An American woman has sparked heated debate on social media after a thread about her move to Bali went viral.
It seems she may have picked the wrong platform to gush about her new home. While her 20-tweet thread may have worked as an Instagram caption about making dreams come true, over on Twitter people had other thoughts.
The woman in question has since locked her account, but here’s a summary of the thread: after spending most of 2019 out of work, she and her girlfriend decided to try out Bali for six months, where she became a self-employed graphic designer and managed to live in a “treehouse” for just $400, compared to a $1,300 LA studio they were in before. They have now been there for a year, and she says that they are living an “elevated lifestyle” and that Bali was “the perfect medicine” for her physical and emotional health.
She lists the benefits of living in Bali as: safety, low cost of living, luxury lifestyle, queer-friendly, and goes on to share her positive experience as a Black woman with the Black community there. To close out, she links to her ebook Our Bali Life is Yours which helps other people to achieve the same dream. It is currently for sale for $30.
The backlash was immediate, with thousands of replies and quote-tweets, many of which were highlighting the impact that relatively wealthy American migrants have on local communities and gentrification.
australians have already been treating bali like their own personal backyard and now we’re going to get an influx of americans trying to find peace and connect with the nature and whatever bullshit they tell themselves here too? leave us alone 😭
— t (@tasilsa) January 17, 2021
How have you ensured that moving to Bali and encouraging others to do so isn’t contributing to gentrification? (i.e raising prices so natives aren’t kicked out/forcing Balinese to learn English as opposed to expats learning Bahasa, etc.?)
— 🤢 (@stevanicaa) January 16, 2021
Others took the opportunity to point out the historical and ongoing violence and oppression which exists in Indonesia, but which she didn’t touch upon at all in her thread.
Don’t glamorize Bali. Don’t glamorize a place so poor that its citizens heavily rely on tourism, foreign investors & rich expats. Don’t glamorize being “one with nature” on some spiritual healing bs in a country that murders Indigenous people because it wants their lands.
— Lani Mermaid (@Lani4Pasifika) January 17, 2021
Despite many people branding the thread out-of-touch, there were also many who defended the writer, saying it shouldn’t be the responsibility of a Black queer woman to fix systemic issues affecting the country.
Twitter: I hate America I can’t wait to move.
Girl on Twitter: I’ve moved to Bali from America and been living my best life.
Twitter: have you thought about how the locals make 4x less as and don’t get to live the same lifestyle as you? pic.twitter.com/LRHndoIXpK
— B (@undftdb) January 17, 2021
Before locking her account, the user posted one last tweet which seemed to acknowledge the backlash, saying: “The conversations being had here are valid. Though they aren’t the conversations I was having today. They’ve been seen and heard. Just sharing my story with people.”
Meanwhile, “Bali” continues to trend on Twitter as people furiously debate who’s right and who’s wrong in this complex scenario.