How to start your freelancing career in 2023

A comprehensive guide to how to start your freelancing career in 2023 and live life as a creative freelancer on your own terms.

In 2015, I quit my job as a digital strategy planner with a leading social media and digital marketing agency. I started freelancing and at the time I barely scraped through. Fast forward to 2022, “I” now bill almost 10 lakhs a month (on average – some months less and some months more) and I am more than ok! In this guide to start freelancing, I talk about how I did it and how you can too.

PS: the “I” is a small team that works together to deliver on the work I bring in. And the 10 lakh I talk about is what we bill as a team. We operate as The C4E Collective.

PPS: Again, 10 lakhs is the average. Some months, we do more, and some we do less. In all fairness and honesty, in the best month, we billed about 22 lakhs, and in the worst, we billed 4.

So, here’s a guide to how I broke into freelancing and how you can do too.

Lemme start with some background.

I think believe I am destiny’s child.

I have been extremely lucky and I am grateful that I am where I am. A lot of things (that were mostly out of my control) had to happen to give me this life I have. And I manufactured a handful of things to augment the ones that were out of my control. And I need to work VERY hard on building blind faith in my self (something I lack).

In this longish piece, I want to share what I did and maybe you can pick some lessons from here! 

So, if I am at a 10 lakh a month number, it is because of all the people I’ve met and the opportunities I’ve created. The keyword here is created. Unlike popular belief, I do not believe in waiting for things to happen. I seek them. I try and create them. I put myself out there, in rooms where there are odds that I would meet people better than me. Once I am in there, I am ok to make a fool of myself. I am ok to be laughed at. I am ok to raise my hand when no one else is daring to. And I believe in playing long-term games and doing it for the long term.

PS: Long-term is anything more than 5 years. I’d want to push it to 10. But 5 I think it is for the time being.

Before we start, please note that this is NOT a list of freelancing hacks for writing or for anything else. For the simple reason – I don’t know if they exist. Rather, this is a list of things that worked for me and these may or may not work for others. However, there are lessons you can pick from what I believe in and what I did and you can adapt these to your situation. And yes, like all “advice” this is not one-size-fits-all. Please tread with caution. 

Lesson 0. Freelancing is a (VERY) long-term game. 

Let’s start at ground zero.
Freelancing is a long-term game you play with long-term people. 

Today, each opportunity that knocks at my door is a result of a relationship that I “created” years ago and then took the effort to nurture it. I allowed them to compound. 

Here’s some data. My most recent client is someone I know for almost 2 years (thanks to a podcast that I produce). The second most recent client is someone I walked up to randomly at a WeWork (in 2018), and became friends with. So, 5 years. The third most recent client came via someone I know since 2013. And all the other clients came through relationships built prior to that!

Update: Since writing this post for the first time and publishing it, I’ve cracked three more clients. One I’ve known for 5+ years. The other for 7+ years. The third taught me at MDI (16 years ago). So, the point has been reinforced.

So, please get this tattooed on your forehead that as a freelancer, you will have to play a VERY long-term game. The one that will probably last you for the rest of your life. And thus each thing you do, you need to think from that lens. 

Oh, and starting point of this game? 

Relationships. 
With friends.
Acquaintances.
Strangers.
Loose Connections.
And everyone else in between. 

Lemme talk more about this in the next step.

Lesson 1 – Build Relationships irrespective of your intent to start a freelancing career

If I could teach the world how to build relationships, we would have reached Moon Mars by now. And to teach this to an aspiring freelancer would be even more difficult. Allow me to try.

First things first. I define a “relationship” as a thing that makes you want to spend your time with another person. And vice versa.

So, how do you “build” this want? How do you manufacture it?

Well, to get other people to spend time with you, you could start by becoming interesting, likeable, approachable, dependable and all that. The tough part is that each of these words is subjective and there is no tangible definition per se.

However, while the definitions of subjective things vary, there is indeed something tangible that you can offer to others.

Value.

You could add value to others. To them as people. To their businesses. To their lives. Value is tangible. Could be small, big, large or whatever. But most people know it when they see the value.

And on the other side, when you meet others, you need to have patience, listening ability, zero judgements, an open mind, empathy and willingness to offer value (even if they are the ones pitching to you). You need to gift others your attention without expecting anything.

No, it’s not easy; we all struggle with ‘no expectations’ on various levels. 

What has worked for me is that I have offered value (hopefully immense) without asking (or even expecting) anything in return.

Lemme give an example. A friend needed someone to talk to her boyfriend and show him opportunities in the digital marketing space. I thought I could give gyaan. I did that. That person got placed at some agency. And then he gave me a project to work on! Simple and effective!

Thing is, when you offer value without expecting anything in return, the people on the other side start to see you as one of “them”. And not a third party that they’ve engaged for a “project”. And once you are “one of them”, you earn a seat at the table. Where both (access and rewards) are higher.

PS: Of all the strangers that you’d offer value for free and without expecting anything in return, there are bound to be a few that would take you for a ride. You would invest time, energy and everything and you would get nothing. And that’s ok. Really. We pay taxes. There is leakage. You accidentally spill your coffee. This is how life is. Just that each time you are taken for a ride, identify the red flags and next time, avoid similar situations. So start with an expectation that once in a while you’d be left on the losing side.

Lesson 1.2 – Don’t wait for these relationships to happen, create them. 

Thanks to Karan Johar and Walt Disney and others like that, we assume that a “connection” will “click”. You’d be roaming around in a park and in your lap would fall the handkerchief laptop of a gorgeous woman client and as you give that back to her, you would exchange numbers and she would give you a lot of love freelance work.  

Lemme pop your bubble.
No.
It doesn’t work like that. 
Not even for romance.

If you read Neil Strauss or Kevin Mitnick or have seen Anurag Kashyap films, you know you’d have to plant some goons to tease the woman of your dreams and show your heroics to save her. 

Same with freelancing.

You need to plant things that will create opportunities for you to come across as a hero that the client can not live with! 

So, in one line, you need to create these relationships.
You need to walk into rooms you are not invited in and try and locate people you want to learn from, collaborate with, or simply keep around. You need to be intentional and deliberate about it! 

Lemme give an example.
I was working out of a WeWork in 2018 or something. I took the floating desk because it was cheaper. While I sat there, I overheard this man talking about marketing and branding to someone else on the phone. While he spoke, he made a lot of sense. So, I decided to walk up to him. And introduced myself. He was kind enough to reciprocate. And this started my friendship with Aditya Save, who has helped me get work, helped me find people for my team and has taken my input for his work!

So yeah. That.

Create relationships.
Be deliberate about it.
And put in the work required to create relationships.

Oh, here are some actionable ideas…

  1. Join groups where interesting people hang out. I am a member of a few others. Lemme know and I will get you added. Needless to say, I am part of scores of Whatsapp groups, each discussing a wide range of ideas and each on mute ;). Here’s a plug – I run a WA group where I send gyaan on marketing. Join Marketing 101 if you want to.
  2. Go to meetups. LinkedIn is rife with opportunities to do so.
  3. Take memberships (if you can afford it) at places like WeWork, Soho House et al that have a curated selection of members.
  4. Engage with tweets and messages from interesting people on social platforms. Without getting creepy. Start with me or Aditya!

Lesson 2 – Be reliable when freelancing.

In my experience, people dont want to work with “the absolute best” or the “greatest in the world”. 

They want to work with reliable people. They want to pay and get work done. They dont care about a Picasso or a Mario Puzo when they want a piece of art created. They want it to deliver enough to solve a business problem. As a “creative” individual, you can continue to chase perfection. Or show progress. To the world. And while you do so, be dependable. 

I mean think about it. You want to go from point A to B. Would you wait for the “right” car to come in or you’d hop into the next one?

More often than not, people do not care for you being exceptionally good at one thing (I know this sounds counter-intuitive to common wisdom where they want you to the world-class at one thing). People care about paying and getting work done on pre-decided timelines.

So, be reliable. 

Lesson 3 – Start Small.

You cannot start freelancing expecting a gig worth a lakh a month. You build up to it, in terms of both skills and confidence and ability to deliver and ability to demand money.

We’ve engaged a designer that billed us 500 bucks for a FB post a few months ago. And today, he pays his house EMI from what he bills us! 

If back then he said he would only pick up work worth 1 lakh, he wouldn’t have moved towards financial independence. At least not with us. 

Lesson? 
Never hold out for the biggest fish. 
Start small, but keep at it. 

The keyword is, keep at it. And dont say no. And offer value. More than what you thought you could.

Lesson 4 – Spread yourself wide! It is a freelancer’s paradise

Again, counter-intuitive to what common wisdom is. But has worked for me like a charm. Read on.

I cannot stress enough that everything that’s come to me has come to me because I widened my interests and attention. Just by doing this one thing, I’ve met a LOT of people from a LOT of backgrounds that knew a LOT about a LOT of things.

Each interaction allowed me to pick up more things that I can talk about and can eventually work on. Each interaction made me a tad more interesting for the others to talk to. Each interaction gave me a higher chance to be in rooms that I would otherwise not be welcome in. 

The same reflected in the kind of work I was doing. When I started freelancing, I worked as a marketing consultant for a startup. And I did brand strategy for an agency. And I did an event production for another agency.

No, I am / was not “the best” at any of these three.
I was merely dependable. See lesson 2 above.

When the COVID-19 lockdown happened, my biggest source of revenue (events management) came to a standstill. However, my ability to deliver brand strategy and marketing consulting allowed me to survive. And then I expanded from there on.

Today, I do the following – ad-films production, marketing consulting, digital brand planning, ghostwriting, podcasting, content, investing and more! This spread has allowed me to bill 20+ lakhs in a couple of months). And no, I am not great at any of these. I am not even good. I am just dependable.

And oh, I started small and upskilled and ensured that I delivered more than what I promised.

The point is, go out there. And expand yourself thin. Always be on the lookout for experiences of different kinds, and you will meet people from different industries, with different dreams, and very different lives. And rather than trying to fit them into the mould that you’ve created for yourself, be open and accepting.  

