Varsha, 36, presents the sales strategy to the management on Google Meet while her dog, Whisky, sleeps on the grass nearby. Her presentation goes well, and she is excited about the new role. In January this year, the IT professional during the week and hobbyist photographer during the weekend traded off her high rise apartment in Bangalore to one of the luxury beach cottages in Goa. Out of all the things that bothered her the least was the flight charges from Bangalore to Goa. Staycation in Goa for a month amid a raging pandemic was a big decision, and initially, she was a bit apprehensive about how it will work, but eight months later, she couldn’t have been happier. While she hasn’t shifted permanently to Goa from Bangalore, the move is on her mind. The several luxurious and cheap staycations in Goa have helped her make the decision. When I asked her what prompted her to shift to Goa, she said,
The Work From Home came as a blessing in disguise. I could work from anywhere. All I wanted was a peaceful, stress-free environment, fresh air and stable Wi-Fi. An outdoor space to take my dog for walks. Goa has it all.
Varsha is not alone. After the Covid-19 Pandemic hit, the four-walled city life of metros became suffocating for many Indians, especially the ones in the corporate and creative fields. Overnight, the life of going out, parties, dinners, meetups, travel and even work became inaccessible. As the COVID numbers started going down and states started opening up, more and more people began escaping to either the hills or the beach for workcations. Susegad, the Goan concept of sense of contentment, fulfilment and relaxation became even more appealing.
Pandemic fuelled the workation trend
Bhawna, 27, a media professional from Delhi, finally decided to take the plunge and move to Goa in January 2021 to open a Café with her partner. She loved the chill vibe of the place, and more importantly, she didn’t have to deal with Delhi’s pollution anymore. She chose South Goa to fulfil her dream of becoming an entrepreneur. She says her dream of opening a café had not taken wings if the pandemic didn’t happen. In a way, it helped her to make the big move. She was more than happy to leave her cramped 2BHK rented house behind for a spacious beach cottage in Goa with a private pool and garden.
Finding work and life balance in Goa
Domnick Mendes, who owns Paloma De Goa Resort in Colva, Goa, had seen an uptick in the long-term staycation trend. He says most of his guests are from the IT industry in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. They usually book a room for a month, and their number one ask is always an excellent stable Wi-Fi. They are not very fussy about the rest of the stuff. They love to work from goa for a month or less as they really enjoy the relaxed, tension-free life of the party-state of India. During the day, they’d be glued to their screens but come evening; they’d head out for long walks on the beach or chill out in beach shacks. They can take time to pursue their passions like photography, writing, reading, painting, dancing, and music.
Goa has it all
Sam Varghese, who now runs Aspirerz Event Management company in Panaji Goa, moved to the sunshine state from Madhya Pradesh in July 2021 after visiting Goa every few months since 2008. He says,
“As a guy with a nomadic heart, roots belonging to the South but raised in Central India and having the desire to scale mountains up North, I found Goa to be a charming place. A place that has it all – to chill, to thrill, to explore, to venture into adventure, waterfalls, old relics, wildlife sanctuaries, spice plantations, local beverages and Konkani styled dishes.”
Varsha, Bhawna and Sam are not the only ones whose heart was stolen by Goa. There is a reason why Goa is a favourite of Indians. The people of Goa are non-judgemental, chilled out and laid back. Nobody will bother you unless you encroach on their private space and indulge in some socially irresponsible act. As someone once said,
Goa is not only the land of beaches or city of churches, it’s a feeling that defines thrill in the most amazing way.
Cons of moving to Goa
But not all is great in Goa. For big-city folks, there are some trade-offs too. Chetna Chowdhary, who moved to Goa a few years back, lists the things she misses in Goa:
“I really miss the good public transportation, well-equipped hospitals, glitzy shopping malls, and easy connectivity of Delhi. Unlike Delhi, I can’t order food any time I feel like eating. Moreover, the locals are very strict about the restaurant timings, and you get the set food menu only at a set time. For example, I can’t have a samosa or momos at lunchtime. It’s easy to find local food like Goan seafood but difficult to find international cuisine in the neighbourhood.”
Being close to nature also brings unwanted guests such as spiders, lizards, frogs, mice, mosquitoes and snakes. City Dwellers used to 24*7 power back have to face frequent power cuts and sketchy internet service.
And there is another concern that many have raised – integrating into the community. Chetna shared that despite being a resident of Goa for several years now, sometimes she is made to feel like an outsider. Goa is in India, yet at times you feel like an expat here. Take for instance her last week incident when she went waterfall chasing with her family in South Goa. The locals had closed several waterfalls including the Tiger waterfall for outsiders as the tourists and other villagers leave the party waste behind at the falls. Despite knowing she is a Goan herself and her failed attempts to convince them she won’t litter, the locals didn’t relent.
The ever-escalating property prices have become another headache for the locals. Goans say the pandemic increased the demand for land, and property rates shot up astronomically. Navneet Kapoor, a builder of 12 high-end luxury villas in North Goa, says, “pandemic fuelled a high demand for luxury homes with private gardens and pools in big cities. As a result, the cost of property has gone up 20-25 per cent in Goa.”
So, if you are considering renting a house in Goa or booking a hotel for a long-term staycation, weigh in the pros and cons of Goan life before going online to check the flight.
Let’s Go, Goa!
Travel Tips for Staycation in Goa:
Here are some common questions people ask when they are thinking to work from Goa for a month or less:
Where to stay in Goa – North or South?
Depends on your interests and budget. North Goa is very different from South Goa when it comes to attractions, affordability and services. If you love the parties and touristy vibes of Goa, then Calangute or Baga are good areas to stay in Goa. If you are a peaceful and relaxed stay by the beach kinda person, then Colva and Palolem are a good choice. People often ask which part of Goa is best for activities. I would say go to Cavelossim and Mobor for Beaches, Baga for shopping and water Sports, Candolim and Calangute for other Outdoor Activities, Panaji for Sightseeing, Old Goa fort history.
How to book a longterm apartment in Goa?
Before booking any villa, apartment or homestay in Goa do read reviews and check with your friends and family. Getting villas, apartments or homestays on rent in Goa is not a problem. Also, check for the Goa WFH package. Many properties provide discounted rates to people looking for workation in Goa for a month or less.
How can I spend one month in Goa?
There is a lot you can do in Goa depending on your interests. You can go for long walks, biking, hiking, bird watching, enjoying water sports, reading, boating, visiting spice plantations, attending yoga classes, participating in musical gigs and partying all night. But all this depends on the current COVID situation in the state. So read COVID guidelines before making plans.
Which season is best for Goa?
Goa is great in every season but November to February is the best time for the party people. Usually, the weather is pleasantly cool during this time.
If you are looking to do offbeat things to do in Goa this post would be very helpful.