Are there any nomads from India?

#1

I have seen a lot of posts from different people across the world, but not even a single post from someone in India, who has been a nomad, either living within the country or traveling to another one.

Would definitely love to hear stories from such people. We are a couple traveling as social nomads who are trying to bridge the gap between the rural and urban societies in India. We have started out very humble and do not have much resources, so looking out for help from the community.

Ankit & Rishika
Around Love and Life

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#2

@vish is from India. He’s been hanging out with us in Chiang Mai but is going back to India in a few days due to visa issues. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if you guys reached out to him. :slight_smile:

#3

Thanks @amy… I hope @vish sees this and comments ASAP. Great to hear from you though :smiley:

#4

Hey @ankitdas123, I’m Keerthik, from India :smile:
I actually grew up in the Middle East, studied in Boston, and worked in California, but I’m an Indian citizen (for all the hardships that comes with that and trying to be a nomad).

There’s a lot to talk about being a nomad as an Indian, but I’ll tell you this much – in many ways our experience is very different from that of most of the others you’ll find in this forum. They either hold citizenships affording them better mobility (even if they are of Indian origin), maybe are white and have a different social atmosphere, or maybe are SEAsian and moving around SEAsia doesn’t feel very different from leaving home for them, etc. Being an Indian-citizen nomad in other countries is very different.

For the record I’m in India right now, but I do my best to spend as little time as possible here because for the most part it is very non-conducive to getting any work done compared to any other country I’ve been in :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, feel free to ask me anything. What would you like to know more about?

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#5

@keerthiko Yes, a lot of your reply answers the basic fact how easy or difficult it is for someone from India doing it throughout the world. My work ahead is not really going to be in the digital space always, but since I have a Masters in Computers, it comes with its assumptions of people you need to deal with always.

I am generally helping a lot of organizations who are doing great work in the field in rural India and otherwise. I will be mostly traveling to different rural parts of India and willing to do that beyond India as well.

What I want to know is if there are any places you know of with free / cheap food and stay throughout India? If you have such a list, do share please.

#6

Hmm, I can only offer limited help for a couple reasons. One is I have done very little “true nomadism” in India, just because I know too many people all over the country. The majority of the friends I grew up with in the Middle East are scattered all over India now, so I mostly wind up crashing with a friend who hosts me instead of booking a hostel and trying to figure out cost-efficiency on my own when I travel in India.

Secondly, I only visit metropolitan cities, because I work on a mobile internet tech product and need perennial stable internet connectivity and power. And it’s bad enough as it is in most tier 2 cities (like Kochi, my hometown, for example). Since your work will be in rural areas mostly, any suggestions I give may not be super useful. I have heard good things about Zostel if you’re in my kind of situation and want good internet and a stable environment. Not sure how well it translates to your usecases. I haven’t tried it myself yet.

My most valuable information to share with an Indian nomad-wannabe would be regarding visas for other countries, what places have food an Indian would like (although I now eat just about anything), and how society in different countries view Indians (some like us, some don’t) and which societies you might feel at home in (whether that’s what you want or want to avoid).

India itself, well, it’s not ready yet to be a digital-nomad-friendly. Regarding general nomadism, if you lead a simple lifestyle it’s easy to keep very cheap.

If you ever happen to be in Kochi when I’m here (which granted is rare), I’d be happy to offer you a place to stay at my parents’ house :smile:

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#7

@keerthiko that is so nice of you to offer me a place in Kochi :smiley:
will definitely get in touch about my plans. Let me know your email ID at least so that I may write to you directly and FB (if you feel like)

Also, I am checking out Zostel, looks good to me initially, will let you know how it turned out for us though. And any help about bigger cities may also be useful, as ultimately I will have to stay in cities as well.

Thanks,
Ankit (& Rishika)

#8

Lots of interesting stories. I’m Indian. Born and brought up in India. I’ve been traveling and generally working online for the past three+ years. Mostly international travel too.

Yes, visas are a pain but if you have a US Visa, the list of countries that will let you in with a visa on arrival is quite a bit longer (Costa Rica, turkey, panama, etc.). A schengen visa also adds quite a few schengen and non schengen countries (croatia and some others) to the list.

It’s not generally unpleasant to travel as an Indian but you can draw weird looks at times, especially at immigration when you present an Indian passport. It’s mostly because people aren’t used to seeing Indian travelers a lot. Not expected from a ‘poor’ country.

#9

@Flyonthewall Thank you so much for that information. Is there a specific document on which countries VISA allows on-arrival VISA for which countries… and also where there is no need for VISAS and the travel and stay is also cheap and affordable for social entrepreneur to connect with people there.

Any suggestions?

#10

Helllo @ankitdas123 and Hey @keerthiko ! Thanks for that very succinct explanation brother! I’m beginning a digital nomad lifestyle, based out of Austin, Texas. I will be traveling to India in March, first to Bangalore, Delhi, and then considering a hop down to Kerala.

Are you familiar with the Trivendrum area? I would love to stay for a week or two down there - mainly by the Kovalam beach, but am hesitant to go somewhere without first knowing I’ll have a reliable and secure connection 24/7. Any thoughts?

Thanks,
~Srajan

#11

In general, I find Kerala to be a bit too weak on the internet infrastructure side. I stayed here for 2 months because I needed to process some visas and since my family is based here so it’s cheaper for me, but in retrospect that was a poor decision, and I would have been better off biting the bullet and renting a room in Bangalore or Bombay. You need to be in one of the IT-centric or youth-centric metropolises to have internet you can count on!