Lesson 5 – Overdeliver. Even as a freelancer and while freelancing.

This one’s quite simple: Say you’re asked to write just a blog post. But when it comes to delivering, you send in a series of tweets along with that blog post, to help get traffic to that post. Or, you share those five insights you had while writing that piece. 

Your clients will see it. They will remember you for going above and beyond. And they would see that you are the kinds to deliver more value than what you are paid for. 

Result? 
You are perceived as someone who delivers value. 
Top it up by being dependable. 
And then top it up by being the one that does not expect a lot.
Why would people not work with you? 
Why would you not scale? 
Why would you not reach the 10 lakh a month number?

Quite simple. And effective.

Lesson 6 – Make yourself discoverable as a freelancer. 

Jo dikhta hai, wo bikta hai. 
Location. Location. Location.
The baby that cries the loudest gets fed first. 

There are numerous parables like that. Each makes the same point. 
Be out there.
Be discoverable. 

You’d start attracting opportunities the second you begin putting yourself out there. You invite people to discover you. And then you back it up with overdelivering. And you invest in long-term relationships. And you become a dependable person. 

How is it that you will not build a solid network that gives you work? P.S.: You may want to read this post on networking.

In the words of Daniya and Chandni (am making them discoverable by adding them here), “Think of it like this: It starts with you seeking opportunities and ends with people discovering you. What happens in between is all the things we spoke about – relationships, offering value, and reliability.” 

And how do you do it? 
Newsletters, videos, blogs, Twitter – just about anything that aligns with your voice. Go out. Show up. Showcase what you’ve done. Talk about your work.

The good part? 
All these things compound

Wait.
What do you think this blog post is? 
Why did I spend 15 45 days writing this?
Why do you think I am ranting on Twitter all the time? 
Why do I overshare? 

PS: I have to admit that despite doing all of the above, I remain VERY poor with my visibility and my distribution. Even though I write a lot, I need to work on this and I am constantly in search of amplifying this. And here is a post I wrote on how to build a writing habit.

Lesson 7 – Collaborate with other freelancers and freelancing platforms.

You know how a single twig breaks easily, but the second you pick a bundle, they’re invincible? That. 

That’s how you should view those on a similar path as you.

Together, you learn and attract more. Ditch that greed (of doing things by yourself and keeping the entire pie for yourself) and find people who want to grow with you. Ditch that insecurity that if you share your connections, others will close those deals ahead of you. Ditch that fear that the client will find someone else who’s better.

And in case you need to find a place to start with, start with me. I’d love to. I am a tweet away. 

Once you have one or two connections, go seek more. Join networks. Go to meetups. Tweet at random people. Ask for help. “Hire” people to work with. The “I” I talked about at the beginning of this post are actually my collaborators. It is humanly impossible to make 10 lakhs a month as a freelancer if you are on your own. You need collaborators. You need to pick work and allocate time and divide responsibilities and remuneration. The 10 lakhs we make is divided between the 6-7 of us and as a collective, we are better off than we would be if we did not collaborate.

This collab also allows us to present ourselves as a “large” company and pick larger projects (in value / impact / showcase) that an individual would never ever get considered for.

From here on, as a collective, we may go become a large company. Or will remain a bunch of freelancers working together. No one knows (I dont know what the future holds and I will not lose sleep over it). But what I know today (as of writing – 11 Dec 2022) is, that I am having a ball (with obvious ups and downs) and I am extremely grateful for that.

I am digressing.
The point is, partner with more people.
Do larger capers 🙂
Start with me, if you want more partners. I am a tweet away. 

Lesson 8 – Be the “easiest” freelancer to work with. 

I can bet that you have that friend that is incredibly difficult to please. You could go to the best restaurant to eat at, on a day that’s going really well and this person will spot a problem. 

At work, you would have that colleague that would ask a thousand questions even before lifting a finger and you would know that most of those questions are a way to deflect work assigned to him. You know, passing the buck. Or the pillow. Or as I call it, playing football and pushing the ball to the next person. 

There are people that you want to avoid even though they deliver great work. No?

So, thought experiment.
Switch places.

If you are that person that is incredibly difficult to work with, do you think people will come to you for work? Will they recommend you? Will they ask you to do things? 

If your answer is, “oh, I am the best. If not work with me, where would they go?”, then you’ve lost the plot and wasted all the time reading all these tips to start your freelancing career in 2023.

Thing is, clients are people. And they seek other people that are easy to work with. They like the idea of being easy to work with. They love their peace of mind.

It’s really simple.
When you’re stuck in circles, who do you turn to?
When you need something solved proto, where do you go?
When you want someone to get you out of the soup without asking too many questions, who do you think of?

Be that person. For others. For clients.
People Clients are looking for just that.

So, while you’re being reliable, also be easy to talk to and easy to work with. And see work coming your way.

Lesson 9 – Be a freelancer that people can trust. 

As I grow, I often find myself working closely with companies that often compete. As I write this, I work for 4 different advertising agencies. And each competes with the other on a day-to-day basis. And while the scope of work I take on for them might vary, I am essentially working for companies in the same business.

Thus, discretion becomes important. And it becomes tough for me to earn their trust. And while I have not been able to find a solution to this, I start with full disclosure. And transparency.

If I am working for competing companies, I disclose that to all them. And I’ve seen that if you volunteer information without others asking for that, people tend to trust you a tad more.

Again, trust is something that you need to earn. With time. The longer you work with / work on something / someone, the deeper the trust. While a post on trust would be another 5000 words, if I were to highlight a few points that help build trust, these would be…

A/ Everything that I have listed in the 8 lessons above. I will repeat some in this list.

B/ Radical honesty. There is nothing better than this.

C/ Keeping word. On your promises. On your delivery. Your Zubaan must have a keemat. Thank you, Rajesh Sir for teaching me this lesson.

D/ Be consistent. I suck at this, to be honest. But I am working on this.

PS: B, C and D are about being the most reliable person ever. Also, scroll up to see lesson 2.

That’s it. I am sure there are more things you can do to build trust but these 4 will cover most of those. And in fact, all the lessons I’ve listed would cover them all.

In the end…

Guess this is about it.

These are the 9 things that have allowed me to build a freelancing career. Trust me when I say this that if I have been able to build one for myself, I am sure you can too.

Also, do lemme know if this was useful. And do tell me what else would you want to read about if you are starting out as a freelancer in 2023. Finally, if you have any specific questions, I am happy to talk. The best way to reach me is on Twitter. I am a tweet away. 

A Few Disclaimers

  1. This post is essentially a list of things that have worked for me. These may or may not work for you. This is a summary of my experience only the results may vary 😉
  2. For context, I hold an MBA from MDI and have about 16 years of experience post that.
  3. Thanks to Chandni and Daniya for helping me write this.
  4. Thank you Samriddh, Hemant, Sanhita for reading early drafts and helping me improve this with specific inputs. These names are not in any order.
  5. There are more things that I can write about. In fact, I am thinking I will do a live session to help people break into freelancing. Would you want to learn from me? DM me on twitter and lemme know.
  6. If not on a live session, I think in the subsequent posts, I can write about the following: how to crack the first client, how to build the network, how to price your work etc etc. But I think that’s a different topic for a different day. Do let me know what would you want to read.

Ultimate Guide to Living in and Remote Working from Goa

Your ultimate guide to remote working from Goa or even work-from-home while in Goa. Insider’s dope, tips, and opinions. Do not miss if you are considering WFH / Remote Work from Goa.

Version control: V0.1, last updated on 20 April 2021

UPDATE (22 Nov 2022): This post was last updated in April 2021. I am sure a lot of information herein must be outdated by now. Plus, I no longer live in Goa. However, I am hoping to refresh it over the next few days. In case you want to take this up as a (paid) challenge, please write to me at sg@c4e.in.

So, if you are my generation and have seen your share of Bollywood, you would know of Dil Chahta Hai. Or if you are from the one after mine, you would know Dear Zindagi. Both these are probably at the top of the pile of those films that have drilled the romanticized idea of the small coastline of Goa in our heads. Mention Goa and you start thinking to dream of a better life.

The images that come to your head could carry from the Vegas of India cliche (complete with its “what happens in Goa stays in Goa”) to that of a sleepy town littered with parties (and the characters and shenanigans of these characters at the parties) to lip-smacking seafood (Recheado anyone?) to dilapidated castles on top of hillocks (some of these are now hotels) to tourists teeming with frenzy as if they’re gonna die after this trip (not just from India but from places as far as Israel, Russia, and the UK) to, of course, beer cheaper than water!

At least these were the ones that came to my head. Blame it on a million trips that I have made to Goa over the years. My trips primarily were to give all my money to those poker players and rake to casinos floating in the Mandovi.

So anyhow, thanks to the lockdown and WFH getting acceptable, moved to Goa in early Dec 2020, to live and work from here, and see what else the state has to offer. I had a million doubts and a thousand questions and a hundred apprehensions before I moved to Goa. But I took the plunge. Literally.

What I saw was predictable, interesting, surprising, refreshing and more. And thus the prompt to write this guide.

So, here we are. In this Ultimate Guide to Remote Working from Goa, I will talk about what it takes to move to goa and work from here. Plus with the aftermath of COVID-19, remote jobs are increasingly becoming acceptable and people wanting to live and work out of Goa will need reliable, honest, first-hand information. This is that nifty handbook for those people. And for digital nomads and road-warriors and others that may want to work out of Goa.

Oh, standard disclaimers apply. See a list toward the bottom of the post.

Here’s what I will talk about…

  1. First Things First
  2. Why work from Goa?
  3. Pros and Cons of working from Goa
  4. The moving to Goa decision matrix
  5. Living in Goa for work
  6. Comparison of co-working spaces in Goa
  7. Making the move
  8. Misc information
  9. In the end…

1. First things first about working from Goa…

There’s a lot to talk about Goa if I want to do an honest and comprehensive job of helping you decide. Lemme start with these three. In each, I will try to ask a question and the answer to that question will probably help you decide where you want to be once you decide that you want to work in Goa.

