Quick note on what I am upto today. And tomorrow. And the rest of the weekend.
6:23 AM. Woke up better than I woke up last night. I think it’s because I finally slept on a thin mattress on the floor, with an AC that works (but makes a hell of a noise). Some development for sure. Next up is to get the AC fixed so that the sleep is sorted. So a tiny win.
So, yesterday was exhausting af. I don’t think I have worked as much in the recent past. I mean I have. But it was another monster yesterday. Way too many calls (which is ok). Way too much thinking (thinking’s leaving me exhausted to a point that I never thought was possible). Way too many notes (which is a good thing). By the end of the day, I was way too tired to even talk about anything. I had the LFW meeting and I couldn’t focus or contribute to the only other member that made it there. It sucked 🙁
Also, the thing is, LFW was a cohort Hemant and I started to help each other write better. But the group is sort of dead. This is yet another attempt at the community that I failed to build. I need to learn how to do this. #note2self
Here’s what we wanted to do at LFW.
This weekend is a long one. However, I am taking it easy. Going for a drive. I love how the universe conspires. I wrote a piece about the drive yesterday and how I love it. And I am going again today. What else do you want in life?
I’ll tell you what.
Despite this being literally a one-day weekend for me (both Friday and Saturday would get exhausted with the drive), I have a few things that I need to work on. Lemme make a list. In no order.
Review the month gone by. I haven’t done this in a while and it’s about time I get back to it. This was one of the most helpful things that I ever did but somehow stopped doing. Need to get back to it.
Send an update to my mentors. I send this once every 2 months or so. Lemme know if you want to get a copy. The last few updates are here. I think I will open it to people and publish it on this blog as well. You know, living in public.
Action SoG Grant. I have been sitting on my ass for a while now!
Work on SoG Book. This has been pending for I don’t know how long. In the month of April, I will ship this for sure.
Action WorkInGoa.com. Nihar from Clay gave me the idea and I’ve just sat on my ass for it. Need to act on it. I HAVE to have a foot in Goa!
Finish work on all the open projects tasks for the week gone by.
Mails from C4E domain are getting marked as spam on Gmail. Need to fix it. I can’t have my business email goto spam like that. I don’t know how to fix it. Maybe I need a new email server for mass mailing? Any techies around?
Wow, that’s a long list. And no, this does not include work on all the tasks that I am supposed to anyway do, you know, the ones I have saved in Asana!
So that’s the plan for the day. Time to move on getting some things ticked off the list. I do have a lot to talk about but I think I will skip that. Here’s the streaks.
Morning Pages / Meditations – 112
#aPicADay – 92
10K steps a day – 0
OMAD – 0
#noCoffee – 23
#noCoke – 23
10 mins of meditation – 0
#book2 – 0
No, no book2. Even though I promised. Daal Roti is taking precedence over the Cherries. Sigh!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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…
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 44G 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!
? 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.
? 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.
Rent for a “decent” 2BHK House
A “regular” meal
Petrol per liter (as on 5 Feb 2021)
Utilities (electricity, help, water etc)
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”
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.
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.
? 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…
This will only include the places that I have personally been to.
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.
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…
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).
What kind of people does the place attract? Hippies? Creative kinds? People whiling time and merely wanting to hang out? Etc.
Money is money.
FnB (Can I order food? Coffee? How good it?)
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…
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.
Clay (Anjuna – maps) for the best community and vibe. They charge 500 bucks for a day pass and 10000 for a month-long plan.
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?
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.
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?
Let’s say you are ready to make the move. Now, how do you do it?
So, in easy steps…
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.
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.
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.
Inform your work colleagues that your access and availability would be limited.
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)
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
I have had a fitful sleep. And I had a really bad day yesterday. And I am mindfucked like I’ve never been before.
I had an important meeting and like all important meetings I ensured that I was on time and I was ready and all and just when I had the meeting, the Internet stopped. I mean I know that Goa doesn’t offer the most reliable internet but it sucked af that it went away a minute before the meeting was to start!
Today I have another important meeting. If there is any interruption on the internet today, I promise I will fucking go back to Mumbai. Or Delhi. I have to include this in my ultimate guide of working from Goa that if your work requires synchronous video calls, you either live in Panjim (the city) or you do not consider Goa as a place to be. I am not even sure what would happen in monsoons.
The other thing that I am thinking a lot about and I don’t know how to stop thinking about is the ongoing farmer’s protest. I thought I knew all about the issue and how the new laws will fuck the lives of farmers even more. How the laws are against the long-term interest of farmers. How large companies will dictate terms and squeeze farmers even more. But then more narratives, probably sponsored by the very large companies (that stand to benefit) started coming out. And those are compelling, paint a contrasting picture and so lucid in their arguments that I am actually thinking that the laws may actually benefit the farmers. And the nation. Fuck, now I don’t even know what to believe anymore.
Which to be honest is ok. I anyway don’t know a lot about a lot of issues that I should be knowing about. I don’t vote. I don’t know a thing about anti-muslim propaganda. I don’t know about issues of the LGBTQi community. I have been on the fence about the battle between natives and migrants in almost all states. I don’t know the reason why people are super attached to the idea of their God being better than others. Or why your community, city, state, religion, the country is better than others, and how everyone else needs to convert to your religion. I remained out of action on the CAA and NRC even though it was as archaic, unfair as anything else ever has been.
But I don’t like the idea of divide and rule. And brainwashing simple people (like me — I don’t understand complex arguments, neither am I bright to know the long-term repercussions of the new rules and laws that we are creating). The worse is the use of force. Fucking barbaric. Something that we could have done when life was all about survival in caves. The world is almost ready to establish a colony on Mars and here we are. Gloating over the victory of mandir wahin banaenge. I mean Bhagwan Shree Ram was for real, would he want to bless a temple that took years of battles and I don’t know how many dead bodies to make?