Kochi is currently the bigger metro than TVM in Kerala, and even here the net infrastructure is lacking, with high cost, low bandwidth/data caps, frequent outages and inconsistent performance, so I can’t really recommend Kerala for more than a pleasure trip

#12

Thanks @keerthiko - a lot of what you say resounds with my own research. I’m kind of hooked on the idea of the beach, so I’m looking into Goa – also a location of the Zostel group you mentioned earlier.

#13

Hey @ankitdas123

Though I am not a true nomad, and still aspiring to be one I have experienced this lifestyle for a short while. I am also in the process of becoming a full time digital nomad. I am organising a meet up in Bangalore on April 5th 2015 for digital nomads. :smile:

http://www.meetup.com/bangalore-digital-nomads-meetup

#14

Hello,

I am a digital nomad, travelling since last six months in India. Since January, I am staying at Bagnalore, will be here till March end. After this I plan to move to Goa, or Kerala. I have heard few places in Kerala that provide reliable internet.

I am also planning to start doing international travel, Europe being on top of my list after Thailand, but I am not sure of how visas will work and trying to understand more about it.

In case of hostels in India, I found that youth hostels are also good.
If you are looking particularly for Bagalore, Airbnb worked good for me. Initially I stayed at a PG but that wasn’t good at all and expensive too. Most PGs are good for students who just come to crash there at night.

In Bangalore, co-working spaces are good specially in Koramangala and Indiranagar. I will recommend Bhive for it, it costs 5k per month, but even if you start with daily passes, it costs Rs. 200 per day with tea/coffee included.

In and all, I would be happy to answer anything about Bangalore and would love to know from everyone about VISAs to other countries specially Europian ones.

Cheers

#15

I’m from the U.S. but currently in India since the end of January. First month was Goa, then Varanasi and now Rishikesh for 2 weeks. It’s not really setup well for Nomads, however I can’t speak for larger cities like New Delhi or Bangalore.

Currently, I get great Internet through my home-stay to work on projects, but that’a about it.

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#16

I’m not from India, so don’t have much to add. But I am in India at the moment. It’s fun (if a little tedious at times). I’ve just been tethering to my phone for Internet, which has been moderately successful so far.

#17

My wife started working in New Delhi for a NGO, hence I visit often. The internet speeds are not great. In fact, my observation was that it has been deteriorating. 3G speeds were reasonable to hold a Skype video call in 2012, not anymore.

A home/office based broadband by providers like Airtel is perhaps what is required.

#18

I’m Indian (US passport), back in India for about four years now, semi-nomadic. I have a great base of operations in Calcutta, so my work (web development, mostly Drupal in the past, mostly front-end code at the moment) infrastructure is relatively stable. Airtel’s 8Mb/s DSL line usually seems to get me 1MB/s+ on torrent downloads if you need an idea of download speeds, and it goes down maybe once every year or two for a day at most.

In other words, it’s about 10x more reliable than my Comcast line back in Chicago.

Calcutta has a couple of coffee shops that are great co-working locations, and some of the places I’ve traveled would be great coworking hubs (Dharamsala, Goa). These do tend to be much more foreign-influenced / touristy than the four Indian metro cities.

There’s some serious culture clash between modern distributed teams and the traditional Indian tech corp. The professional context here is very different from what I was used to back in the US. (These may be irrelevant if you’re not working in tech.) Quick examples:

  1. I can’t manage teams if the team members are older than me; some employees will throw a shitfit if they find out their manager is younger than them, or that someone younger than them makes more cash than they do. A lot of people stubbornly cling to the idea that they’ll be exploited when they’re just starting out, but that salary increases come with age, not with experience. I started working when I was 18, so this is sometimes a problem for me; I frequently have more experience (especially on larger projects) than others my age here.

  2. A lot of people are in tech because it’s good money + stability, so their parents told them to do tech. They’re not necessarily passionate about tech or even curious about learning new things. This is a very Calcutta problem; the workforce here is complacent. It’s much better in Bangalore or Bombay.

  3. (Similar to #1) Older team members are always right. It doesn’t matter if the younger devs are the ones reading about git and wondering why the rest of the world insists on version control; if your senior dev doesn’t want to learn it, no one in the office is going to be allowed to advocate for it. Team aren’t very agile when it comes to inhaling new tech, or new workflows. We’re slow to keep up.

  4. Work-from-home generally means your employees aren’t working at all, which results in deeply suspicious managers who are cranky and aggressive if employees even suggest a remote work policy.

All of this means that India doesn’t really turn out digital professionals who gradually shift into increasingly remote professional lives. There are a few of us who’ve headed back from the US or elsewhere, and far fewer of us who’ve gotten there while working in India, but it’s a pretty small group.

D.

#19

Hey @ankitdas123 nice to see someone starting a thread from India! What exactly do you folks do? I can connect you with a startup or two who are looking for people like you (one is this) Apart from that I would love to meet up with you guys (I move around India quite a bit). Also, I can offer a room at my flat in Delhi when I am not around (you will have to share the flat with a friend of mine.)

Hey @keerthiko, how’s the internet there? (I am building a website) And is that the beach-house you are talking of (I read about it here)?

I am too lazy to introduce myself again, so read this

Find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

#20

Hey Shreshth,
Quite an amazing name you have :smile:
At present, we are busy building a social enterprise (but registered as a LLP) and working in 3-4 villages. We have already built 50 eco-friendly toilets and about to start a livelihood project in a tribal area.

Also, trying to work with farmers to see possibilities to revive dry and semi-arid land and start organic farming there. Also a few things here and there.

Sure, will let you know if we need the Delhi flat, but since my hometown is Dehradun, I do have a lot of people around there. Since 9 years, my base has mostly been Pune - and travelled extensively in rural as well as urban India, except deep south.

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