1A. The North vs South Divide

Simply speaking, think of Goa as a straight line (it is NOT but just think of it like that for the time being). See this image.

Screenshot from Maps Of India

Assume that Panaji (aka Panjim) is the midpoint. Panjim is the capital city and like every other state capital, it is like any other – traffic, highrises (not really as high as the ones we have in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai), fast internet (really!), ample public transport, etc. But if you choose to live in / around Panjim, you might as well live in Mumbai. Or Bangalore for that matter.

? Hat-tip – Read the section on Internet below.

North Goa (Candolim, Calangute, Anjuna, Morjim, Mandrem, and beyond) is where most tourists (Indian, foreign, etc) hang out. With-in the North, I’d advise you to stay away from Candolim, Calangute, or Baga.

But places like Anjuna and Vagator are very very livable. In fact, if you want to meet and network with interesting people, you have to check these two out. You’d also get access to the sea.

? To me, one of these two is the perfect place to live if you are in Goa to work. But this could be my bias as well.

Oh, most Indian tourists do not venture beyond Anjuna. If you go further north, you’d only find foreigners (and Indians that are more foreigners in their heads than the actual foreigners are). So that could be a good place to be if you want to be in the North and yet stay at a secluded place.

If you are ok living in the interiors with a limited sea view, you will like it at Porvorim, Saligao, Parra, Assagao, Siolim, etc. These are not north per se but for our simplistic map, these could be. And within these, I love Porvorim (a city and yet not a city) and Assagao (essentially a forest on a hill).

South Goa is where we have all the secluded, spaced out, sparse and clean beaches in Goa. This is also where the peace of mind is. Food also, in general, is better in the South, if you ask me. And because these are secluded and spaced out, you typically have holidaymakers here (and not the tourists that seek action of water-sports, dance clubs, etc). If I were to choose a place to be on a holiday, I’d pick South Goa. If you want to work in Goa, I would NOT recommend South Goa. But if you have to live and work in the South, I’d recommend looking at places like Palolem, Utorda, and Majorda. There’s some semblance of life there.

Oh, there’s also what I call the North-East Goa (though locals don’t call it that). Which is essentially Mapusa, Moira, Aldona, and thereabouts. This part is fast emerging as the hub of creative kinds. More on this later.

❓ So, the first decision you need to make is, what part of Goa do you want to live in. Panjim? North? South? North-East? I would recommend North.

1B. Natives, Locals and Migrants

If you are going to spend some time in Goa, you need to be able to understand people here. No, a section of a blogpost can never ever do justice but here’s an attempt.

Natives of Goa are people that were born in Goa, grew up in Goa, live in Goa, have ancestral roots in Goa, have houses in Goa, and plan to be here. Most of these would be in professions from fishing to politics to even heavy industries. These are the ones that of course have the claim over Goa as a place. Everyone else is a guest. And thus needs to conduct themselves as guests. You are a guest as well even if you are moving here lock, stock, and barrel.

Locals of Goa are the ones that have some Goan connection (parents from Goa, close relatives in Goa, married to Goans, etc) and are now living in Goa. In my limited experience, these are the people that have created flourishing businesses here and thus give employment to natives, locals and migrants.

Migrants in Goa are people like me. No connection to Goa. Hail from other places. Now living in Goa. Most work in businesses ran by natives or locals. Some are entrepreneurs that have set up businesses. Some are freelancers. Most are creative, freelancing, solopreneurs – musicians, dancers, yoga teachers, chefs, writers, photographers, etc.

As you start living here, you need to understand who’s who and then conduct accordingly. The natives typically do not like migrants coming in. They blame the outsiders for spoiling nature and the culture. They blame the outsiders for leaving too much mess on the beaches and causing other such nuisance. To be honest, they are probably right. But then, free market. They can’t stop the influx. The migrants (like us need) to understand that as mere “outsiders” we can’t really do much without support from natives / locals. And sooner we start respecting the locals and natives, the better it is. For everyone.

1C. The Good and The Bad

While the entire guide is about good and bad, I want to save time for you by making this nifty list. Each of these would be expanded eventually.

The Good part of working from Goa…

  • Goa is home to so much creative talent and prowess that it boggles my mind that we are not the world-leader in creativity! Plus this creative crowd is always in flux and is moving around (within and out of Goa). This means that there is no dearth of interesting people that you can jam and network with. This to me in itself is a big big draw to Goa.
  • Goa is probably as cosmopolitan as it gets. Really. Just that it’s a tad different than the cosmopolitan-ness that people from big cities are used to. You may not see a lot of fancy clothes but you would definitely see some really eclectic opinion that would make you take note.
  • Goa offers some of the best food that you’d have anywhere in the country. No, I am not a foodie at all. So, can’t comment on that.

The Bad part of working from Goa…

Just two.

  • Nothing is reliable here. Internet, people, electricity, roads, weather, stray dogs. Even people who write long posts on coworking in Goa 😉
  • If you are hoping to create a business here, unless you have a few crores, you would find it tough. If you have ready work from elsewhere that you want to deliver while you live in Goa, you can consider moving. But if you are hoping to setup something from scratch, it would be tough.

More details as we go along!

1D. What I will NOT talk about in this guide…

I will NOT talk about anything that tourists may want from Goa.

Things like best places to party, best venues to do sundowners, cheap shopping locations, tips on watersports, touristy places, Instagrammable locations, etc. I will NOT talk about the history of Goa, the weather of Goa, the culture of Goa, and so on and so forth. There’s enough and more on it.

2. So, why work from Goa?

This is the smallest part of the write-up and in this tiny, biased part, I will try and convince you to come work from here 😀

If my experience of the last 2 months is anything to go by, if your work allows you to work from remote locations, you MUST not miss the opportunity of working out of Goa! Heck, if I were the activist kinds, I would have met the government here in Goa and try to create a program inspired by the mayor of Miami!

I mean, imagine waking up a few miles away from the Arabian Sea and the winds from the sea and squeaks from the seabirds as your alarm clocks. Imagine the quaint vibe, apparently delicious seafood (which I have no clue about – I am a vegetarian eggetarian), and very very affordable options to wine and dine. Now, top it up with scenic exuberance and rich culture that Goa anyway has. And if you need the final push, imagine an opportunity to jam and network with all the eclectic, creative, free souls that call Goa home! 

Why would you not work from here? Life is anyway short and if your work allows you to live and work out of Goa, please do make the move. Even if it’s for a bit. Here are more details for you…

3. The Pros and Cons of working from Goa

Of course, every place has its share of good and bad. While I can fill in reams of pages on the good parts, there are numerous downsides as well. The decision is a personal one but if for you the advantages of working out of goa outweigh the negatives, come join me 🙂

Here we go on the good and the bad, in detail.

3A. Some good things about working out of Goa!

Personally, I have found that living in Goa allows me to be more creative and free. You know how Hemingway said, write drunk and edit sober? Goa is allowing me to do that! I am drunk on the talent of others. And I am sobered by my limitations as an individual. Wow! Poetic! Here’s a “rational” and sober list.

⏩ Goa is probably one of the most vibrant places in the country with a lovely confluence of cultures. There is a diverse community of creative people from almost any discipline that you may imagine. You can whip up the frenzy and some crazy ideas with them. And yet Goa offers you endless opportunities for a slow, lackadaisical, laidback, and serene life. In one line, I’d say Goa exudes a heightened sense of quietude, even with all its cultural exuberance. There’s something for almost everyone.

⏩ If you are a music aficionado, apart from a thriving live-gig scene from across the genres (I can’t even count how many restaurants and bars offer Hindi and English covers), Goa probably has the best EDM and Hip Hop scene in India. Lately even Folk is taking the small state by storm. Plus there are so many traveling artists. If music is your thing, do check out Gypsy Gigs by a friend and mentor, Nupura.

⏩ If you consider yourself a connoisseur of architecture and history, after your work, you may go visit all the grand cathedrals, worn-out churches, and crumbling forts that Goa is adorned with. The architecture here is a melange of rich Indian tradition and strong European cultural influences. I’d say history is every day, a living, breathing part of Goa. Even a regular Goan house has so much to offer that you’d be left amazed. Do share some pics 🙂

⏩ If you love to eat, you’d have a ball. Think of a kind of cuisine and you’d find it here. You have a plethora of options that throw all the right jargon. Organic, vegan, paleo, keto, hand-pulled, machine-made, free-range, cruelty-free, not tested on animals, safe for babies, fished with love and I don’t know what else.

If you like to cook, local markets offer a wide assortment of fresh catch and some of the most stunning fruits and veggies. There are farmer’s markets where home chefs, locals, and small business owners sell their produce. These can give any such market anywhere in the world a run for their money. Goa is anyway known for its chilies (Aldona), Bananas (Moira), Watermelons, of course, Cashews. Plus coconut is as “local” to Goa as it is to anywhere else. You would find a wide range of coconut curries, hand-pressed oil, and even sweets here. I am told fish pickles are really to die for. Then there are numerous bakeries, each proud of their Pois and Puis. The local staple of Ras-omelet-poi (chicken gravy without pieces, omelet, and local bread) is as flavourful as it sounds. The samosas and the egg-puffs I have had here have been the best ever. I just had two samosas from this kiosk outside Las Viegas at Saligao. You have to try him out.

No, do not even hang out around the tourist traps that claim to offer culinary delights to the celebrities and rich kids that come to Goa on vacation. Ok, maybe once or twice for those Instagram pictures to make your colleagues jealous. But not more than that, please. No Thalassa. No Antares. No Sinq. No Cabana. No Martin’s Corner. Please. PLEASE. P L E A S E!!

