubud off Monkey Forest

My husband, Mark, and I arrived at the Hubud office shortly after 10 am, and immediately upon stepping into the bamboo structure, we could feel the creative buzz in the air. The open-concept building had a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere, with loose workstations around the property and leading to a grassy courtyard with lounge furniture and hammocks. To the left of the courtyard: more work stations and board room. To the right: a snack bar and sitting area overlooking a vast stretch of vibrant rice paddies. It was a warm, humid day, but the ceiling fans provided the perfect amount of airflow to make you feel comfortable and at peace. We sat down with Georgi at a table overlooking the rice paddies, and Georgi gave us the low-down of Hubud.

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Hubud was founded only in 2013 by freelance filmmaker Peter Wall, entrepreneur Steve Monroe, and designer John Anderson. This unconventional trio understood the growing global trend of “digital nomads”, a section of the working population who is able to work while traveling — be it online freelancers, jobs with flexibility to work remotely for a period of time, or start-ups that can be managed only via the computer — and created a collaborative and innovative space for them to come together.

Since it’s opening in 2013, Hubud has been the hub for more than 200 business people who have actively made the decision to change the way they would approach work and create from a space that fosters and cultivates creativity.

An element Hubud has identified to help this cultivation of creativity is the promotion of community. Hubud hosts regular events, personal development workshops, cooking classes, excursions, and even lessons on learning to speak Bahasa Indonesia (the language they speak in Bali) to get the Hubud community involved and networking with one another. By engaging in these personal development activities, you catapult onto this vibe of self-care and spirituality that is omnipresent in Bali.

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After being given the full tour of the building, I turned to Mark with a big grin and projected all the reasons why we needed to move to Bali immediately and create an online business of sorts. Surely Dramatically Zen could reach its potential from a place like Hubud. Mark wasn’t really on board……yet.

While touring the property, I noticed how extremely focused everyone was at their workstations. There was a feeling of determination in the air that was contagious. Georgi explained that people knew they were given a unique opportunity to be there, through their own decisions, and they wanted to make it count. Productivity and being effective with their work goals was paramount.

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I asked Georgi how he came to be living and working in Bali. As it turns out, he was living in London for about a year, commuting to work for hours of his day and feeling worn out. He realized that he needed to do something different. He established his own personal criteria for a move: warm weather, low-cost of living, established co-working community, “smiley people”, and close proximity to surf. Bali provided all of these touch points, so almost immediately upon making the decision, inspired action took over and Georgi set up his online company from Hubud.

He then went on to describe his day-to-day: he wakes up around 6:30 am, enjoys a healthy breakfast, does yoga, and heads to work. He makes the concerted effort to surf at least once or twice a week to keep his muscles in shape and to feed on some ocean meditation. There is a distinct balance in his life which has elevated his physical, spiritual, and intellectual self.

When you come to Bali, there is a feeling so different than any place you’ve ever been. An overwhelming aura of gratitude that flows in the air; the people living there feel it as a privilege, and visiting tourists are taken back by the sheer beauty of the space. The beauty is the forefront of the culture, but the kindness of the Balinese is what makes you want to stay.

The thing is, so many of us say, “wouldn’t it be nice to just take off to a tropical paradise and work for myself?” Actually witnessing this lofty goal in action made the quest to getting there that much more attainable. The Hubud posse are doing something different, reinventing the way we approach work, thriving in their environment, and feeling absolute joy every. single. day.

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