American Expat Living in Goa, India - Meet Rachel
|Published:||6 Jan at 9 AM|
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Here's the interview with Rachel...
Where are you originally from?
I am from Ohio, in the US.
In which country and city are you living now?
I live in the beautiful beach town of Assagao, in Goa, India
How long have you lived in Goa and how long are you planning to stay?
I have been in India about 1 year and plan to stay for a couple more
Why did you move to Goa and what do you do?
I was traveling and met my english boyfriend here. He works here, so I moved here to be with him. I work on my travel blog and I do thai yoga massage
Did you bring family with you?
No, I don't have any kids!
I love it. India is magical and chaotic. You can't try to transition, you have to sit back and let it happen to you because India has a mind of it's own.
Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
My friends are mostly those of my boyfriends. It is hard to make friends because this is a beach town (my boyfriends works on beach erosion) so there are not many expats here. They are lots of hippies and travelers that come and go. My friends I have made are all Indian.
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
The best thing to do is take advantage of the beach and the SHOPPING. even if you don't buy anything, just walking about the colorful market is a shock to the eyes. It's a vibrant place. Make sure you take it all in, from the sights to the smells.
What do you enjoy most about living here?
I enjoy the freedom of my daily life. I work from my computer, and I can give massages if I want to. It's an easier life. I have never been anywhere more laid back that Goa.
It's definitely less expensive here. I have to budget because I am not making money from my blog yet. Food at restaurants is cheap, and the beach is free of course. Petrol is less expensive, but beer is the same. Imported foods from the US are WAY too expensive but I still give in and buy them. The house I live in is a 3 bedroom villa that Ben and I couldn't afford back home for sure.
What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
I miss my family. That is the biggest negative. I miss friends and I miss the ease of the US. Here, just mailing a postcard can cause problems. Everything is SLOW, and obviously no one can communicate with me because I haven't learned Hindi.
If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
I would say bring the things that really make you love home. India is a culture shock, and it can be hard especially for women. You will get lonely, maybe more so than in somewhere like Europe. It's a difficult country to live- so bring your favorite pillow or movie, even though it takes up space in your bag. You'll want something that makes you feel cozy after a hard day.
What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The hardest part has been trying to live day to day and not think long term about my future- which is very unknown right now. In india opportunities arise daily for new directions I can take in my life. I am very Type A, so that's difficult, but exciting.
A collage of the best of being an expat in India:I can easily see so much beauty a train ride away! the Taj, the ruins of Hampi, rowing in the Ganges in Varanasi, and riding a camel in the Thar desert.
I think I will eat until I am stuffed for about a month straight. I think I'll be needing to leave again though, because I love the adventure.
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
- Bring your favorite things from home, no matter how much room they take.
- Be mentally prepared for the chaos of India. It is hard. It is exhausting and hot. The beggars will break your heart, and the stray dogs will make you cry. You can't save them all. Learn to meditate or start yoga- something that will get your mind ready for what you're about to face.
- If you hate indian food, don't stress. You can get other food! Bring your favorite condiment from home. For me, that's ranch dressing. I put it on pizza I order from dominos and it's the best treat I have here.
- If you are a girl, you need to have a brave face. Stand up for yourself, and be prepared to be treated sometimes poorly by uneducated men. There is a unfair separation here. You're bound to experience that, but you can rise about it. Never fight it, just ignore the dumbies.
- Be flexible. There is corruption, bribery, siestas. They run on Indian time so people might be hours late for meetings. They may not show up. You might have someone borrow money, then run away. It is a developing country and rip offs happen. Be aware, but don't let it destroy you.
I am a small blonde girl that people said couldn't make it in India. I have! I have made it all over the world, all the way to Uganda. I love to travel and inspire others they can too. My blog is about being glamorous while you travel, you don't have to look like an REI catalog, or a "backpacker". you can be YOU. and YOU are brave, strong, and beautiful. I believe in solo travel, and I think that a concern of safety shouldn't hold you back, so I give tips to help keep girls safe, especially traveling where I live in India.
How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Via my blog, Twitter (see links below) or Facebook me at http://www.facebook.com/hippieinheelsblog
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Comments » There is 1 comment
Well written article and nice to see that you have managed to enjoy your time in Goa. I am Indian by origin and was born in Delhi and raised in Bhopal, a small town in central India. I have lived in the US for the last 12 years (I am 32 yrs old) and am now in the process of moving back. It's going to be a big culture shock and frankly speaking I am not ready for the Indian city life. I have family in Delhi and I absolutely detest that place. I have worked in a professional services firm as a Management Consultant for 9 years here and I know things would be very different back home now. Hence I was looking at exploring my options of living in a place where I could still enjoy India while not dealing with the city craziness. I have had Goa on my mind just because there are beaches and I know that I am going to miss the sea so much when I move back. I have never been to Goa (sad being an Indian) but I just hope it is not as crazy as some of the north Indian cities. Not sure how expensive the place can be but eventually I would like to open up a small business - cafe/bar/restaurant over there. At least that's my dream :)