Books

I first visited Bali at the age of 18 in 1969.  The memories never left me in subsequent decades but I never thought I’d return in 2000 to spend the rest of my life here.

Living in Ubud is much more multi-dimensional than visiting as a traveller. After ten years in sterile Singapore, I was unprepared for rodents in the roof and reptiles on the bedroom walls.  I had to learn to navigate the ever-changing rules of Indonesia’s Byzantine immigration bureaucracy.  The new language held many entertaining pitfalls. The Balinese people, especially the family that would become my own, were a window to the rich, deep, baffling culture that surrounds me.

Shortly after moving here I offered to write a regular column for the only English language newspaper at the time, the Bali Advertiser. This opened many doors; it gave me an excuse to contact all the most interesting people on the island and ask impertinent questions about what they were doing in Bali. From over 18 years of bimonthly articles I’ve published two books.

Bali Daze

Freefall off the Tourist Trail was my first collection of stories about my early years here before Ubud became a major tourist destination.  Now in its fifth printing, Bali Daze is available at Ganesha Bookshop and Threads of Life Gallery in Ubud and on Kindle and Amazon.

Testimonials from Amazon

I write guidebooks to Bali but Bali Daze tells the real story of what it’s like to live on this island.  Cat Wheeler is one of the best writers I know and her tales of living in the fabled town of Ubud are witty, insightful and always a fabulous read.  Five out of five stars, a brilliant book.

I love this book.  It’s engaging and enchanting and warm-hearted and clever and well-written, and I’ve learned a lot … in short, an all-round winner!

This great book hits an excellent balance between hilarious, often heart-warming anecdotes, and factual information about Bali and Balinese culture. The trials and the triumphs of the author’s life in paradise makes for a rollicking good read. The pages are alive with great characters, both human and animal (with particular mention of her wonderful dogs!) and situations that elicit many a belly-laugh. As a regular visitor to Ubud over the last decade or so, I found much that was familiar, but discovered much more about Ubud, Bali and Balinese culture from the pages of Bali Daze. Can’t wait for the sequel!

I am so enjoying reading this book that I’ve rationed myself to one story per day, desperate to make it last as long as possible!

If you’ve ever been to Bali or just fancy a delve into a different culture, you will love this wonderful book. I roared with laughter at roasted spiders, animal antics and Balinese ceremony stories interwoven with local social and environmental issues. Life on this magical little island couldn’t be more utterly different from life in the western world as you’ll see when you read Cat Wheeler’s fabulous book. Loved it!

We’ve been to Bali 12 times and on the last trip I picked up the local expat newspaper and read a short story from author which impelled me to get her book. I thought I knew heaps about Bali but this has given me much more insight into local customs etc. The book is brilliant and a fun read as well.

I could not put this book down. As a regular visitor to Bali and our favourite place Ubud, it felt like being there. The well travelled author has a good sense of humour which is what you would need to build a house there and share it with pets and some strangers from the jungle next door. I love the style of writing with all its humour plus the information of the Balinese people and their unique way of life .The worst part was the end –, it could of gone for much longer for me.

I picked up this book as we headed to Bali, in hopes of gaining some insight about this island. Ms. Wheeler offers witty and insightful stories that kept me researching topics and wanting to read more. From rare textiles to lizards in the trees to sustainable collecting of tropical fish, there’s so much illuminated here. This is a fine addition to my favorite genre, travel nonfiction. I’ve just purchased her second book and I can’t wait to start it.

I started this book yesterday and finished it today, what a warm, engaging, insightful, entertaining and educative book. This is a definitely a book that has many layers, something for everyone.  Cat captures the intoxication, confusion, spirituality and most of all the hilarity of life that she’s experienced in Bali. Thank you for sharing your wondrous life adventures. I have enjoyed this book immensely, when is the next one coming?

As an ex-pat living in Bali I can’t speak highly enough of this witty, erudite and well written anthology of short essays about some of the everyday experiences that befall the foreigner living on this island of the gods. Wheeler captures the mysticism of the place as well as its general craziness in readable prose that informs one of the some of the finer points of the local culture and indigenous traditions, as well as entertaining us with the sometime absurdity of life in this magical place.

Retired, Rewired

Living Without Adult Supervision in Bali is my second collection.  Older and perhaps a modicum wiser, I found myself in the classic mid-life expat quandary of trying to maintain my modest home and many animals in Bali while managing my aging and ill family in my home country.

Testimonials from Amazon

I’ve been writing about Bali since 2004 and can say nobody writes about this wild, wonderful and idiosyncratic island better than Cat Wheeler. She captures all the personalities of Bali, whether they have four legs, two legs, wings or just a reptilian stare. Bali has a culture and a people like no other place in the world and they come to life in the pages of this great book.

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this after enjoying Wheeler’s ‘Bali Daze’ a couple of years back.  Witty, insightful and well written, both books capture some of the wonder and weirdness of living as an ‘ex-pat’ in a country as exotic and ever-changing as Indonesia. I lend my copy regularly to friends and guests and it never fails to hit the mark. whether you’ve visited Bali before, intend to sometime soon, or just enjoy an intelligent read with humor, insight and pathos.

This book is keeping me awake at night! Tucked into bed I tell myself I’ll just read three chapters and then lights out. But when I finish those three I think, just one more. And so it goes until I wake up some time later with the open book on my chest and the lights still on. I can’t put this entertaining, funny, insightful, honest book down. Cat Wheeler’s words flow onto the page with ease. She can take the trickiest of situations and find humor and wisdom in the experience. Life is her picnic basket – what delicacy will she pull out for the next chapter? This is a must read whether Bali is in your blood or not.

For anyone who Lives in Bali, Loves Bali or is Looking to visit or move to Bali Cat Wheeler’s two books are a must read. Witty, wise and wonderful Cat has a way of making situations that  may make you want to pull out your hair not only amusing but understandable in the context of magical Bali. Be prepared to laugh and cry at the same time on a journey that is utterly unique. Considering the number of adults living in Bali without supervision this should be a best seller!

At the end of the book I was sad to see it go! The stories resonated for me, as a family member, traveler, and a person facing the changes that life brings. But more than that, Cat’s way with words made me laugh out loud, and shake my head along with the people (and animals) in the tales. A page turner all the way.

I read Cat Wheeler’s book ‘Bali Daze’ before moving to Bali and liked it so much I read it again. Her new book, ‘Retired, Rewired’ is just as excellent. I just finished it and am sure I will read it again. It doesn’t matter if you have never been to Bali and never plan to visit. Both books are a fun read. Vivid writing, humorous depictions of daily life, more than you thought you needed to know about duck sex, and really lovely depictions of family and friends – and losing some of them. Read it and I suspect you will read it again.

Cat’s second book about life as an expat in Bali, Indonesia is as amusing, touching and heart-warming as her first book, Bali Daze, which played a large part in me falling in love with Bali. Retired, Rewired, as well as including many hilarious stories about life on this crazy island which can’t help but touch the soul, also touches on the most important topics of life and death, such as aging, bereavement and coping with loss, both at a distance from family and in a foreign culture. Such an easy and entertaining read but at the same time, thoughtful and moving.

What happens when we eschew the trappings of traditional western living to take the road less travelled? A wonderful and energising romp through the free-style life of an intrepid soul making her way through mid-life from a base in Bali, Indonesia. With something for everyone, and a true voice, the vignettes she covers from tending piglets to her return to the motherland are both poignant and hilarious. What a beautiful and authentic portrayal of a simple life, well lived. I couldn’t put it down.