On 4 February I moved to India, to live here as a minimalistic nomad. I wanted to explore living in India and immerse myself into the journey of exploring life and working on my personal development, as I had been workaholic most of my life.

Also, I wanted to discover where I belong, as even though I am a 5th-generation Indian born and brought up in the Netherlands, I have always felt strongly connected to India and very less to the Netherlands or any other country in the world. My former backpacking journeys in India only made me feel more at home in India.

In the last few months nothing has gone the way I had planned (due to the COVID-19 situation), but I have really learned a lot about daily life in India, at least in Mumbai and Pune, where I have mostly been this time. Interacting with locals, domestic travellers and other nomads has taught me a lot, for example about how things in India work, some jugaads (flexible solutions to solve problems with limited resources), home cooking and managing an Indian household.

Unfortunately, I had to learn many things the hard way, as apparently some people find it necessary to harass, stalk, loot, deceive or scam me during my stay. Even some male members in the Indian backpackers’ group I co-manage harassed me (don’t worry; they’re not in the group anymore), one of the reasons that I became very less active here and with blogging at all. One guy had even reached the PG (Paying Guest, a common type of accommodation in India) where I was staying (God knows how he got to know), while I had told him I am not interested in meeting him.

People say that challenges make you stronger, so let’s hope for the best. At least I have recovered from the malnutrition and most deceptive and double-faced people are out of sight now. I buy my groceries, cook my food, clean my room and work as a freelance communication advisor, entrepreneur coach and ghostwriter. Working for Indian clients is challenging (really different mindset and working culture + most people I have come across till now are really stingy, wanting big results fast, for free and without efforts from their side), but I definitely learn a lot from these experiences.

Even though I am still emotionally recovering from the experiences with many ill-minded people who have crossed my path till now (things could have gone really bad and nasty), I feel really blessed to be in India and live here. It just feels like home, so much more than any residence I’ve had in the Netherlands. Also, it feels like all these challenges will only make me stronger in the end. I feel like I am just in the right country now, and in the right lifestyle😊 It’s nice to live as a nomad, as you meet different kinds of people and can see living in the country from different perspectives.

Many people can’t believe that I am from outside India and I am happy that most people treat me as a common Indian and not a NRI (non-resident Indian) or foreigner. It makes things less awkward, I get less unwanted attention and I am able to explore daily India in a better way. Living here alone as a nomad and young woman definitely raises some question marks. Many Indians say I should either go back to the Netherlands or marry and settle down somewhere in India (“zamana kharaab hai” – the world is bad). They even offer to search for suitable matches hahaha.

A few weeks from now it’s time to leave Pune and head to another destination. I’ve been here since 23 February and now I feel it’s high time to move on and explore living in another place. I must say I’m craving for an ayurvedic treatment, some fresh air and physical exercise. Let’s see whether I can find a new place in these crazy COVID-19 times.

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