⏩ Of course, if you are the touristy kind and like to do the things that tourists do, there are flea markets (I could not spot those this year though) at Anjuna and Arpora. There is the Dudhsagar waterfall. There are spice farms. There are river cruises on Madovi and even on the Sal. There are sanctuaries and wild-life reserves and water-sports (Scuba, Snorkelling, Surfing, and more) and paragliding and surfing and whatnot. No, I am not the right person to talk about these as I stay away from them as much as I can. 

⏩ As I end this part, here’s a thing that I love about Goa. People. They are the friendliest that I have ever seen anywhere in the world. If you stay for a while, you can make friends with local establishments and claim a few spots that comfort you enough that you start calling them home. I found mine at NickyM’s and they make the best burgers ever. Do try them out.

Wow! That’s a lot of good! The point remains, Goa is amazing if you want to work from here.

3B. What makes working out of Goa a terrible idea?

While most of what you experience here will keep you hooked, a few things might become an issue…

⏩ To begin with, something as basic as uninterrupted electricity is a challenge here. Power cuts are quite commonplace in and around Goa. While for the most parts (at least in the Northern, touristy parts of Goa), they last a mere few minutes, power cuts could take up hours to recover. I am told the situation goes grimmer during the monsoons. As if irony gods were listening to me, while writing this, the power went and came back a few times.

? Hat-tip – Wherever you decide to live, do ensure that they have a power generator or an inverter for backup.

Internet is a pain in the ass. Mobile Internet is a bigger pain. I have a Vodafone and a Jio connection and yet I couldn’t get see that magical word that starts with 4[1]4G for the uninitiated. It goes down the drain when on the weekends tourists throng into Goa. Even the broadband at various co-working places tends to be tardy. More on co-working places in Goa in a bit.

I am told that you need to have two connections if your work requires heavy use of the Internet.

Since I published this, a few people have reached out to me with their experiences. Here are some…

From a reader on Facebook…

asdad Ok..so i am a software engineer and need fast internet 24×7. So, i selected panjim. Internet speed is 250mbps, which is more than what i used to get in bangalore. Also, panjim have miramar beach and dona paula. You are not away from beach. You should add this point…if internet is must, then panjim n dona paula are safest option.

Even bsnl broadband is very reliable here

Via a comment on Facebook.

From another reader on Facebook…

you wrote that the internet is not reliable for video calls. i’ve been on different forums on reddit, facebook where some people say they get good internet and do webinars, and others say it is very unreliable, as you said. for example, an acquaintance living in socorro said he does webinars and has no problem. he has an ethernet express connection. some people on the reddit group for goa have good experience with G Wave in south goa. so going by all these reports, my impression was that internet should be ok, particularly with ethernet express in north goa, hinterland villages like socorro or aldona or such places, which is where i thought i will shift to. do you think one should count your experience as one among the others, or is what you write based on a wider survey of different connections and different people’s experiences, etcetera?

Via a comment on Facebook.

Lemme respond to this one.

For this piece, I spoke to more than 20 people before writing this. I have got mixed feedback on the Internet. While it may work once you get it installed at your place (I would still not count on it), but when you are out on the road it will be a problem for sure! So that.

Update. 20 April 2021. I am told by people that have moved to Goa in recent times that the Internet troubles for them seem to be waning off. Higher demand from about 50-thousand odd “migrants” has made the Internet companies up their game. Phone connectivity remains a challenge though.

I haven’t been able to talk to any of those film companies that are in Goa to understand how they operate. Once I do, will update. Also, this sounds like such a simple problem to solve, and yet no one’s been able to figure this out!

One time I had to send an email and despite all my efforts, I could not find the Internet. Had to fire up a scooty and park on the roadside to get it done!

? Hat-tip – Do NOT move to Goa unless you know where you are going to get your internet from.

⏩ Then, commonplace, mundane things such as getting your computer (or even your ceiling) fan fixed are a hassle in Goa. Goa simply does not have enough handymen that do such specialized work. And the ones that are here, you need to court those like you court a romantic partner. No, you can’t bribe them with extra money. Easier is to become a handyman by yourself with such things.

Maybe a business opportunity? And lemme give you an example. I had to get a new charger for my laptop (a MacBook Air) and I just couldn’t find a shop around me that would have one. I had to order it on Amazon and wait for like 5 days before it came in.

⏩ I am told monsoons are bad for people who are not from here. The sea goes berserk, almost all the shacks (and restaurants) close down till around the end-August, the rains do not stop for days and wild-life (insects, bugs, frogs, crickets, enthu tourists et al) becomes a regular fixture. Most things that keep you engaged after work tend to shut down and the place leaves you with very little to do. No, I have NOT experienced these first hand – I have only come to Goa as a tourist during monsoons and have not lived here. 

Oh, power becomes even more erratic. Plus, apparently, there’s a big snake menace in Goa in the monsoons.

? Hat-tip – If you plan to be here around monsoons, get a raincoat. And a snake stick. Please. 

⏩ I must mention that Goa has a big mosquito menace and stray dog problem. There are way too many of these all across the state. The strays are not neutered and thus the population. I hate this the most about living in Goa. Of course, most people like to pet dogs and feed them and take care of them and all that. But not my scene. It sucks.

Here’s a “collection” of dogs in Goa.

Dogs of Goa (maybe, will start a page :D)

? Hat-tip – Invest in mosquito repellant sprays, incense sticks. And if not that, get ready to burn coconut shells or lemongrass sticks. And please carry a stick or something to shoo the stray dogs away.

⏩ As I end this, I have to say that unless you are a regular in the party circuit or you enjoy loud, upbeat music at all times, Goa might come off as intrusive after a while. Especially if you are in North Goa – it’s perpetually teeming with high-spirited tourists and party-goers at all hours. You’d find it hard to find a spot that you can take some quiet time off at. Even without the tourist season, every café and beach shack blare loud music tirelessly on their speakers all the time. At 7 AM, at the afternoon when the sun makes it unbearable to be in Goa, at 9 PM and even at 2 AM as the last of the tourists stumble back to their homes.

Ok that was a long list. Phew!

4. What all do you need to think about before you move here?

I call this The Move To Goa Decision Matrix. Lol!

There are quite a few important decisions you have to make if you are planning to work out of Goa for the long term. Here are some questions that you need to find answers to…

4A. North Goa v/s South Goa 

I touched upon this briefly in the introduction but one of the first things to decide is the part of Goa you want to live and work from. North. South. North East. Panjim. To be honest, the choice is yours and a lot of it depends on the kind of person you are.

If you are into a high-spirited life and you like other people around you, you ought to be in North Goa. I recommend North Goa. Really.

Within the North, you need to decide if you want to be around the water or away from it. Plus you would need to identify the part within North that has other people of your ilk. It is imperative. So much so that I will say it again. And make this bold.

In the South, while the beaches are nice and clean and secluded and all that, for someone that wants to work and chill after work, south is NOT the place. I know I will get hate emails on this.

Panjim is a lot cause. It’s a city. Rather live in Bangalore. Mumbai. Why would anyone live in Panjim? Really?

4B. Work from Home or Co-working Spaces?

I am the kinds that needs to step out of the house to work. Even when I am in Mumbai, I need to go to a Starbucks to work, if not a co-working space.

So in Goa, even though I have access to a fairly comfortable house (thanks to Rajesh Sir), I had to have a co-working space to work out of in Goa. And that’s the first thing I did once I moved here.

Similarly, you need to ask yourself if you are the kind to get work done from home. Or you need the ambiance and vibrance of a public place like a co-working space. Or even a cafe for that matter.

In fact, the cafe guys in Goa, in general, are very very kind and nice. They don’t bother you much, but the chairs are not comfortable. My back’s already arched like a bow!

More on co-working later in the piece.

4C. Does your work require video calls?

If your work requires a lot of video calls, PLEASE do know that the Internet is NOT reliable here. You WILL find yourself in a precarious position quite often. It gets embarrassing after a while. My team now knows that if they have planned for a video call, in all probability, I would be behind a grainy connection.

No, not even the co-working spaces I’ve been to offer a reliable connection (except the Design Centre at Porvorim and Clay on most days). Plus, at the co-working spaces, there are hardly any “telephone booths” where I could lock myself in a quiet chamber to take these video calls. I found the Delhi / Mumbai co-working etiquette missing here in Goa.

Update. 20 April 2021. Repeat. Internet seems to be getting better.

4D. What kind of work do you do?

I am a freelance writer (and editor), a marketing consultant, a podcast producer (and host), and an events producer. Most of my work is management, coordination, and working in isolation. Most of my data is on the cloud (and data gets synced when I get internet).

So, if you are like me, you’d probably get by. So, if you are a coder, designer, writer, photographer, etc. you would largely be ok. However, if you need constant, uninterrupted connection, you will be stuck. So if you are in support, extensive team management, or more, you’d find it tough.

So yes, in one line, remote work is possible in Goa but only for a select set of professions. I mean if Lucky Ali can live in Goa and release a damn new video on the Internet, who else would face the challenge?

Oh, and if you need gyaan on getting things done, Notes For Growth may be your answer.

4E. Some approximate numbers about expenses in Goa (aka Money)

In my limited experience, living in Goa is cheaper compared to living in Mumbai and Delhi. From what I know of friends and their expenses in Bangalore, Chennai, and Pune, Goa is comparable. I don’t know about Kolkatta and other metros.

In Goa, the best part is that you could be price or a pauper, you can find something that would suit your budget. You can get accommodation at Rs. 400 per night (at hostels) to Rs. 4 lakhs per night (at presidential suites) and everything in between. Of course, these two numbers don’t add any value.

So for comparison and context, you can rent a “good” 2 BHK house in Goa for about 20K a month in most of the areas where you’d want to live. I know people that pay 30K for a villa with a yard and three floors. And I know someone that pays 18K for a villa bang in the middle of the forest. And someone that pays 21K for a fully-furnished swanky 1BHK. And someone that pays 1.5 lakhs a month for a 3-bedroom. So that.

