Surfing, startups and sales in Bali
Work doesn’t have to interfere with the simple joys in life
Indonesia is the latest country of abode for Vicente Gracia, who has previously lived in Chile, the United States, Italy, South Africa, Sweden and Argentina. In Bali, he spends his days working as well as surfing — see how he made it all happen!
Why did you want to move abroad?
Everything started by assuming I was not totally happy with my day-to-day startup life. I knew something was missing. Basically I wanted to integrate an activity that I really enjoy doing to my daily routine. On top of that, I was experiencing a big disappointment on how LATAM startups are attracting talents: building organizations with no employees’ long-term rewards (equity, stock options, option pool, etc…) nor giving real incentives to gain employees’ long-term commitment. I believe this way is not healthy and sustainable in the long run.
Hence, I started looking for opportunities in places where I could combine work with an adventurous healthy everyday life. Of course Bali was my priority on the list. I did not want to change the industry I was working in (tech) because I love it, but wanted to be able to combine it with sports and adventure on a daily basis. Thus I started exploring Jobbatical opportunities, which I knew through a very close person of mine, and surprisingly I found several great openings in nice and exotic places. Luckily I could find a nice job not only in the destination I was looking for, but also in the field I’m pursuing my professional career.
What made you choose Bali?
The combination of good surfing waves, multicultural atmosphere, exotic landscapes, digital nomad hub, cost of living, and healthy lifestyle.
What was your first week like?
It is always great when you arrive at a completely new destination. It feels like all your senses are 100% active. Immersing in a different culture makes me reach the best version of myself, because you are constantly computing new information from all kinds of different angles. The first week was all about exploring the island and enjoying the local food. Sometimes we get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget to take time out and enjoy the simple things in life (and they’re free!).
What is your current role at Switchboard, and what does your typical day look like?
My current role at Switchboard is sales and business developer in the Asia/Pacific region. Switchboard (www.switch.cm) is an NYC-based reservation platform for the hotel industry. We are a SaaS company that specializes in hotel API architecture, providing a booking platform for hotels around the world, and designing custom pricing algorithms for enterprise clients. You may not have heard of us — we usually work behind the scenes — but we can pretty much guarantee that you’ve used something that we’ve designed if you’ve ever booked a hotel room on the internet.
My day looks pretty much like this: I wake up at 6am and drive my bike to the beach for a nice early surfing session. Luckily the office is only a few minutes away from a few surfing points, so before 9am I’m at the office ready to start. I usually have to combine office hours with site visits.
My main responsibilities are customer onboarding, reaching out to potential customers and setting up new clients. Most of my working time involves visiting new/existing clients, which gives me the opportunity to explore new places and connect with the local culture. Every time I drive my bike to meet a client, I try to enjoy the touristic side involved in it, by looking around, stopping at local markets and trying different local foods. Around 6pm I’m done with work, so it gives me some time to do something I like, which can be surfing again, or a yoga class, a run or maybe a relaxing massage.
What is your favorite thing about living in Bali and the most difficult?
My favorite thing about living in Bali is the diversity. Diversity in activities (surfing, diving, snorkeling, hiking, etc..), but also diversity in cultures (people from everywhere).
When it comes to innovation, it’s been proven that diversity leads to better outcome.
The most difficult side is the distance from home/family. It is quite a journey to fly home to visit family.
How do you think your international experiences have influenced you as a person?
I think any international experience not only influences a person but shapes the person. The idea is to try to get the best of each place you get the chance to live in.
At the end of the day, a man is nothing more than the sum of his experiences. The richer the experiences, the richer the man.
Experience can only be gained by experiencing. There is no substitute, or book to replace it.
Finally, what advice would you give to someone considering a jobbatical?
If you are not the typical corporate person, or you are looking for an exciting experience in your life, or you are looking for new challenges but also want to continue improving your professional career, take a look at Jobbatical. First, find a destination that you are curious about (try to be open minded). Then find a job in your field, and finally go ahead and apply (fingers crossed for you!).
I’d actually suggest to EVERYONE on this planet, to get out of their comfort zone. There are several ways to do so. A very good one is Jobbatical.