• goa india

Ask Me Anything: Why Are You Still In India & Will You Ever Move?

I’m trying to write more of these “Ask Me Anything” series posts since I do get asked similar questions very often. I’ve been writing them down and slowly will write posts answering them. One thing I get asked a lot is “Why India?” There are a number of reasons I am still living as an expat in India. “Will you ever move?” is another common question. So, let’s dive in!

Why I Chose India…

I did choose to travel to India and move here but it wasn’t based on an impulse decision. You might know that I met my boyfriend while traveling in India when I was here backpacking solo almost five years ago.

I loved India but truthfully never saw myself living here. While backpacking I loved it but also got scammed, very sick with Dengue, lost, and annoyed quite often. I thought “it’s a great place but I can’t imagine staying forever…” I know this might surprise people, as since I’ve grown to love it as a home so much.

When I got to Goa as a traveler, It was totally different.

Goa is like an island in a sense it’s not like the rest of India. It is very westernized, has amazing food varities, laid-back people, siesta from 1-3, and of course the sea.

expat in india

I loved Goa.

Then I met Ben after a couple days here. He was here from England working and had been for about 3 years. I went back to the US for a travel nursing assignment and we planned on me moving to India.

It really happened that fast and there wasn’t a lot to think about. It was just a simple decision.

I didn’t think my move to Goa would be permanent. I didn’t even have a job! I didn’t even know Ben and his life well enough to know if his job here would be permanent.

What we do know is that I can’t stay in England very long as a tourist and he can only stay in the USA something like 30 days. Unless we were married, we can’t really live in each other’s countries unless we got work visas, which aren’t easy to get.
expat in india

So, we stayed in Goa.

We love it here. We have friends here and people who are like family to us. But, we have said that it’s not our “forever place”. Every time we think about moving so many complications come up.

I’ve been here over 5 years now. These are the things we question:

  • Where can we move with 3 Indian pets? How expensive and safe is it to ship them on a plane journey that could be 30+ hours overall. We can’t be moving all the time because of our pets so no “nomadic lifestyle” for us. Wherever we choose, we better like because we’ll be there a while.
  • Where to go? We’ve thought about Mexico. We know we want to always be on a beach. We don’t want to be in the USA or the UK because 1. visas and 2. it’s really expensive
  • Where can we have a similar lifestyle? With India being affordable we are free to eat out at restaurants, see movies, travel by train and more very cheaply. We have a housekeeper, driver, and security. In somewhere like the US, we would be spending all our money just on rent.
  • I can work from anywhere since I travel blog but Ben has a very specific job, and it’s one that he loves (building artificial reefs to prevent coastal erosion). He can’t just get that job anywhere and he doesn’t want to go back to a 9-5 (which is why he left Microsoft in London so many years ago)
  • If we did move somewhere expensive and supplement with me getting a 9-5 then I couldn’t really travel and then my travel blog would die. Now that it’s kind of a legit career, I really don’t want that to happen and a two-week vacation a year would actually kill me slowly, not just my blog. Now, we get to travel A LOT and I like that.

Do we want to stay in India?

We love Goa. We could stay here and live happily and comfortably but no I don’t think it’s our forever place.

There are so many places in the world I think we could love. I do want to be closer to my family. It’s not cool to only see them once a year. He misses his friends and family, too.

So, what’s next?

Literally, you know as much as me. We have no idea! We are just kind of going with the flow for now.

So, I guess I haven’t really answered the question that well but it’s because I don’t know the answer myself.

I definitely didn’t think I’d be here as long as I have, so only time will tell what happens next!

2018-03-12T00:52:38+00:00

About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.

9 Comments

  1. Sora March 15, 2018 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Consider Greece ? Beautiful peaceful and not too far for your animal friends

  2. Rachel March 16, 2018 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    Haha, I was so curious reading this to see if you were gonna stay in Goa forever, but also to see if you had any ideas for the USA-UK relationship dilemma! I think Ben could stay in the US for 3 months on a tourist visa. (I just took my British boyfriend, Marko, home for about 2 months, you know, to experience Thanksgiving and all!) But they have to apply for their ESTA each time, and I’m not sure how many times in a row they can do that before US immigration will be like, “What’s going on here?” Same with the UK system – how long before too many Heathrow stamps in my passport is too many?

    So for now, and the past 2 years (man, time really flies!), we’ve been hopping around living in other places while working online. But I agree, I’d love to be closer to my family and permanently close to the beach! And preferably avoid that English weather…

    • Rachel Jones March 17, 2018 at 10:00 am - Reply

      Hey! So for the ESTA I think Ben and I looked it up and it goes for a year before it expires but you can only enter twice I think? I am not sure! UK I think is 90 days max and then Id how often you can enter – but yeah, passport issues can be a problem! Nice to know someone else is in the same boat! Thanks for sharing :) best of luck to you!

  3. Liz March 16, 2018 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Ah this felt so familiar! I’m on year three in Delhi and constantly have conflicting feelings about where I want to live forever! To think that “it’s just six months” has turned into a life and an amazing partner and a dog and friend-family…I do push for Jaipur or Goa tho…this air is unbearable. At least during winters. Anyway, hope life keeps you there for a bit, I always love reading your take on India.

    • Rachel Jones March 17, 2018 at 10:04 am - Reply

      I don’t know how you do it – I know I couldn’t do the cities in India so major major props to YOU! Jaipur is a beautiful city though so maybe a good move idea for you – but Goa, that’s the dream! haha I just got back after 3 weeks in India and it’s like monsoon came early (cloudy and humid a little rain) – my house all moldy, smelling from not being aired out, power out for two days due to some issue, 4 animals making dirty prints all over, and i think ahh yeah it’s definitely paradise with a side of ick haha!

  4. thebritishberliner March 19, 2018 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    I love your story Rachel. You and Ben will find a way, I’m sure! Another Asian country like Bali, Vietnam or Singapore perhaps. Although Singapore is a high-price killer!

    Re-suddenly finding yourself living somewhere, I can totally relate. I met my first German boyfriend in Prague where I was living at the time, and he happened to live in Berlin. I came to visit, and liked it. After my project in Prague was complete, I went back to the UK, but to London rather than from Manchester, where I’m from! But somehow, Berlin was an itch. And we’re talking about Berlin, before it became trendy!

    I felt so comfortable that when I moved over, even though I didn’t know how long I would live in Germany, I closed the door on Britain by officially emigrating. I know!
    I had another German boyfriend, married him, had a beautiful boy who’s turned into a posh expat teen, and I’ve been here ever since as a British expat for over 18 years, and it still feels as fresh as the first day that I came!

    • Rachel Jones March 20, 2018 at 9:36 am - Reply

      So the real story is how did you go from berlin bf #1 to berlin bf #2 turned husband!?

      PS: speaking of Berlin, I just started Babylon Berlin on Netflix and it’s amazing

  5. Rachel en Route April 6, 2018 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Wow this is a great post! Interesting dilemma you have, and one that is rare for many people . It sounds like you are enjoying life at the moment so for now I wish you all the best for what’s to come!

  6. Natalye July 10, 2018 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Hi!! I recently found your blog and I really love it.!! Me too I knew my bf in India , he is Indian and I deciced to live here I have no idea how long I will stay living here but this is a dream , the place where a lived is amazing I always love the himalayas now I am living here!!

    My best wishes for you I will keep reading all your posts!

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