In terms of food, you can eat well for about 80 bucks per meal (at those Udipi joints), and then if you want to pay more, you are free to go to those fancy places, that are aplenty in Goa. My meals are at NickyM‘s and each meal is about 200. In case you go there, say that you are Saurabh’s friend and they would extend a 10% discount. Promise.

I did not pay an electricity bill. But I am told it’s about 500 bucks. I did not have an internet line at home but if you were to get it installed, you’d pay a one-time installation fee (most times this can be waived if you are taking a long-term connection) and your monthly bill would be in the 1500 ballpark. This would be enough to do video calls and stream Netflix. But reliability would remain a question.

Here’s a quick table.

GoaMumbaiDelhi
Rent for a “decent” 2BHK HouseRs. 25000*Rs. 55000Rs. 35000
InternetRs. 1500Rs. 1200Rs. 1000
A “regular” meal Rs. 80Rs. 100Rs. 80
Petrol per liter (as on 5 Feb 2021)Rs. 83.4Rs. 93.49Rs. 86.95
Utilities (electricity, help, water etc)Rs. 4000Rs. 6000Rs. 3000
A quick comparison on cost of living

*Update. 20 April 2021. This seems to have jumped all the way to 50K in the recent months even though we are staring at the fag-end of the “season”

So that.

If I’ve missed something, do ask me your questions and I’d try to respond to the best of my knowledge.

5. A guide to ‘living in Goa’ as you work from here

So in case you do decide to work from here, you need to start thinking about living here. And life here is kind of different from any other place I have lived at (Delhi, Gurgaon, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai). Here are some thoughts. Divided into sections.

5A. Accommodation

You have tons of options. So many that it’s impossible to capture those all. Here’s my attempt.

Hostels. Goa is probably the place in India that started the hostel experience revolution. From dorms to private rooms to entire apartments to gigantic villas to even forts. You can have your pick.

BnB. There are tons of people that have spare bedrooms and they let these out for long-term (and short-term) rentals. I am planning to do this myself! You can get to live with some interesting people here. How to find them? Well that’s a question even I don’t have an answer to. May be create a matchmaking service for people like that?

Co-Living. A better hostel, a lesser hotel. A communal living experience. You know, how you have in hostels in colleges? That. You create a community of doers and tinkerers and all that. Entry is via some gatekeeper (CAT score!) and each person has to behave and each person is responsible. I am thinking about this. Like a residency for creative people. Admission via gatekeeping. For people who are serious and not just flirting with the idea of moving to Goa. That. Let’s see.

PS: I am told Nomad Gao (not a typo) is a good option for people that like co-living. Though I haven’t been there.

Rental Houses. Simple. You know, like you’d rent out at other cities in India.

5B. Getting Around

No. You do NOT want to get a car here. You need a two-wheeler. A scooty. You can rent for a month-long lease at 4K kinds (negotiate hard). I pay 6K a month because I got it at a time when there were a lot of tourists.

? Hat-tip – PLEASE keep a litre of petrol in the boot of your scooty. Petrol Pumps are kinda sparse. And no, don’t buy from those road-side kiosks that sell petrol in upcycled bottles. They sell a mix of piss and water and turpentine oil that couldn’t keep a fire going for its life.

Some people prefer small cars (Tata Nano or Maruti Alto) but I still recommend a Scooty.

There are bike taxis (called pilots) that you can use. You can identify these with their yellow mudguards. But they have designated spots as pitstops and you can only hail them from there. Unless you are lucky and you can flag someone. Plus there is no rate card per se. so, it comes down to what you can negotiate with them.

If you do need a car, you can rent via GoaMiles (though local taxi operators hate this. They say it dents their earning. I say it makes them more accountable. One of those never easy to settle debates).

Or you could use local taxi guys. They are all over the place. Especially around popular tourist areas, famous restaurants, and other hotspots. You would spend a little more but you would be far more peaceful.

5C. Spending money

You need to use GPay a lot. Even though you may try to explain that Paytm, BHIM, and other apps also use UPI, people will insist on GPay. To a point that they would tether you to their wi-fi networks.

No, the credit cards don’t work. The ones that accept will do so reluctantly. And will charge you a 2% markup. Unless you are at a 5-star (in that case, you don’t need to read this guide!) or an establishment ran by someone who thinks longer than making money from tourists in just one season.

5D. After Work

After you are done with work, you have like a million things to do here. You can explore the wilderness, meet other creative kinds, other folks that are trying to find themselves hers. You can connect and network with the ones from your ilk. There are classes on everything from scuba to yoga to dance to cooking to marital arts to even brewing wine!

My favorite thing to do is go stare at the sea. Like this one.

From one of my walks after work.

? The best thing you can do? Find a co-living, co-working commune. I really want to create one. Does anyone want to partner up?

6. The ultimate comparison and guide of co-working spaces in Goa

This is something that most people seem to ask for. Lemme make a list of a few places and how I look at those. Some disclaimers…

  1. This will only include the places that I have personally been to.
  2. There are a few that I have heard a lot about but I haven’t been to. I have included them but have refrained from giving a comment.
  3. Plus there are some places that are not really co-working spaces but offer what you need for work. Including those here as well.

Before I dig in, the good part of almost all co-working spaces here is that there is good power backup. The bad part is that the Internet is not the best. Even with their leased lines. Oh, most of these offer a great vibe, have a brilliant community, and create so many opportunities to meet new people! So, when I look at a place to work from, I look at the following…

  • Facilities
    • Ambience (Have they put any love into putting the co-working space together?)
    • Internet (How fast, reliable is the internet connection?)
    • AC (I need AC if I have to even breathe. Even if I were in Antarctica, I’d ask for one!)
    • Seating (I need a comfortable chair and a table at the right height).
  • Community
    • What kind of people does the place attract? Hippies? Creative kinds? People whiling time and merely wanting to hang out? Etc.
  • Price
    • Money is money.
  • Services
    • FnB (Can I order food? Coffee? How good it?)
    • Restrooms (Clean?)
  • Misc
    • Access and accessibility (How far are they from civilization?)

So, here is a list of the pros and cons of various coworking spaces in Goa. I tried to embed the table here but I could not. 🙁

But if you are lazy, easy reference is…

  1. Design Centre (Porvorim – map) for undoubtedly the Best Internet in Goa. They charge 400 bucks for a day pass and 6000 for a month-long plan.
  2. Clay (Anjuna – maps) for the best community and vibe. They charge 500 bucks for a day pass and 10000 for a month-long plan.
  3. NickyM’s (Baga-Calangute – maps) for the best hospitality. This is more of a cafe. So there’s no commitment per se. But you’d want to keep the tab going. No?
  4. Royal Enfield Garage Cafe (Baga – maps) for the best view. However, this is also more of a cafe than a co-working place.

There are more that I have tried and worked out of. Here’s a long list. I’d leave you with a few shots from Clay (which is gorgeous, if you ask me).

And one from Royal Enfield Garage Cafe.

This is from Royal Enfield Garage Cafe in Baga. One of my favourite places to work from.

Do let me know what coworking you go to. And what you find interesting there. I will add it to the list.

7. Making the move…

So, now you know the goods and the bads of Goa. You know your work can happen from here. You know of the co-working spaces. What next?

Move here!

Let’s say you are ready to make the move. Now, how do you do it?

So, in easy steps…

  1. Come here for a month. To start with. It would help if you have a local contact. I am happy to be the contact, in case.
  2. Carry two different mobile phone connections. It’s a pain to get a Jio mobile phone connection here. The others (Vodafone, Airtel, etc) work when they feel like.
  3. Live at a touristy hot-spot so that everything that you may need is easily available. You may not like it. People may smirk at you. But please do this.
  4. Inform your work colleagues that your access and availability would be limited.
  5. Take a month-long acco (insist that it has a ready Internet connection – it would be tough to get it installed for just a month), preferably close to a co-working space (in case you need better connection, ambience, etc)
  6. Talk to others that do your kind of work (code, films, writing, etc) and identify a location that offers you access to others of your ilk. This will be important to get you to start feeling at home.
  7. Get a house for yourself. Insist on basic furnishing (unless you are rich) and get paperwork FOR sure. You would need it for things like mobile phone connections, Internet, etc.
  8. Get immersed with the locals and natives where you take your house. Even if you are an introvert. This will help you become a local and not just remain a tourist. This is the most common mistake migrants make when they move to Goa. They don’t mingle with the local community. You HAVE to. Especially in Goa.

That’s it I guess.

8. Miscellaneous info about working from Goa

This part has things that I could not fit in other places. While these may be minor, some people may want to know more about them before they make the move to Goa.

8A. Staying fit while in Goa

A lot of people I know are as anal about their health as they are about work or money or other things. In Goa, there are plenty of options for that. From long walks to running on the beach to yoga classes to even fancy gyms (aka fitness studios) to massage parlours to swimming to dance, you have it all here.

The best bet would be walk / jog on the beach. But do keep a stick handy for them strays.

8B. Safety in Goa

Beaches are more or less safe at almost all hours. Actually, Goa in general is safe when it comes to petty crime. I have been routinely leaving my helmet perched on the scooty and it is yet to go missing!

No that does not mean you let your guard down. Just keep your eyes and ears open and you’d be ok.

The cops are friendly, the locals keep to themselves, and the shack owners may want to fleece you with overpriced food but they want the beaches to be safe. They’ve understood that it’s in their long-term interest to offer safety.

Of course, there would be a few unscrupulous elements but that’s everywhere in the world. My rule of thumb is, give respect and you shall get it!

8C. Finding work in Goa

Let’s say you move here. And for some unfortunate reason, you cant continue with your work. What do you do? If you are like me that don’t have any sellable skills (writing, designing, singing, photography-ing, hustling et al), how do you find meaningful work?

Well, they say that Goa is like a village. Everyone knows everything about everyone else. And I have seen that in action! Numerous times. So much so that I am cursing myself for not knowing how to make connections at these villages. I suck at networking 🙁 You will need to find your place in this village to get work!

The best way to get work in Goa is through closed networks.

