Wondering what’s it like being a digital nomad in India? Here’s the inside scoop.


I started my digital nomad journey nearly two years ago. Life pre-nomad didn’t, well, have many nomads in it. The ones I knew were the ones whose lives I wistfully thought of whenever my going got tough. “I wish I was them,” type of thoughts.

It was a Tim Ferris-thing everyone under the age of 35 (I’m just guessing here) aspired to but would probably leave on the bucket list till they kicked the bucket. Such was the slant of my thoughts (and the topic of my conversations) in those days:

A whole lotta dreams about being location independent, but not a whole lotta action.

This changed dramatically once I took the leap and skydived out of the airplane that was my old (dreadfully dreary) monotonous life. Suddenly, everyone I met was a nomad. I’m talking thousands of the sort.

By meet, I don’t mean I had cocktails with each and every one of ’em (a long-term travel budget only stretches so far). There’s meet the old-fashioned way (ya know, back when face-to-face was what the word “meet” meant), and there’s digital meetups, a.k.a. the new normal.

I was meeting them in airports, at hotels, in restaurants, randomly on the street, and in every of the 500 digital nomad groups I’m a member of online. We shared travel tips and laughed about culture shock. We discussed where we came from and where to go nect

But India never came up, cos very few none of them had ever been, or held any intention of being, a digital nomad based in India. Digital nomad hubs are scattered across the planet, but India’s for hippies or luxury travellers, neither of which work while they’re there.

So when The Wealthy Backpacker asked me for an interview, I was happy to contribute to the cause of breaking at least one of the 10,000 stereotypes about India: That it’s off-limits for nomads.

They publish a monthly lifestyle bulletin called The Global Lifestyle, and each month spotlights a different country and a nomad who’s based in it. Since it’s a member-only publication situated behind a paywall, the interview is reproduced below. Check out the PDF issue here.


MEET NADJA 

The digital nomad who took the leap with her 10-year-old son by her side. Nadja dove in as a journalist in the blockchain/crypto space and now runs her own blockchain communications agency, Wordarium.io, remotely based in India.

For Nadja, the idea of leaving her highly paid corporate position in pursuit of a better life was a spur of the moment decision. “I had wonderful professional status and thought that I was providing well for my child as a single mom, but I was not spending time with him,” she explains.

Nadja and her son traveled around the world on savings until the money ran out, and then had a big decision to make. Feeling disconnected and lonely as a traveler on the go, she chose to head to India to join family friends at two-month unschooling camp. From there this story begins.

From the get-go, Nadja knew that she could not be a digital nomad lounging on the beach. Over time she overcame her overworking habits, but her core values of action, meaning and purpose would continue to guide her life. Nadja explains, “the biggest challenge for me in the beginning was embracing my freedom and embracing the fact that I had nothing to do. As I started accepting the fact that I was not born to work, I was actually born to be and not to do.”

Being a digital nomad as opposed to a traveler allowed Nadja to have the mental, emotional, and time capacity to consider what she really wanted, and how to best take care of herself and her son with what they really needed. “I feel as though my story has gone fully 360. I went from everything to nothing to everything, but now everything is not just the money, it is also massive amounts of personal satisfaction and happiness,” Nadja shares.

Being a Digital Nomad: Personal & Professional Growth

With a background in journalism, Nadja accepted a journalist position with a blockchain publication without any understanding of the matter, and then fell in love with it. From there, she launched her own communications agency which quickly began to soar and became a team member for Neco Finance.

Motherhood

What is so special about Nadja’s journey is that her 10-year-old son has been by her side the entire time. The decision to take her son out of school was an easy one when private school teachers encouraged that she medicate her son with ADHD and Autism. Rather, Nadja introduced her son to unschooling where he could learn from life and explore his curiosities.

After being on the road for a year and now based in India, her son is also a worldschooler, using the world as his classroom. In their current lifestyle, Nadja is no longer limited on time spent with her son, which is one of the most rewarding gifts a parent can receive.

The Lure of India

Nadja’s long-time interest in India finally led her there for her son to participate in a two-month unschooling camp. Though they did not have plans to move there, they haven’t turned back since.

