A Decade Full Of Lessons From Goa

by Monalisa Borkakoty
A Decade Full Of Lessons From Goa

City life is for the brave-hearted. To be able to wake up every day, get ready and go to make money for somebody else is one of the most courageous things to do.

For me, I have always preferred waking up (fresh!) on my time and working the whole day and night to lead the life I want. I used to live in South Delhi. I once went on a trip to South India and it changed me completely. Goa happened spontaneously and amidst the less traffic, smiling faces, the dignity of labor, the acceptance of ideas and of course the sunsets, Goa gave me a gazillion reasons to shift to the village life. I packed my bags, left & at once adapted to the good life. The epiphanies followed.


How Did Goa Happen?

Second time in Goa and I knew I couldn’t leave.Looking back it feels like destiny or fate even. My friends were not as pleased as they didn’t anticipate it at all. My parents are used to my offbeat decisions and even extremely supportive when I promised them that I won’t stop writing.

A kind elderly Goan couple from Anjuna who had hosted us for the two times before we decided to move to Goa offered us to stay in their old Portuguese house until we figured out everything. They even let us stay on credit for a month. Five days later I had a job and we used the savings to take up a 1BHK in the vicinity with fish shells for curtains and colorful walls for decor.

The only sacrifice I made (in comparison to my peers) when I moved to Goa is not getting a fixed salary at the end of the month. I learned quickly to live one day at a time and work every day sincerely towards earning what I deserved.

Honestly, living in Goa has been one of the best decisions of my life. The only downside is the misconceptions and preconceived notions about Goa that makes it difficult for people to comprehend the day to day life in the city. It is ridiculously difficult for me to have an adult conversation as everyone thinks it’s only beaches, beers and liberal views. Apart from that, I am just further away from home and sometimes it takes me 27 hours by flight to reach home.

Time is Money

Being a freelancer for almost a decade has taught me the value of time. And Goa has played a vital role in helping me to utilize time to its optimum.

I started to wake up early and that itself brought me so much time to do so much more. All those times when my mother would be on my back to wake up early to study are coming as epiphanies of sorts as your ideas and its execution are achieved with much more ease just by waking up early. It almost feels like you have more than 24 hours and on most days I can catch the sunset too at the end of an extremely productive day.

As a writer, I have deadlines to adhere and the “Master Procrastinator” that I am, learning to manage my time has brought in tons of motivation, productivity and money too, at the end of it. All of it because waking up early in Goa is nothing short of magnificent. The chirpings of the birds, the horn of the bread seller, the cock-a-doodle-doodle-do, the fresh air with the clear sky and the sounds of the village enables the head start we all require.

Choose Your Battles

As much as we want to lead perfect lives, ups and downs are inevitable. But it is entirely upon us how we deal with them. In Goa, I have met the richest sad people and the happiest poor people and this has enlightened me in a way. Firstly, earning money is not everyone’s agenda of life. There are far more important things that money can’t buy. Secondly, it is always mind over matter. If somebody’s actions or behavior is bothering you, make an instant calculation if it will be of any help for both parties by confronting. If not, don’t judge as yet as their approach to a certain situation could be completely opposite to your reaction and they could still stand right in their opinion.

Living in a place which is a melting pot of cultures, I have become compassionate and that is a valuable gift for the wellbeing of my mind and everyday existence.

Never Stop Believing In Yourself
There is no substitute for hard work. Also, success and hard work are directly proportional to each other. Being a freelance writer, the amount of pro bono I have done is innumerable but also necessary because how else will one build their profile and showcase their work by living off-grid. Remember that I started at a time when blogging was in its nascent stage and Instagram wasn’t even invented.

Thus started my journey in becoming a writer, to experiment and lead the life I considered to be fruitful for me. To sustain my passion I started by hosting on Airbnb and also helped a local set up a restaurant in a heritage villa which had a resort built around it and started my side income. Thus started a string of projects that helped me sustain my lifestyle and got me a tad bit closer to living a life that makes me content.