Some Facebook groups are very active and people from the community share all sorts of opportunities. I recommend Offbeat Goa. Do check it out. I know someone that knows the lady that started it. I have met her just once, that too for like 0.2 seconds and thus I don’t have a personal opinion per se. But If gossip is to be believed, she’s an incredible woman. #note2self: need to make friends with her.

In terms of the kind of businesses, there are film companies (famously, Anand Gandhi’s Memesys Lab), event agencies (C4E Goa :D), design companies, social media agencies, production labels, alco-bev companies, and more. And of course, there are traditional businesses like mining, shipping, trading, etc. And FMCG, auto, finance, etc. Of course restaurants, bars, shacks, etc. So, there are jobs for sure! Quite a few.

But then there are more takers than that. You’d have to work hard to land one. Really.

Plus salaries are a fraction of what you’d expect in places like Mumbai. So that.

Oh, a word of caution. If you have decided to move here for good and you can’t find the kind of work that you really want, please be a tad flexible. I’ve met writers that have become bartenders, guitarists that have become travel bloggers, event managers that are now chefs, and so on and so forth. You get the drift.

PS: I am considering if things don’t work out, I will probably run a cafe here. I hope I get enough to support all the bachchas that I have 🙂

8D. Medical Care

This is something that I found lacking here. Even though Goa has a few medical institutions like GMC and Manipal, I found even the first-aid kinda lagging. But again, luckily I haven’t had the need to go visit a doctor.

But if you have any medical conditions or young children or old parents, I will not recommend the move.

8E. Going back from Goa

In case things don’t work out and you have to move out from Goa, I am sorry that it did not work out. Here’s what you must do. In bullet points…

  • Take back cheap alcohol. Of course, there is a limit to the number of bottles you can carry back 😀
  • PLEASE do tell me why you’re going back. It will help me update this page.

So this it is. For the Ultimate Guide to Living in and Remote Working from Goa. Hope this was helpful and told you things that you already did not know.

9. In the end…

Some disclaimers

  • This comprehensive guide is from my experience of working remotely from Goa for 2 months. I work as a brand planner and marketer and gross generalizations are my bread and butter and I could be biased. So, read with a pinch of salt.
  • Plus, the way I look at things could be different from the way you look at em. So that!
  • For context, I am 38 40, M. Single, and no kids. So please be advised.

Credits

  • I am lucky that I know a few people that know Goa really well. Special mention to Nupura and Rajesh Sir. Both these are super-connectors and have helped me meet more people. These connections helped me get around fast and understand nuances better. Further, Rajesh Sir and VISCOMM allowed me to live at their home while I looked for more permanent accommodation. And Nupura chaperoned me around in the first few days and showed me around the “village”
  • NickyM‘s for the free Internet and the warmest hospitality I have experienced in all my travels across the world.
  • Riyanka for helping me with a draft of this one. She is among the best writers I know of. Do reach out to her if you need someone.
  • And everyone else that made me feel at home in Goa. And everyone that did otherwise.

Oh, if you come to Goa, say hi! If you need something fixed for you while you are here, lemme know. I know someone that probably knows someone 😉

And if this guide helps you make a decision, do let me know. I am very active on Twitter. And do tell me how to make this better!

Over and out.

P.S.: One more thing. Do point out any mistakes – factual or otherwise in the piece so that I can make this better.

230121 – Morning Pages

In this one, I have a heart-to-heart chat with myself. About things that I’ve been thinking about subconsciously. Do read and lemme know what you think.

6:51.

Not in the best shape rn. I slept at around 2. Had some coke (real, not Diet) and a bucket full of McD fries at around midnight. Two large Americanos just before that. And don’t know what else crap during the day. In fact, I felt so unwell, so full yesterday since the morning that I had to sleep it off. And all this, when I have sort of, managed OMAD for three-four days. In fact, as I type this, I am hungry and I just want to eat all there is in the world.

Damn damn. Need to figure out this soon.

Ok. On to morning pages. Today’s a tad different. Most things I am writing today are from notes that I made last night when I was trying to sleep. I did not plan to make notes per see but them thoughts when I was fucked in the head had to be captured. They couldn’t remain fleeting. I know this is like cheating. The idea of morning pages is to write about what am thinking once I wake up. And use notes from the previous night. But these had to be captured. I think I will make an exception this one time.

Oh, before we do that, here’s the track am tripping on since last night…

This lo-fi music is really kickass!

In bullet points, I want to talk of following. While elaborate on each as I go along.

  1. Love nights!
  2. Love public places
  3. Loneliness
  4. Rethinking the idea of a home.
  5. Move things
  6. Morning Hour
  7. Work
  8. Love for the sky

Here we go…

a. Love for nights.

Last night, I was working from an McD. While coming back, I was on a scooty and the roads were empty, except for the ones looking for parties. And escape. And I realized that I love the idea of nights. The world has sort of retired to their bedrooms and you are out there. Out and about. Doing your thing. Could be ground-breaking work. Could be something inane. The roads are empty. The weather’s better. The only others to keep you company are young lovers, paddlers of “sin”, others of your ilk that want to do more with their lives. That’s all. All three are the ones that need to be celebrated more than anyone else. The ones that burn the midnight oil are the ones that do crazy things.

And yeah, the world needs more crazy. I need more crazy.

Sadly, because I chase longevity, I try to follow the sun with my routine. I wish I could do otherwise. I wish I could stay up till late (like I have always done since I was a child) and yet remain alert, healthy, active, and all that.

b. Love for public places.

I love public places. Like Mcd. Starbucks. NickyM’s. Co-working spaces. Lounges. Hotels. And more. Especially if they are comfortable. I just can’t do home. I will talk more about the home in a bit. I have to be out and about. With others around me. Others could be my people. Or strangers. But others. The lockdown made me realize that I could stay alone in a house if I had to, as long as I have the Internet :D. I can even live on a secluded island.

But given an option, I would like to be in a public place. Literally live in a public place. Even if I am an introvert. I thus need to ensure that whatever I do, I have access to some interesting public places that are welcoming. And are comfortable. #note2self

c. Loneliness.

The third L in the row. So yesterday was crazy. I had a bad day. I was sort of unwell. I was on the roads late at night by myself. And I felt lonely. I think I felt like this after quite a few days. Most times I can keep myself a great company. I am ok to be alone. I never understood the idea of solo travel but I have been able to live by myself.

When I talk of loneliness, I don’t mean friends or relatives or spouse or even this blog. I mean someone that I could be with that did not need explanations, someone that’s easy going. You know, someone that is non-judgemental. Someone that fans my fire. Yes yes, all these are typically rolled into one in your friends or spouse. I am super lucky to have great friends all my life. My romantic relationships have been rocky but I can not complain – it was me more often than not. The loneliness that I felt yesterday was of a different kind. You know, I wish I had another set of people (apart from friends, family, romantic partners, business partners etc). Not forever. But temporarily. You know, like you goto a staycation even when you have a home right next to you. How you goto a bar and get drunk. Bars are non-judgemental af. Must write more about them. How you goto those temporary relationships where you see physical comfort.

Fuck! Epiphany. This is EXACTLY(!) what my characters have been seeking at Caravan Serai!

FUCK FUCK FUCK! What a discovery! Caravan Serai (my next book) is about people that are seeking a temporary escape from their existing lives! And want a life that is different from the ones they’ve lived so far! The damn Caravan Serai is exactly that. A temporary resting place as you make your way from point a to point b. I need my own Caravan Serai. Most people find it in alcohol, casinos, drugs extra-marital affairs, and more. Need to find what is my poison. And then convince me that I ought to take it! This was nice! I have this mile-wide smile on my face. The first real one in more than a few days.

d. Rethinking the idea of a ‘home’.

I’ve been in Goa for a few days now. I am living out of a suitcase. The good part is that since I am not meeting any work-related people, I can wear whatever. So that helps.

What is home? A place where you can sleep naked on the floor? Where I can prop up my feet on a fancy table? A place where I can get away from societal norms? A place where you remember what button switches on what appliance? A place where you hang paintings that you like without having to seek permission? A place that you come back to after you’ve had enough at work or at a Caravan Serai? A place that allows me to get into a comfortable place in my head?

I’ve been rethinking the idea of home. Can I live out of a suitcase for good? I have not missed the things that I have in Delhi or Mumbai houses since I’ve come here. I have always attached so much emotion to the writing table, the books, the guitar, the notes that I have taken over the years. Heck, I don’t remember things that I have stored in Mumbai. When I go back, I will make so many serendipitous discoveries. That would be nice. Ok, I digressed. Back.

I know that for a lot of people these things mean a lot. These objects are very important. But for me, these don’t mean a thing. And if the last few weeks are anything to go by, like I said, I haven’t missed them a bit.

Can I thus become a minimalist nomad? Is it sustainable with my parents growing older and needing care (not to say they need it. They are very independent and I am grateful for that)? How would I fund this nomadism? What about my quirks? Whims? I don’t like to live with others (friends etc). I need my own space. Even if my best friend lived in a certain city, I like to stay in a hotel. I have to have my space. As a digital nomad, this is not possible – I will have to manage with whatever I get.

And what if, at some point in time, I do want to “settle down”? Do I then create a home?

So that.

e. Moving things.

This is important to me. I love the idea of creating movement. Since the pandemic, my ability to create this movement has stalled.

Wait. What do I mean by moving things? Creating movement?

I don’t have a definition but in a broad sense, by creating movement, I mean nudging people to take action on things that I feel are going to fulfill them. I like the idea of seeding new ideas. They may or may not fructify. I love trying new things. I love tinkering and putting new things out there in the world. I like the idea of millions of side projects, side hustles. Not to make money per see. But to see what is possible. You know, lift rocks to see what comes from underneath. Ask questions. Scratch the itch. Get curious. Ask questions. Move things. Get the drift?

Last night, it dawned onto me that since I’ve come to Goa, I’ve caused any movement anywhere. I’ve been working on all the existing things but no new movement has happened. I mean I did think about Shumbur.com but that’s not proving to be easy at all to execute.