God is a mythical thing. I understand that some people may want to take solace that there’s a higher power, omnipresent that looks after you. Heck, in my weakest moments I have also thought about God. I have asked for kindness. I can remember two distinct times when I had to rely on God. Once to save a friend from a disease. Once for an event that I made a mess of. Both times things worked out. I don’t know if it was God or what. But I can totally see how people can get attached to these and start believing in God. I mean even I walked some 20 km to Siddhi Vinayak once. May be there is God after all. May be we do have meta-spiritual mystical powers that help all those tarot card readers and astrologers make a living. Good for them.
But force? Coercion? I mean, a comedian is in jail in MP for saying something derogatory against the Hindu Gods. An educated family killed their daughters over something that a priest told them. The Dalits are oppressed to date. Wait. WTF is even a Dalit? Or a Hindu? Each person is human irrespective of caste, gender, sexual preference. Arent we are freak accidents? Did we not get dealt a had that we could not choose in the ovarian lottery? Who decides that someone is a Dalit or a Suvarna or Upper Caste? That baba with a long flowing beard that plays frisbee and drives Mercs and teaches you the art of “living” is talking about how the government needs to cede control over places of worship to the devotees. Isn’t that inciting people?
Fuck I am so so ignorant. Vegetating. Happy in the bubble around me in my head that, “Wow, Mr. Garg, you are in Goa. You are the coolest. You are away from the mess. And you have all the sunshine and stray dogs and fucking unreliable Internet for company.”
Back to the incidents of yesterday.
I remember I called my parents (they live in Delhi) and I remarked in passing that there’s a rally and I hope that it’s peaceful and all. My father commented on how it would be – he grew up with farmers! And then I forgot about it (yeah, forgot about it – I am that indifferent, that casual). And then while I was in a meeting, I took a break to pee and checked Twitter. And saw images from the Red Fort. About how the protest had turned violent and people (both on the side of the farmers and cops) were hurt. Some farmers died, some cops got injured, and how the separatists have infiltrated the movement.
Since then, I have been reading non-stop. My eyes hurt. My head hurts. There’s no internet and yet I am non-stop tapping on refresh on my phone even in my sleep. About how Nishan Sahib is different from the Khalistani Flag. And how the Tiranga was disrespected. And how religious symbolism (a saffron flag atop Babri Masjid) is never good. And yet these symbols move nations.
It took my country to burn to make me take note of how ignorant I am.
The thing that makes it worse is that people I respect, the ones that I believe are progressive and think of India first and humanity first and are apparently good in their hearts and heads are making some of the most flawed arguments. No, I don’t want to name them. And yes, the arguments I think are flawed may be the most sensible ones and yet the commonsensical brain in me is unable to digest those.
Someone rightly said once. Heroes fall. I need to get over this hero-worship mode that I am perpetually in.
Oh, any in Goa, at least the places am hanging out at? They don’t even know what’s happening in Delhi. They are happier that unlike the rest of the country, there’s no dry day in Goa on Republic Day.
Fuck it’s sickening. I can totally related to Chris and other such people. There’s merit in being a hippy. And there’s merit in being a Satoshi. Or even a Che for that matter. Take shit in your hands and dictate terms on how you would live, even if the understanding is limited or flawed af.
No, I am not saying Chris, Che, Satoshi, Mohandas, or any of those legends were flawed. They could have been. But they took a call and did things that they felt or thought or considered right. Unlike me. I can’t even seem to make a living, leave alone thinking independently. I am a random fuck stuck in a rut.
The other day I was happyecstatic that I seem to have found yet another way to discharge my calling as a person. And today, I am
I am reminded of three lines as I end this. I may get the articulation wrong but they went something like…
One. “jinhe naaz hai, hind par wo kahan hai?”
Rabbi did a brilliant take on this. Here. We need more Rabbi’s. More Dylans. And not Badhshahs or Gurus. Fuck, not even Lucky Ali. I don’t believe that I am saying this. I’ve been a fan since I was a child. We don’t need stories and hymns of unrequited love no more. We rather need poets and writers and singers and other popular people to take a stand and educate the masses on these issues. Someone needs to put some sense. Atleast in me. And others. Fuck it sucks that I don’t have an iota of a clue about what’s happening around us.
Two. “Ek zabardast toofan aaye aur uda de chuppi ki duniya“
I first saw this on a tee at People Tree. I think this is by Faiz. I am unable to find a source though. But to me, it means that you need some earth-shattering thing to happen and nudge you into action. I have thought about this often. I have seen some great things, good times, bad times, even times when I thought life was meaningless. But these lines always drag me back. I am waiting for almost 40 years now. Half my life is over. And yet there’s been no toofan. And there’s been no impact, no dent, no headway that I’ve made. It sucks to be like this.
Three. Pale Blue Dot.
By Carl Sagan. The long-text is here. See the video below. The pertinent lines that I go back to often are…
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
– Carl Sagan
So that’s that.
I think I am done for the day.
I am still confused, stifled, angry, sad, and all that. There’s so much happening that I don’t even know how to process. All I can do is rant and speak out loud in the wilderness of the Internet.
And no, there’s book2 today.
How can I? My country is burning and fucking am thinking about writing books. To what end? To give that escape to whoever reads what I write? Do we need the escape? Or do we need to act? And fix shit?
Well, who am I to talk about these things? I don’t know a thing about the real world or real life. I don’t even vote.
Of course, I hope tomorrow is better.
And if it’s not, I hope I can move onto the next thing that distracts me. That’s how I think life will pass by – moving from one distraction to another. Without taking a stand on one.