One thing led to another and by the end of the third year, we had a hospitality company setup, that rented Heritage Villas and refurbished them to be traveler homestays. Last year, I resigned to writing full time after things went south and I had to shut the homestay in an 108-year-old villa in the village. Well! After two months of living the intense Goa season. It was full of meeting people from different corners of the world, partying, visiting dimensions, laughing, crying, friendship and life.

As the season got over the writing began, until I started Tea Amo – a tea curating company where we are helping smaller estates in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Darjeeling to get their produce to the mainland. As tea drinkers and being from the Tea Town of India, Dibrugarh, I knew I wanted to take this ‘high end’ product far and wide. As I continue working towards the life I want (of a writer), I am not letting failures pull me down. And even though I am far from being what I am expected to be, I am a happy 32-year-old now with a bag full of dreams and heart full of positivity working towards Tea Amo’s development and writing tirelessly to inspire everyone to believe in their own capabilities regardless of whatever others have to say.

Team Tea Amo at one of their Tea Tasting Sessions at The Earth Keeper’s Market

Work Place Ethics
Working in Goa is the most uplifting aspect. Being a tourist destination, holiday mood is in the air 365 days a year. But to channelize yourself to do things for the place you so dearly love is a different kind of high. The cherry on the cake is when you meet like-minded people who are chasing their dreams and also have their ethics in place. The amount of growth that happens when people are helping each other is so immense that there is no chance that the world will not become a better place.
Working in the hospitality sector and media industry of a place that became a tourist destination by a twist of fate is not only interesting but also challenging.

Hordes of globe-trotters are coming in every season (October-April) and expect the Goa that has given them a sense of home and liberation. Amidst all the commercialization, there are still a few that are holding on to the good old Goan vibe. It makes me extremely happy to be able to write this today that being a part of this community where there is the dignity of labor, respect for human values, sharing is a ritual, and a general sense of family is a huge comfort This is one of the biggest truths one can ever realize. There is nothing more empowering than the love and support of your family and apart from the one you are born into, you will also have a family that you meet or work with and accumulating all these support systems, it becomes much easier to work smart and get closer to your goals.


You Are What You Eat

Goa has introduced me to fresh food. Now I know when you eat healthily you think healthy and you also stay healthy. Also, the availability of world cuisines all over Goa gives me an insight how cooking in other parts of the world differs from our palette and how using the same ingredients a certain way could not only make it tastier but also it could be a healthier way of consuming it.

Simple Living, High Thinking

Goa is a mixed bag of residents and it is not a rare sight to meet people who are not from the herd mentality and are passionate towards making the world a better place for the coming generations. And when you either read about them or meet them, you will know that how simply they have untangled most complexities of life and if you understand the greater scheme of life, you would do the same too. Long lasting happiness comes from humility, kindness, companionship, and gratitude, I have learned from Goa.

The life in Goa has revealed the best days and the dark side too. But it is the desire to hold on to the good that greed, the rat race, the futile pleasures, and the toxic relationships; all of them collectively can’t break down the intentions of the good people living in Goa. Over time, this has made me more confident in my endeavors which in turn helps me to keep my karma in check.

It Is Only Love, Give It Away !
This is written on a banner and used as a curtain in a place that locals ‘pass’ time at. Picture backgammon boards, pool table, chill music, a carrom board even and lots of people from different nationalities. This place reflects the real side of Goa. The side that teaches to ‘give’ to anyone that enters that space. It could be materialistic things but it is mostly love.

Goa has taught me to love with an open heart and an open mind. It doesn’t matter who you are and where you are from, as long as there is love you can fit in. Love your self, love what you do and love everyone around you.

My Advice To Anyone Looking To Move To Goa

Goa is the good life. A bad day in Goa is better than any other day anywhere else but it has its own pace. You have to have the resistance and you have to understand that if you are truly passionate towards something and want to find a balance between living well and earning enough, Goa is the only place where nature and nurture are intertwined. One can truly relish the small joys of life which finally makes up the bigger picture called life.