This movement is what I need in life. I don’t know what is it about Goa that I am unable to move things. Need to investigate more.

f. The Morning Hour.

So I realized that I need a couple of hours to myself before I start the day. I often get late in waking up and then I am rushing to catch meetings. There was a time where I could dictate terms with how I would spend my time. Lately, I am unable to. And that’s causing my random anguish.

In fact, I think the inability of moving things is because I dont have this morning hour for myself anymore. I dont feel equipped to take on the world unless I have had this hour to myself. No, I dont mean that I need to meditate or write or whatever. I like the idea of control and plan and I want to just think about how I want to spend the day.

In fact, I have found that if I dont plan my time in the morning, I miss deadlines. A lot. So that has to become sacrosanct all over again.

Will action from today on. After this morning pages is done, will spend time planning things. And will not move on anything.

Oh, the other realisation, as I was editing this is that I need to find an office or something for me fast if I have to work better. I do my best work when I am following a predictable routine. And there’s no place like an office to do that.

g. Work.

Of course I’ve been thinking a lot about work lately. I cant seem to pin point where I want to head next. There are projects that I want to deliver (help TRS, PPP etc break even, finish book2, run a marathon etc), these dont run the economic engine that I need to sustain the life that I want to live.

I know everyone has had a terrible year but the terribility or non-terribility of their year does not pay my bills. So while it’s good to compare and seek solace in collective fuckery, I need to look out for myself. And the ones I am responsible for.

I need to get this sorted fast. Before shit hits the roof. If it hasnt already.

h. Love for the sky.

Lately, my Instagram feed has sort of got fucked. They are terrible pictures. They tell no story. They are not even ordinary. They are bad. However, I realized yesterday that I love skies. Open, wide, in all hues. In all colors. The last few posts have had the skies dotting the, well, skyline of the photos.

I never realized that I was the kind. But now I think, it’s evident. I think I even wrote in #tnks that Rujuta’s complaint with Mumbai was that she got no sky per se. I think that’s why I love high-rises – they sort of touch the sky. I love when am on a plane – public place, in the sky. What else do you want?

So that. No action point. Just wanted to report that I love the sky ;P

And yes, I will work harder to fix the insta feed!

***

So this is it. For today’s morning pages. I know this is different. But that’s ok. My morning pages. My blog. Ma lyf, mah rulez.

Phew. This was nice and intense. I need to move these to Roam during the day.

Onto #freewriting for #book2. It’s 8:10. I will stop at 8:30.

First time Rujuta saw a snake slither around on road, she was creeped beyond imagination. She had seen her stuff of wild, bloody, gory things but creepers were not her cup of tea. The cabbie looked at the obvious discomfort that Rujuta was in. He chuckled, “Madam, we call Goa a snake country.”

Rujuta looked at him with a questioning eye.

“Snakes are more commonplace here than what stray dogs are. In fact, during monsoons, you’d probably see more snakes on the roads than them tourists that anyway worse than the snakes”, the cabbie laughed at what he thought was a great joke.

“No way”, Rujuta muttered to herself.

“But don’t worry ma’am. They are mostly harmless. Even if they are poisonous, we don’t really get too many cases of people dying of snake bites. Dogs can be a problem though!” He clearly wanted to chat. Rujuta was his first ride of the day and he was expecting a fat tip if he went by experience. He had judged Rujuta from her clothes and could make out that she was a wife of a banker or something and is in Goa to chill with her buddies from her kitty. She was even going to the hotel that was most frequented by these fancy trophy wives, the Taj on top of the Aguada.

Rujuta had remained silent.

He pushed on but wanted to be cautious as well. The first ride of the day set the tone for how his day was going to go. “Are you here by yourself?”

Rujuta did not want to get into a conversation. She merely nodded. She was seated next to the driver. The cabbie had found this little awkward but he dismissed it as a quirk of a rich housewife. Rujuta and Prakash had many arguments over where to sit. Often she would do it only to rile up Prakash and even though he was now gone, she continued to favor the seat. She liked to see the road up ahead and getting into a reverie. This was her trance. Her meditation. her thinking tool.

She anyway had a lot on her mind. The trip to Goa was anyway an unplanned one. Tarana was insistent that she go travel. It’s been almost 5 years since Prakash was gone. Rujuta had immersed herself into the world of colors and paints and boxed herself in her 2 bedroom apartment. Thankfully she did not have any fancy expenses per se and thus she didn’t have to work.

Tarana had found some local boy and got him to book a ticket for Rujuta. The boy even got the name wrong on the ticket. Tarana did not know that it could be a problem when Rujuta would board the flight. But the ticket it was. To Goa. The place that Tarana thought everyone from Mumbai went for a holiday. The boy had told her that Lonavala and Alibaug and Matheran were too common.

Rujuta did not want to make a trip but this was a rare occasion when Tarana had actually booked a flight for her. She couldn’t say no. Rujuta booked herself in the hotel for a couple of nights. She had planned to decide on what to do next once she landed in Goa.

***

That’s it for the day. Hope you have a great one.

In this one, I have a heart-to-heart chat with myself about things that I’ve been thinking about at a subconscious level Do read, if you can.

PS: I’ve been writing this daily update, every morning for a few days now. I send the link to a few friends and family on Whatsapp every day. Should you want to receive the link to these updates, do let me know and I will add you to the list.

070121 – Morning Pages

I talk about life at a hotel, things I want to do in life and living in Goa.

Hello hello!

Quite a few things on my mind. I will talk about each of those and this post would thus become a list of haphazard thoughts without a connecting theme or idea per se. So, will divide into sections.

Wait. Is this what Morning Pages supposed to be? This is becoming a journal and a very public one at that (which is ok, I am not worried about having my thoughts out there in the open – I like the idea of Living in Public). I need to nudge towards deep reflections, ideas, lessons et al. Not rants. Maybe in a few days I would reach there.

Anyhow. Post for the day.

So yesterday was probably the worst day of 2021 – physically, mentally, emotionally, and in every other lly that you may imagine. I had way too many carbs (I had Biryani, Rissotto, Pizza, Cookies and I don’t know what else). I had like 5 cans of Diet Coke. So much so that the gums are swollen. I spent more money yesterday than I have spent in a day in months. On a hunch, I stood on a weighing machine in a hotel room. I am disappointed that I am still 85+ KGs despite eating clean(er) for more than a month and hoping in my head that I am eating clean. Someone I trust more than my life fucked me over. For a simple thing. And they were unapologetic about it. I am running behind schedule on each project that I have undertaken. I know I lag at times, the curse of doing so many things but this time I am really behind projects. To a point that I need a month to cover the backlog! Of course, I have a lot to blame. Starting with myself. Internet second. I mean I did not even write yesterday’s morning pages as the first thing. I wrote it around 11. Then throughout the day, I had this headache that literally killed me. I wanted to kill myself. I know why patients that have terminal pain want to move on. I had to alternate between catnaps, food, and coffee to even breathe. I am ok right now. I don’t know what caused it to be honest. Plus I had a million calls on top of that that I could not avoid. And I dont really crib about health when am on work calls – so I had to fake and I tried hard. I am sure they would have seen that I was slacking. Arrrghh.

Ok. Enough.

Let’s talk of good things now. So Nikhil is here for a recce. And he invited me to stay with him and talk shop. As I write this, I am sitting at a comfortable cafe on the beachside to the following view…

So this bit is nice. I like the idea of comfortable seating while I work. And with some sort of open expanse around me. Like this one.

No, I am not helping him with his work even though I am itching to. The event is his baby and my unsolicited opinions may not be welcome. I miss the time when I would do such large events and talk to multiple people and control the show. I miss Dipanker by my side in the hotel room and on the console. I miss yelling at Paras to get his ass moving. Sigh. Kya din they. I think I may become whatever – marketer, podcaster, writer, investor, publisher – my heart would always be in an event. Or as Shikha as increasingly made me realize, on a film set. I like the organized chaos, the uncertainty, the rush. May be I need to deliver my dent in the world via other people while I am shouting orders around an event? Fuck! Writing this is making me happy and nice in the head. How would it be to actually do something like that again!

Lets see when that happens.

Come on, Universe!

In fact, I think I miss the feeling of being in hotels. Even though hotels are the most impersonal, fake, and obnoxious places in the world, I like the idea of hotels. To a point that I want to live in forever. I anyway have sort of made my mind about letting go of everything I own (including the guitar and the books – two of the most prized possessions that I have. I am still undecided about all the notes that I have made. May be I can digitize those?). I can totally live out of a suitcase for the rest of my life.

So yeah, hotels.

As I type this, the screen of my MacBook Air literally fell off on me. The machine is now almost 5 years now and I need to get a new one. The thing with Goa is that the one I want to buy (M1 Air) is not available here. Plus even if it were to buy, I want to buy it only from a Croma (I have some points that I want to use, you see). I have to get a new one. Before this one conks off on me and I am left without an option! Maybe I’ll make a trip to Mumbai? Spend 10-12K on travel to save 50K odd that I would if I bought from Croma? It’s funny the kind of decisions I am left to make 😀

Talking of decisions, I have now been in Goa for more than a month now. I need to start thinking about work and come to a decision. I have two thought starters. Here are they…

A. I need to have the capital to survive (and invest in all the ideas that I am putting money behind) till this patch is around. Can I make that from Goa? As of today, looks tough. Can I make it from Goa in the long run? Definitely yes. How do I navigate this short-term to long-term? I don’t know yet.

B. I need to make an impact at a large scale. Wherever I am in life, I don’t see that happening. I don’t know what to do about it. I know I can say that I am taking a break (induced by COVID) but then age does not take a break.

So yeah. This is more of a dialogue with self as of now. At some point, it will crystalize into something concrete. Let’s see when.

The last thing for the day.

