Workation in Goa
I spent a week in Goa. Here's what I have to say about it.
Working from anywhere is a game-changing work policy. However, I have been working from home for a while now, which got quite boring. The last time I went on a trip was in March 2021. Because my job is entirely remote, I can work from anywhere, but I'm just not leveraging this. It's because there's one problem with WFH, that is you get lazy. Once you live a comfortable life in the comfort of your home, you don't want to get out. But thanks to Vested, I got a chance to get out of my home and come to Mumbai for a company offsite.
Four people. Seven days (28 March - 3 April).
We had a three days company offsite in Alibaug. Which turned out to be fun, meeting the people I've been working with for almost two years for the first time. After having two crazy party nights in Alibaug, we went back to Mumbai, from where we had a train to Goa. There's a Janshatabdi Express from Mumbai to Goa which has a vistadome coach from which one can enjoy scenic views throughout the journey. It takes around seven hours from Mumbai to Goa via train.
Living in Hostels
Living in a hostel is one of the best ways to meet new people, save money, experience different cultures, and have unique experiences. We stayed at The Beachside Hostel, which we booked through HostelWorld. The hostel was in Anjuna, steps close to South Anjuna Beach. I could even hear the waves in my room. The hostel was excellent; I would recommend you stay there if you're going to North Goa for a vacation or workation and if you want to stay in a hostel. We stayed in an 8-bedded dorm room. Initially, I was sceptical about the safety of my electronic gadgets, but it turned out to be just fine. I met a few awesome people in the hostel, which I'll talk about in the following sections.
I have never been to beaches before. So far, I have been to hills a couple of times, making me a hills person till now. It's my first time coming to a coastal place and guess what! I liked the beaches, except I got tanned pretty bad; I probably should've applied sunscreen more frequently. We went to a couple of beaches in North Goa to chill, and luckily we didn't find much crowd at any of the beaches. My guess is you should go to beaches after the sunset, and you won't find much crowds. Another option is to go to an offbeat beach that is not easily reachable.
I am a big-time foodie, and I love to explore new places for different cuisines and drinks. I tried some things for the first time, e.g. Squid, Goan style roasted pork, Red snapper, Raw salmon etc. and liked all of them. We also went to a fancy Asian restaurant, "Yazu", where we ordered some Sushi platters. This was my first time using chopsticks, and trust me, I have never made this much effort in my life to eat Sushi with those fucking chopsticks. Even after that, Sushi just fell apart in the end.
Now it's time for some restaurant recommendations:
Yazu - It's an Asian restaurant, part of Marquis Beach Resort at Candolim beach. It's a bit expensive (as all Asian cuisine restaurants are), and you'll need to make a reservation in advance. You'll love the food if you're into Japanese, Chinese or Thai food.
The Purple Martini - Situated at Sunset Point near the Anjuna Beach. It offers Continental, Goan, and North Indian food, but it's most famous for the drinks and cocktails it offers. The view is pretty good from here, so if you want to enjoy the view with some drinks, it's the place.
Garden of Dreams - Situated in Arambol, Garden of Dreams is a pure vegetarian cafe. It offers a good variety of Italian, French and Portuguese sandwiches, which are pretty good. As it is designed as a place to chill in a dense garden, it could also be a perfect place for a date.
Work and Fun
Working while you can hear the tides, feel the breeze and view the entire ocean in front of you is probably one of the best work environments. I can't explain in words how calming it actually is. There were instances when I was in meetings, and people could even hear the tides. Even the hostel I stayed in had a lovely coworking space. There are a few cafes and restaurants where you can also work, just that you'll need good earphones, preferably with ANC. This is where I'd like to give special mention to Airpods Pro for pleasant meeting experiences even in noisy places. Apart from work, Goa was fun. I couldn't get enough of Goa in seven days. There were so many places to explore. One of the best parts of Goa was riding the bike. The bike riding experience in Goa is probably one of the best in the country due to the excellent roads, pleasant weather and scenic landscape.
Meeting New People
Meeting new people was my favourite part of this trip. I got to meet some awesome folks with diverse backgrounds, but for the sake of not making this post really long, I'll just mention a few. I have been an introvert (like most developers) my whole life, so initiating a conversation with strangers is something I have been struggling with since the beginning. But after this trip to Goa, I can literally start a conversation with (almost) anyone.
I met Deepika, who runs a dream-chaser craft business in Bangalore. We began discussing various crafts and ended up talking about insurance, artificial intelligence, adventure sports and whatnot. She also introduced me to Kombucha, which is a fermented tea. I have tried it a couple of times, and I found it pretty good. You see, you only learn about new things when talking to new people.
I also met Mansi, a remarkable girl, on her solo trip to Goa. Again, we had a meaningful conversation ranging from EdTech startups exploiting people, food, movies and whatnot. After we met in Goa, we ended up becoming good friends. We met again on my recent trip to Mumbai this month.
Failed Scuba Diving Attempt
I have always been afraid of water, but I decided to give Scuba Diving a shot this time because they said swimming is not a requirement. Goa is probably one of the worst places in the world to do Scuba diving. There's no proper training. As soon as you go down into the water from the boat, divers (so-called instructors) will tie oxygen tank equipment to your body. In legit 1 min, they'll ask you to go underwater without properly training you to control your breathing and heartbeats underwater. In my case, it took me at least 5 minutes and 2 instructors to calm my breathing and teach me how to breathe with a regulator underwater. Still, as soon as I went underwater, I felt I couldn't breathe. I signed the instructor to pull me out. And I didn't do it. I'll probably learn swimming first before doing scuba diving again. Though I am never going to Goa (or any place in India) for Scuba ever again. I'd rather to go Maldives or Dubai, which are far better in safety, hygiene and proper training.
All four of us work at Vested as engineers. This was the first time we were actually meeting each other in person.
Fun fact: I couldn't recognise Prithwee and Ankit until they told me their names.
The Beachside Hostel - For amazing vibes in the hostel, coworking space, bar and cafe. They also host live music nights every few days, and we really enjoyed it. Not to mention, the breakfast was just excellent.
Minerva - For serving us (lots of) delicious cocktails at the Beachside Hostel.