Like any other place in the world, India has its perks and challenges. Nadja encourages seeing India not as a country but as individual states, given the widely different cultural traditions, food, and language that vary from state to state.

Culture shock was definitely something that she experienced from pollution and unexpected metropolitan cities such as Delhi to a more profound discomfort of society’s view of her shaved head (where in India hair is only shaved after death). Aside from that initial shock period, the main thing that Nadja would warn remote workers about are the unexpected power cuts that could greatly disrupt work. Always having backups and charged devices are critical.

In her process of unlearning workaholic habits, Nadja was inspired by locals who truly embrace a balanced life. “After traveling around the world, I’ve found that India is really special in this regard. Work is only one part of life. There’s a time to work, and there’s a time to play, and there’s a time to be, and all of those things enjoy equal attention.”

Inspiration has no shortage. From the lively creative scene filled with talented dance, art, and music, to the beaming religion and spirituality witnessed in the people and architecture alike, Indian culture is perfect for digital nomads looking for that creative push.

Another great perk Nadja shares is the bustling local culture of entrepreneurship. Many individuals who have a full-time job also have aside hustle, and they are not afraid to support you. “There is a great culture of support to help you on a business level. The sense of community that people have here, the sense of respecting each other as human beings is very, very high.”

Nadja’s journey is an inspiration to us all, especially for parents who are looking for a truly unique opportunity to raise their kids in a nontraditional, eye-opening way.


Of course, this is a very brief overview of life as a nomad in India. Our telephonic interview spanned nearly two hours, and I admire the team for being able to condense it into just two pages!

Check out the PDF here to dive into the research undertaken by The Wealthy Backpacker on using India, the land where ‘yes’ means no, and ‘no’ means yes, as a digital nomad base. The issue provides an overview of an array of topics relevant to potential digital nomads (or other foreigners, whether short-term travellers or expats), including:

  • India’s history and political climate
  • The economy
  • The sub-continent’s geography and climate
  • Society, culture, and language
  • Cuisine
  • Travel and transport 
  • Medical services
  • Visa policy
  • Popular destinations
  • Cost of living
  • Pros and cons for digital nomads

They perfectly sum up one of the reasons why, as a vegetarian, I am in foodie love with India (apart from the fact that the food is to die for):

Vegetarians will be spoiled for choice, and there will be no need to explain that you don’t eat meat/fish or need your food to be cooked in a special way – many Indians follow a vegetarian diet, and vegetarian (or simply veg, as they are known here) options are available in virtually all restaurants, hotels, onboard domestic flights, trains etc. Meat eaters should know that eggs are considered non-vegetarian, so if you ask fora non-veg meal, you may just get an omelet on rice, instead of lentils on rice!

At the end of the day, being a digital nomad in the most crazy-beautiful country on earth is the experience of a lifetime, and yay me for living it! (I suffer daily power cuts, ok? Lemme gloat to my heart’s content. I deserve it.)

9 Comments

  1. Great interview! Good to read first hand experience on the topic. I’d like to read more about your life in India as a nomad. Not a place I’d considered to work from since the wifi is so sketchy. How do you manage it?

    • Nadja @ Eastern Heart Western Mind Reply

      Hey Sam, it’s definitely not always easy, but it’s made me a lot more mindful about technology, which I’m very grateful for It also makes you appreciate being connected, so an all-round lesson in gratefulness I’m planning on doing a post at some stage that goes into more details, and will definitely cover more details about connectivity!

  2. Pingback: The Worldschooling Classroom - Eastern Heart Western Mind

  3. That’s India for you. Putting things into perspective. Making you see what matters and what doesn’t. Cool interview Nadja.

    • Nadja @ Eastern Heart Western Mind Reply

      Thanks, Mark 🙂 You know it! India: The land where matters becomes clear, and what doesn’t falls to the wayside!

    • Nadja @ Eastern Heart Western Mind Reply

      Thank you, Rajesh! India has my heart ❤

  4. First of all, I feel so inspired after reading your story. That is amazing!! I also think it’s so amazing that you’re worldschooling your son. The best and most valuable lessons aren’t learned in a classroom– they’re learned from the world. Thank you for being the amazing woman that you are!

  5. This was inspiring, and a wonderful story. I hope one day to be a nomad myself in the US so this was a great read 🙂

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