I fell asleep last night to the sounds of waves crashing against the shore. I woke up to the same, along with some annoying crows chirping in the tree above.

For the last 3 years I have dreamed about this place; wishing to return. I wondered if it would be the same, if not, how different? I have been to many places in my life but none as special as here.

I left Italy 2 days ago after saying goodbye to my mom, stepfather, and stepsister. We spent the last week in Florence where I wondered where all the Italians had disappeared to. It was a strange kind of American Europe there.

I had a great time but the weather was getting cold, and it was time to get the hell out of Europe.

After a series of car rides and flights, the last course of my journey involved a taxi from the Goa Airport to Anjuna and then on to Arambol.

The total travel time was close to 36 hours; including about 20 hours of waiting in airports and a 3 km walk with all my gear down the beach.

goa airport to Anjuna Arambol

The fear of change

 

When I left Arambol in 2011, I wasn’t happy about it. I didn’t want to go. I felt like I had left something behind, and have tried to return ever since. Now I’m finally here.

In life, sometimes you let things get in the way and justify these roadblocks. You need to bust through these hurdles and not let them slow you down.

The fact is, I could have come sooner; I have the freedom to do as a please, it was under my own control that I didn’t.

I was also scared.

I have a fear of going to the same place twice, especially if I truly loved it the first time. This fear may have been part of the reason for my delayed return.

Last time I was in Arambol I had a great crew of people. I am a firm believer that the people you are with while you travel play a huge role in the enjoyment of the place you are in.

I worried that it wouldn’t be the same without them. How could this place possibly be as good as it was the last time? It was perfect, so was I crazy for trying to replicate that feeling of euphoria?

This weighed heavily on my mind as I sat in the taxi heading from the Goa Airport to Anjuna and Arambol.

 

The taxi ride from the Goa Airport to Anjuna and Arambol

My flight from Delhi to Goa was delayed. I wasn’t surprised as everything in India is always delayed, so the disorganization might as well start at the beginning. I met a German man in the Delhi airport who was also waiting for the same flight and we agreed to share a cab to Arambol when we arrived in Goa.

After we finally arrived and collected our luggage, we ran into another girl from Germany, and a dude from Spain. They would join us in the taxi from the airport in Goa to Anjuna, where we would drop off our new Spanish friend, and then on to Arambol where the rest of us were headed.

As we walked out of the airport it was clear I was back in India. We were immediately assaulted with taxi drivers trying to lure us into their cab.

Never take the first offer

The best idea in India is to never take the first offer. We were making 2 stops and this gave the drivers a good excuse to try to overcharge us. As they do here.

We walked by, ignoring the onslaught of offers. It was nothing like the honest taxi drives in Iraq when I crossed overland from Turkey awhile back.

We stood outside; refusing offers until we finally accepted a ride for 1500 rupees, about $30 dollars. Had we just been taking a taxi from the Goa airport to Anjuna it would have been 1100, but to Arambol direct it’s 1350. It was an extra 150 rupees, or $3 extra for the second stop. Not a horrible deal.

The ride was about 2.5 hours.

goa beach hut

Things were different but also the same

As I walked down the beach towards the huts I was nervous. I wondered if they would have a room available. I wondered how much it had changed. I wondered if I would ruin my fond memories of this place.

I walked for about 45 minutes down the beach to get here. Where I sit now and write this to you.

Friendly faces

I arrived and was greeted by the smiling face of Dinish, the owner and a man I grew to call a friend the last time I was here.

He had a big Indian smile from ear to ear, and right there I knew I had made the right choice.

As I looked around, things were different. Some changes went on; renovations had taken place, new huts had been added. All of this, so far, seems to be for the better. Except for the price increase, but that happens with everything in life and should have been expected. Still though, the $6 a night I was paying last time would have been nice to have again, now its $12; still worth every penny, and then some.

But the feeling was the same. Thatโ€™s what counts. As they say in Thailand: same-same but different.  