The day before I decided that on each morning page, I would write a para from #book2. These paras may or may not make it to the final edit but I would write. But I would at least get in the habit of writing (and thus thinking – I think by writing). I haven’t been able to do so. Maybe will start from today (not right now, later in the day, can edit the post or make another one once I have delivered things that I need to work on). There’s just too much hangover of shit that happened yesterday. Hope today is better. For me. For you. For the rest of the world.

See you guys tom!

030121 – Morning Pages

I talk to myself about how I spent yesterday, about life in Goa, about the idea of home. Nothing special but an inane update.

Its 8 AM and this is not the first thing I am doing. First thing was to post a picture on Instagram. This one. I did it from the bed. I broke all rules today if you want to know. I checked Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp while my eyes were still groggy.

So clearly, I am not having a good second third day of the year! The second day actually went in a blur. Started with calls, emails and by the time I saw the clock, it was 4. And then went for a walk, where I was literally attacked by a pack of dogs for no rhyme or reason. If not for other people around that helped me fend off the strays, I probably would be getting some rabies shots or something. Not to mention all the disruption it would have caused in my plans for the year! In fact, yesterday only AG told me to get a pet – he said when you have nothing going for yourself, you can lean on one. He gave examples of many lonely people who have no object of affection to look after and have cats and dogs that sort of meaning to their lives. I did not know that I give off vibes that I need someone to take care of like that. May be it’s the age? And even if it is, I would rather adopt a child than care for a pet. Fucking strays.

Anyhow moving on. So I did go for a longish walk yesterday. About 10K steps. Earlier, I would listen to podcasts while I was walking. Yesterday, I tried to listen in and for some reason, I could not concentrate even for a bit, even though I had put up a JRE episode. Wonder what’s wrong. Oh, I have to mention that I wore a Decathlon phone pouch while walking and it worked wonders. The phone did not flop around the pocket while I was bouncing around. I love such companies that make thoughtful products that are both functional and are appealing. I mean look at Apple. Nike. Decathlon. Of course, Decathlon is different from the other two – affordable, mass-market, etc. But I love em. In fact, the first thing I did when I came to Goa was to buy chappals and a tiny backpack that could carry the phone, a notepad, and the credit cards. I really really recommend em! Go check em out. Lol, now we are giving recommendations on morning pages!

The good part yesterday however was that I did not eat crap, even though I was tempted to. I had eggs, panner, and some soup. All thanks to Nicky M’s. And some peanuts. Avoided carbs to a large extend. Yay. Now to continue this for another 6 months and continue to walk and may be do some pushups. Lol!

Apart from these two things, I am fairly blank in how to write or what to write. I miss the fact that I do not have a place to go sit and work out of at this hour. In Mumbai, the earliest Starbucks would be open at 7 and I could actually get a lot of work done. Yes, it was expensive but atleast I was getting things done. Here, it’s a struggle to find a business that opens early enough to allow for some meaningful work to happen early in the morning. Even co-working spaces here operate on restaurant hours. No, I can’t complain – that’s how people are. Am a weirdo. I am thus forced to start my day at 1030 and by the time I get in the grind, the whole world is up and is screaming for attention. The other option is to go the night-owl route. Wake up late, start late, end late, sleep late. But then, most people like to enjoy their evenings and that means all the places that I could potentially use to sit out of and work would be packed with people partying? May be I just need to learn how to work from home? Something that I have been trying to learn for some 20 years and yet failing at. I can manage to work from home but I don’t get into the flow easily. At a public place, am like a ninja and I put my keyboard on fire! I mean I wrote most of #tnks from a Starbucks (Powai). Whatever blogging I’ve managed, all of it has happened on the run or from some coworking space. The best decks that I have churned have happened at offices. In fact, I can blame the lockdown for a hit in my productivity – simply because I did not have a place to go to!

Oh, it’s almost been a month now (I came here on the 6th. Or was it the 7th?) and I need to now decide if I want to be here. Or if I want to go back to Mumbai. Right now, I am on the fence. I like the newness of the place. I am enjoying meeting all the new people and experiencing all the new things. I like that most people are easy going. I like that there is a thriving social scene here (which I don’t enjoy, to be honest, and which is probably better and more vibrant in Mumbai, but I have stayed away from). I like love that I have no pressure of dressing up here and a pair of tattered shorts is as accepted as an Armani suit is (unlike in Mumbai where you are continuously judged). I love love that no one here judged for who you are or what you’ve done. I like how people accept you in their lives, their homes, and their hearts.

Of course, I sometimes do crave for the comfort of familiarity and availability of things to do back in Mumbai, but I think things that really make a place feel like home (people, warmth et al), I no longer have those in Mumbai. I never had those in Delhi (well, parents live there but that’s that and I got over my affinity for the place too early on in life). I miss the hustlers of Aram Nagar and aspiring actors of Lokhandwala and the never-stop, never-say-die attitude of almost everyone around me. I miss meeting friends of friends that are doing great things and getting inspired by them.

Could I be at both places at the same time? Do I even want to be thinking of doing this and keeping my two feet in different boats? Did I not want to be a nomad? Just a few days ago I was talking about living out of a suitcase, giving up all my possessions and thus, a home altogether.

Wait. What the fuck is home?

There are no easy answers. Especially for someone who’s at my place in life – no clear vocation (I do multiple things but it’s impossible for me to explain to others in an elevator pitch), no financial stability (in debt, no predictable cash flow), lofty ambitions (and yet little to show for and un), arrogance (for what joy I don’t know), large lifegoals (Everest, Billion lives, Billion dollars) and other such quirks that make me who I am. Let’s see when I find an answer.

Or when I decide.

For the time being, let’s settle at this – I like it here in Goa. And I miss being in Mumbai.

Until next time, over and out!


PS: If you want to receive these on WA every day, lemme know. I’ll add you to the broadcast list.

231220 – Morning Pages

In this edition of morning pages, I talk to myself about how it would be to live out of a suitcase. So far, it doesn’t look doable 😀

Morning. When I decided to write these, these were supposed to be the very first thing I’d do in the morning.

Mornings have been precious to me. I like the idea of getting things done first thing in the morning. In fact, my best work (ideas, thoughts, writing, etc) happens in the morning. That is why I have not been able to work out in the morning. cc Harshit. I want to have that feeling of having done something productive in the morning. Even if it’s writing all my ideas, thoughts, rants on a piece of paper. Or on these morning pages. Writing, rather, pounding on the keyboard has been my thing. I feel as if I have done something. I know these are not really productive things. I am probably being busy for sake of being busy, rather than doing any actual work!

Today however I broke the rule.

The first thing I did today was to clip my nails.

And I can tell you that I miss my nail cutter and filer more than I miss a hug from the people that I love the most. Really. The idea that I’ve been toying with about giving up my house and everything that I own? If I do implement it #in2021, I would not leave my nail cutter and the filer behind. Filer I can manage without but nail cutter I cant. It is as personal and close an object as your toothbrush is. Or that old chappal that has now taken the shape of your feet! Or you know, how you know where the switch to turn on the light in your bedroom is? You can reach out to it blindly!

That!

Nail cutter is that personal, intimate, close, required.

Coming back to the idea of packing my life in two bags, I am seriously considering it. Just that the travel bag may be too small for all the myriad things that I want to save – you know, the postcard that M & m made on my birthday, the photos of sgMS as a child, the post-it that Spa left behind on the green-board, the guitar that Vivek gave me, the Uke that Krishna made me buy, the paintings that Sonali has asked me to keep safe, the postcards that I have collected from all the travels that I have been lucky to have been on, the numerous books that are close to my heart. Fuck the list is long. For someone that wants to be a minimalist, I have a lot of things that I want to keep safe.

I need to reduce these so that I can fit them in a travel bag.

Wait. That may be too small. Maybe save all things that I can move in the boot of a car. And then take it around everywhere and live in hostels etc.

This actually sounds doable (getting a car). I can park it in long-term parking when I am on the road. I can dump the stuff at a hostel or something when the car needs repair.

Or I can rent one room somewhere and dump all my belongings there? I can totally see why storage units in the US are such lucrative businesses!

But the thing is, I need my space and I need my comfort and I need places to go during the day (I get bored with being at one place). With cheap co-working spaces offering me shelter and cheaper hostels offering me a bed, I think it is doable. May be this trip is an experiment in the direction? Right now, I spend my day in parts at a co-working space and in parts at a couple of restaurants where I have become friendly with the staff. Since there are not too many patrons anyway, they don’t care how long I spend there. I suspect once they get busy, they would not be as kind. Plus I have a fairly lavish space to myself, thanks to Rajesh Sir. If I did not have this and had to go back to a bunk bed at the end of the night, I may not be as happy in the head.

Plus when I spend time at restaurants, I need to spend money, which is ok. The sad bit is that most of these do not offer healthy eating options.

So, it has to be co-working spaces, hostels and a car. If at all. I don’t think I have what it takes to do this. I love people and ecosystems and comfort way too much to take this step.

Plus the pandemic has taught us that it hits the homeless the hardest. I would be an affluent homeless, if I choose to let go of my home.

Another option could be to create a hostel, a hotel, or something where I have a room that is mine and the other part is a commercial establishment. You know, how those moguls lived on top-floors of their hotels? But then, that’s like owning a home and not really living like a nomad with minimal possessions!

The final option from where I see things is that make so much money, so much wealth that you create a lavish space that is so well-appointed that you don’t really care about what it has and what it doesn’t. This allows you freedom from the mental burden of carrying things.

Wah, what a rant.

Actually, not a rant. Serious thought. This is how I talk to myself before I take large decisions. Self-talk. Structured mindmaps. And then letting things simmer in my head as I go about my day. And with this idea of being on the road all the time, I think it is doable. Of course, need to think of the money. I am getting by, well, almost. But what I am doing on a day to day basis is not moving me towards financial independence. And that is a rant for another day.

But I am seriously considering becoming that urban nomad. Let’s see if I can. Oh, and if I do that, I would carry my nail cutter for sure. Really.

Over and out!

PS: If you want to receive these on WA every day, lemme know. I’ll add you to the broadcast list.