Rishikesh is well suited for the long-stay traveler, the yoga or meditation student, or anyone needing rest in their life. Rishikesh proper is actually a large, bustling city. Anyone who comes for any of the aforementioned activities will find themselves based in a quieter area a few kilometers upstream along the Ganges.
Juno and I have chosen to base ourselves in an area called High Bank. There’s no kidding yourself, High Bank is positively a traveler’s enclave. There are about 10 guesthouses here, clustered high on the hillside, far above the river. Many of the rooms here have extended views of the surrounding mountains.
Room prices are cheap. Ours is simple and goes for $5 per night, slightly more during high season. There are a few cafes situated nearby and a couple of yoga studios. One important thing about High Bank: it’s quiet. Quiet is a very rare commodity in India. So I am savoring it.
I generally write when I first wake up. At this time I’m more focused because I have less distracting thoughts in my head. My day starts at about 7 or 8 am. I bring my laptop out on the balcony and write for an hour or two before getting online. By the afternoon my mind is so polluted with random thoughts, that I’m glad to have written in the morning.
At about 9am it’s about time to move to a café and get breakfast. No complaints with the tea and coffee situation here. I’m able to stay well-caffeinated.
Internet is a double-edged sword. It allows me to earn a living online, but is also the cause of much distraction. Ideally, I’d like to waste as little time as possible on online, but social media channels are a good way of connecting with readers. I enjoy posting snippets of my current travels and cultural observations on Facebook and more recently on Instagram. Most of the time online, however, is spent on the necessities of creating blog posts and writing and responding to emails.
Yoga classes are generally offered in the morning around 8am and in the afternoon at 4 or 5pm. Yoga on the roof of the guesthouse would be nice in the morning, but I should be spending that time writing. So, it’s usually in the afternoon. There is a yoga hall very close by, or I can walk down 20 minutes to an ashram for a more substantial lesson. Yoga gives me a much needed mental break and a physical workout.
There are a few cafes in High Bank, the best of which is called Swiss Cottage, and that’s where we usually take our meals. They prepare good Indian food and adequate international food.
On one hand, I hate being constantly connected online. It drains me and this attachment is the source of a lot of stress. On the other hand, I understand and appreciate the fact that working online has allowed me to travel to more than 35 countries in the past two years without spending any of my savings. It has allowed me to live my dream. For this I am grateful. However, becoming a digital nomad wasn’t easy in the beginning.
The only real challenge here has been the power cuts. Our guesthouse owners say it’s not normal, but most afternoons the power has been out. This makes it difficult to work after my laptop’s battery dies. Other than that, it’s pretty comfortable here. Down in the town, closer to the river, it is dusty and noisy due to the traffic. But up here in High Bank, surrounding by forested hills, the air is cleaner and fresher.
Being a self-employed nomad over the past few years has taught me a few things. I’ve constantly had to tweak my routine and habits. One of those things is recognizing that it’s not good to work right up until bedtime. Therefore I force myself to quite working at least one hour before I want to fall asleep. Watching a movie is a good way to end the day and take my mind off work.
In 2013, one of my goals was to practice yoga more, preferably during a one or two week course. Another goal was to spend a longer time in each destination seeking out potential homes for location independent individuals.
View more of my posts about living as a location independent digital nomad.