Goa beach hut

My return to paradise

I was back. After almost 3 years to the day I was waking up to sound of the same waves. I am in a different hut, but it’s an upgrade for sure. I am very happy with it.

I am a bit jet-lagged and was up at 4am. I just sat in my hut, looking on my phone. They have fantastic wifi here now and it reaches all the beach huts; another huge upgrade. Especially when you make a living online like yours truly.

New beach huts

When the sun finally rose I emerged and sat in the same restaurant I sat in 3 years ago, talking to Dinish, the only other one awake at this time. The same thing I would have done back then.

We spoke of how things had changed. There were problems with police, and at one point this whole complex was destroyed. It was rebuilt the following season.

New huts have been added and they are fantastic. It’s sort of the same feeling as when I was living in a tree house in Turkey back in September.

I am back in paradise. I love it here. I have booked in for one month and have thoughts of staying longer.

I’m glad I made the choice to return. It isn’t ruined. The opposite in fact. There is hope. New people to meet. New places to explore in the area. A whole new world to discover from the comfort of a familiar base.

Where is this place you ask?

For now, I won’t say. So many hidden gems are revealed and secrets ruined. As selfish as it sounds, I’m keeping it for me.

It seems silly now, thinking back to what was going through my head in the taxi from the Goa airport to Anjuna and Arambol. I had nothing to worry about.

I’m optimistic for the days to come.

Did you like this story or find it inspiring. Realistically, I will probably end up revealing where to find this piece of paradise. Subscribe in the little box that popped up and find out where it is and let the good times keep coming! 

 

 

20 Responses

  1. SimonE

    I’m Arrive in Arambol in early January. Can you let me know the name of beach huts owned by Dinish. Thanx.

    • Alex

      Hi Simone, I haven’t said where the beach huts are yet, but I think I will soon. Sign up for my mailing list and in the next week or so I think I will let everyone know where this place is ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Benjamin Rogez

    Hi! Great article!

    I suscribed to the NL, but I guess you already said where is this place in a previous News Letter…

    As I go in India in a month for 6 months, ridding on one of thoose wonderfull Royal Enfield, could you please send it to me?
    Thanks a lot

  3. Jess

    I love Arambol! I accidently ended up there last year and couldn’t leave.. then moved on to Palolem ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am going back in February yeahhhhbuddddy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Alex

      Awesome! I wish I was going back this year as well but might have to wait until next. Have a blast for me!

  4. Christina

    Hi Alex,
    Great article thanks!
    I’m just in Cambodia and thinking of heading to India soon starting with Goa. Is the guesthouse called Sunset Beach Stay in arambol? Also can I just grab a cab at Goa airport (as a single girl traveling aloneness).
    Thanks, best Christina

    • Alex

      its not really a guesthouse and you wouldnt see it online. You just need to show up ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Tennyson

    Hi Alex,

    What about taxi back to the airport ? getting the same 1500 deal also ?

  6. Andile

    Hey man,

    Thanks for a nice post. I am in Mumbai and going to Goa the next few days. Would you happen to have a phone number for this place or I will just find it on Arambol beach. It sounds awesome, I am looking forward to it…

    Andile

    • Alex

      You just need to show up and walk down the beach, you will find it ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Brez

    Great info for the North of Goa, I’m pleased that when you returned things haven’t changed too much from the fond memories of the dream you had. We have also found a haven in South Goa, and are readily awaiting to rent our house out and leave the UK to travel south India and the rest of Goa, your prices are spot on, though I have heard of even cheaper down South.
    All depends on how many beer’s make you happy I suppose, happy travels dude.

      • Brez

        Hi Alex, just returned from “down South” and had the joyous experience of no money syndrome that awaited our arrival at the ATM’s. Wasn’t too bad as had taken enough cash to see us through our 3 week stint.
        Picked up on some useful info for long term apartment rents, and also made a few more contacts, roll on next year as we’re hoping to go full time from then, and with the introduction of the 5 year visa has really opened our minds to sustainable long term travel, with 6 months in India, then on to the rest of South East Asia.
        Happy travels dude

        You sold that land yet?