In April 2014, I moved to Canacona, Goa from Mumbai as a seasonal worker. I stayed and worked there for six months and saw it as an opportunity to travel across Goa and parts of Karnataka.
Turiya Villa and Spa is a delicate and beautifully done up Portuguese villa in a village called Chaudi in South Goa. It is a boutique homestay that serves breakfast inclusive of the tariff. Nestled in a quiet neighbourhood, it is surrounded by greenery. The property nurtures one chikoo tree, two mango trees, a few frangipani plants and is hugged by bougainvillea flowers. Every morning I woke up to the sounds of numerous birds. After the first flush of rains, the trees came alive even more (if that was possible).
The villa has five bedrooms (four guest rooms and one for the property manager) with four non en suite bathrooms, common areas include the living room, the dining space with a chandelier, the kitchen and the patio overlooking the lawn. A few steps away from the villa is the outhouse, where community breakfast is served every morning. Also, within the space is the spa, which is well equipped with a bathing space, a changing room and one indoor massage room and two open rooms. I cannot define the beauty and serenity of the place in words!
What did I do there
Spanning from April 2014 to September 2014, I worked as the property manager . I lived in this property. My job entailed overlooking all guest relations, guest bookings and communication, including maintenance of the property, staff management and maintenance of accounts. All this I did in exchange of food and stay. And since I loved Turiya so much, I was also very hands-on with its social media management.
In my free time, I was developing content for my blog and understanding the industry I had just moved to. I would write incessantly. When I felt stuck (or even when the weather tempted me), I took the gearless scooter and wandered around aimlessly. I travelled to Panjim often and completely familiarised myself with Goa’s streets, forests, bars, coastline and villages.
Other times I swam, kayaked, read, learnt how to cook Konkani delicacies and made friends in some local offices. Because it was off-season, there were very few travellers in South Goa at that point. This worked wonderfully for someone like me who evades crowds. The beaches were great for a sunset walk, only the local shops were open, the attention span of servers in restaurants and bars was healthy and the roads were free from traffic.
Read: Travel Guide: South Goa
What worked for me
The experience. I was one of the very few people in India who actually took up a seasonal job. Largely, these are taken up by foreigners who come to India to learn a skill or volunteer in the high mountains. My Indian passport doesn’t stand in a very advantageous position when it comes to travelling and working abroad. On the other hand, many countries do allow their citizens to take up an opportunity like this and it would only be unwise to miss it. As a property manager in Turiya, I got a first-hand experience of working in the hospitality industry and developed the incidental people skills. Many require an academic degree or certification to work in this field.
The travels. In Turiya, when the property did good business, I occasionally earned some money. Owing to the off-season, it saw some guests but not a full house as it did during the Winter months. This was good for me. Firstly, whenever I did get some money, I pranced around the room, because it meant travel. Secondly, the sparsely crowded villa also meant time to travel. Either way, it was a win-win situation for me.
The space. There is no denying how intricately Turiya has been taken care of. Sandesh Prabhu, an architect by profession, handpicks everything and ensures that these reflect the ideology and the essence of Turiya. No sooner I entered the place, the vibes had engulfed me. It felt homely and I knew I wouldn’t regret moving to Goa for a moment.
The solitude. Living by myself in that villa (there were nights when I stayed there entirely by myself) was an experience I missed. With the constant noise and the rush of people around me in Bombay, this initially felt like an existential crisis! I had forgotten what it felt like to be in an entire house alone. I had missed solitude. While there were a couple of days when I did miss people dearest to me, I overcame that by losing my way in the quiet forests. Turiya was my much needed transition to becoming who I had been.
What didn’t work for me
The rains. I wasn’t prepared for the fury of the Goan Monsoons. As an outsider, it looks beautiful and refreshing. But as someone who was somewhere between a traveller and a local, the rains were very intimidating. There were nights when I thought the roof above my head would fly away and I would be buried under frogs! Accompanied by lightening and thunders, the showers were my worse nightmare in Goa. I am happy not to be around them ever again.
Why would I recommend it
Sandesh (or Sandy as we call him) is always on the lookout for suitable property managers, every six months. There is, of course, a set of qualifications and standards that he seeks. If you think, this is something that would interest you, I cannot convince you enough to take it up!
I learnt life skills in Turiya. Not only did I brush up on my swimming and my balance on the gearless scooter, I reconnected with my social skills. These I had lost somewhere while working in the mechanical city of Bombay. I learnt to pay attention to nature, sounds and visuals; and felt myself come alive. I met new people—travellers from all over the world visited Turiya. I heard their stories, what made them travel to India or Goa, explore their philosophical bent of mind, while sharing mine.
I lived like a local, with the locals. This meant raiding the village fish market almost every week, shopping in the nearby government subsidised store, drinking tea at the tea shop and getting the scooter’s parts repaired with a mechanic—all this and more in whatever bit of Konkani I spoke. Thanks to Turiya’s cook, Sarita, I learnt a few delicacies from there too. She pampered me as much as she taught me.
These experiences may not add to a portfolio, but they definitely make a better person.
Good to know
-Turiya does not have a television, air-conditioning and power back-up.
-The property is absolutely safe.
-There is wi-fi free to use. It has broken down often and as a result, I had made friends in the local BSNL office.
-Every piece in Turiya is delicate. If you’re considering working here, please understand this and keep the space in top shape.
-Turiya is well connected by road. 5 minutes walking from Canacona Kadamba Bus Stand, from here you get connecting buses to Madgaon, Panjim and Mapusa and private buses to all other parts of the state. The nearest railway station is Canacona, about 7 minutes on the scooter. Palolem beach is 3 kms away and Patnem 2.5 kms.
Have you taken up a seasonal job anywhere? Do leave your experience in the comments below.