This is part six of my new Expat Interview Series, where I plan to interview my expat friends who have dotted themselves all over the world. I’m hoping this series of posts will provide some insight into what it is like to live overseas, and might even encourage a few people to pack their bags and make the move!
Meet Rachel Jones, an American who left a career in nursing to live on the beaches on Goa, India nearly 3 years ago where she is now a Thai masseuse, candle-maker, and travel writer. Rachel’s award winning website gives advice on the other 28 countries she’s been to and has now become the go-to site on India travel, focusing on off beat places & “glamorous travel”.
has been featured in ELLE & Grazia magazines & was voted by Flipkey as one of the top 25 female bloggers to follow in 2015! You can follow her adventures on Facebook,
What made you move abroad in the first place?
I was traveling India when I met my now boyfriend. He is British and was building artificial reefs in India. We eventually started dating after hanging out again in Mexico and Seattle, so I moved to Goa to be with him.
How long have you been living abroad?
I’ve been here for nearly 3 years.
What is the most difficult thing about living so far from home?
Missing people from home is the hardest thing about being away as well as the ease of American life in terms of shopping, driving, and cooking at home.
How did you make friends when you first arrived?
It was hard because most people in Goa are partying hippies who aren’t staying year round. After some time I slowly found girls who stay all year and were foreigners born in Goa to hippie parents. There were no expat groups for Goa when I came, although there may be now.
What do you love the most about being an expat?
I love waking up and having coffee on my balcony while I watch monkeys swing around in the jungle! I love that the beach is 10 minutes away, my beat up car, and that India is culturally unique (and inexpensive!).
Has anything funny happened to you due to cultural differences or language barriers?
Oh many things! I’ve had so many funny encounters and share them each week in a series called This is India. It’s my favorite thing to write because I share just short stories that friends from home and read and understand India a little more.
How do you cope when things are going badly?
It’s hard having animals in Goa. I’ve had two dogs die. It’s hard because some vaccinations are expired or not kept at right temperatures, there are viruses, dog attacks, monkey bites, and more that can hurt a dog. I have two dogs again now and one cat. It’s hard to keep them happy and healthy and they can’t run around. I would say this gets me down the most, but I just remember the good things I love about India and focus on that.
Do you think you travel a lot more now because you live overseas or would you travel just as much if you were back home?
For me it’s the same since I was traveling a lot before moving here permanently. Living in Asia makes it more accessible and cheap to travel to many countries than when I was in Ohio and had nowhere inexpensive to fly to.
What are your future travel plans?
I’m heading off to NE India to see these tribals areas which are special permit zones in India. It’s an area I’ve been wanting to go to since I’ve lived in India!
If you could give one piece of advice about moving abroad to find work, what would it be?
For India, I honestly don’t have any. It’s difficult because the rates are not worth working the hours they want. It’s best to work online, start a website, do freelance work, or find a way to start a business.
As a white, female living in India, do you ever feel unsafe?
No, I am very comfortable living here. Travelers I think are uneasy at first, but after time you feel normal enough that the unease goes away, making it easier for you to connect with locals.
Is travelling solo in India is as bad as the media says?
No, of course not! It’s got issues for sure, but I would say Indians try hard to make sure foreigners don’t see those issues first hand because they love their country so much. There are some instances but I hear the same about places in South American for example so think it’s blown out of proportion in India.