Sal Bolton

Where did you grow up/study in Australia?
Born and raised in Sydney, I studied journalism and international studies at the University of Technology Sydney - a double degree which set me on a path that has led me around the world, several times over.

Where are some of the interesting places you have lived around the world?

I left Australia to study overseas, at the University of Salamanca in Spain and Tec de Monterrey in Mexico. Next I worked in international relations in New York and Los Angeles, before shifting career gears and moving into international development. Since then, I have worked in East Timor, Cambodia, Mexico, Peru, and now Indonesia. The most remote place was Oecusse: a tiny enclave of East Timor surrounded by Indonesian territory in West Timor. The week that I started work there, the overnight ferry connecting Dili with Oecusse broke down. For three months, the only way in or out of the enclave was by UN helicopter or charter plane.

Where are you currently living?
I’ve been living on the beautiful island of Bali for the past 18 months. For Australians, Bali often means beaches, bogans and Bintangs. Fortunately I am based near Ubud, and avoid Kuta like cholera. Although my peaceful village life is surprisingly noisy: 3am roosters, Hindu temple jazz, shadow puppet plays, volleyball games, cockfights, and ever-present construction noise - as new expat villas encroach on the rice paddies.

What do you do?
I do communications and outreach for Kopernik, a nonprofit organsiation connecting simple technology with last mile communities to reduce poverty. I share stories about how Kopernik’s solar lanterns, water filters, clean cookstoves and other affordable innovations are making life easier for people living in some pretty tough places. And I encourage individuals and corporations to support our projects, so we can make simple, life-changing technology available to even more people.

What's a hidden secret of your city?
I always take friends who visit on a walk from my house, passing through rice paddies and crossing over a collapsing bamboo bridge to reveal a spectacular jungle view of the Ayung River valley. On a clear day, you can see volcanoes rising in the distance. It’s stunning.

What's your favorite cafe/bar/restaurant in your current city?
Seniman Coffee Studio for fantastic coffee - they source beans from all over Indonesia and roast them on site. Warung Pulau Kelapa for delicious fresh Indonesian food - you can even pick your own vegetables from their organic garden and they will cook them up for you. And Jendela House for fancy cocktails, especially the Summer Rae - whisky, soda and fresh berries.

Describe your adopted hometown/current city in three words.
Tropical island paradise.

What do you miss most about Australia when you are overseas?
Currently: wine, cheese, libraries and public transport.

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