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The Healthiest I’ve Felt in a Long Time

Evening at Palolem Beach, Goa
It’s all thanks to the beach. I’ve been planted here on Palolem Beach in Goa for 17 days already and this morning I realized that it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this physically and mentally healthy.

My daily routine since arriving in this paradise has been quite simple and it has barely changed at all during my stay. I generally wake up at around 9:00am, I head to the beach for a couple of hours for some sun and a swim, eat a late breakfast/early lunch consisting of muesli and fruit or an omelet, spend a few hours working on my laptop in order to avoid being out in the midday heat, head back to the beach around 3:30pm for some more sun and swimming, where I stay until just before sunset, which I watch from my beach hut at around 6:00pm. I then work another hour or so before showering and wandering into ‘town’, where I choose from one of the several local restaurants along the one main street for my dinner. After this meal, I might head over to a cafe for a fruit smoothie and then I’ll typically walk back along the beach to my hut.

I’ll finish the day by working another hour or two and then typically, I’ll go to sleep just before midnight. There are some daily variations to this routine of course but that’s the general outline.

Like I said, it’s a simple routine, but for me, simplicity is a most welcome change from my normal stream of constant traveling and travel planning, while trying to squeeze my work in as well. Here, I know where I’ll sleep each night and I don’t need to think about how I’m going to get to my next destination. I am free to simply enjoy my surroundings for a while, enjoy them to the fullest, without any worries whatsoever.

Palolem Beach is quiet, peaceful and apart from Christmas and New Year’s, remarkably empty for such a beautiful beach in India’s most touristy state, making it my ideal beach location. And because it is located in the far south of Goa, far removed from any major towns, it means that I have been far removed from the stress of city (or even town) life, or of the outside world as a whole for that matter. There is no traffic, there is no noise, there is no hustle and bustle to be found anywhere here in Palolem.

Instead, there are laid-back people who are never in a rush to go anywhere, laid-back cows, dogs and pigs who seem to be quite content with their lot in life, and a ‘slow down’ attitude that emanates from every interaction, every palm tree and every rolling ocean wave that can be heard from almost anywhere in the village.

In fact, on the one day that I ventured into the closest ‘town’, the small community of Chaudi located some 5 kilometers away from Palolem, it felt as if I had suddenly arrived into the chaos and intensity of Mumbai, even though this town mostly consists of one scarcely inhabited main street stretching for about one kilometer and its population is only 15,000 people or so.

After picking up a few supplies from the supermarket and pharmacy in Chaudi, I was quite happy to hop in a rickshaw and get back to tiny Palolem as quickly as I could.

And apart from physically being in the middle of nowhere (which I’ve mentioned my fondness for during my time in Romania) I also seem to have lost touch with the happenings of the world in general since I’ve been on this beach. I haven’t checked any news sources or done any random internet surfing in a long time and I’m quite content to keep it that way for the time being. With my head as clear as it is right now, I don’t want to cloud it with an ambush of information that I just don’t need to know.

For the next 7 days, which is all I have left to spend here on the beach, I prefer to maintain my routine, to eat my fruit, to walk and swim, to enjoy the sunsets, the star-filled sky and the warm ocean winds, to interact with locals, to listen to the waves…and most importantly, to continue improving my physical and mental states as best I can.

And this is why I can never get enough of the beach.


What kind of destinations help you clear your head and make you feel as healthy as possible? Where would you want to go in order to get away from it all for a while?

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83 Responses to The Healthiest I’ve Felt in a Long Time

  1. Karin says:

    totally agree with you: Palolem is beautiful! I’m so happy I had the chance to go there on my last weekend of my 3 months stay in Benaulim where I worked at an English Language School. It was the perfect place to finish my incredible time in Goa. I can also recommend Agonda and Cola Beach that are very close to it, even quieter than Palolem!
    I’m a new fan of your blog/website! Great work, thanks for all the useful information and amazing blog posts! It makes my work at a reception much more bearable when I can daydream about myfuture travels! Good luck and take care!

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  4. Pablo says:

    Sounds like a great way to spend some time! I would love to one day be able to set up camp by a nice beach somewhere and work and enjoy the surroundings.

    I’ve always been more of a mountain type of guy though. I love the beach, but something about casting a line out into a lake and relaxing or exploring and hiking a mountain feels like home to me.

    Looks and sounds like a pleasant start to the year!

  5. Rebecca says:

    No wonder you feel so healthy! What a great way to spend each day. :-) I just spent almost two weeks in Laos and we made it our mission to relax – no rushing around to different places, no visiting every single site. I’ve come home feeling super relaxed and ready to face 2013!

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  8. No to shabby Earl. Sounds like you’re getting some well deserved rest, and the beach is the perfect place to do it. I think I might have to add this place on my list of beaches to visit. Looks and sounds awesome!

  9. Nico says:

    Sounds like a great way to start the New Year.

  10. John says:

    This makes me want to bypass my plans to Europe and head to Southeast Asia early to find my own quiet beach. Slowly making my way around to that side of the world.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey John – You’ll get there eventually I’m sure and Europe has plenty of it’s own magical destinations as well that you wouldn’t want to miss!

  11. Preeti says:

    I love the beach but I’ve come to find that the place where I can totally clear my head is the mountains. Whether I’m camping, hiking or skiing, the mountains are my perfect place. In facts one of the main reasons I chose the grad school I’m in is its proximity to mountains and beaches. 1-2 hours in each direction will land me at the beach or deep in the Mountains. Pays to live in the Pacific Northwest in a way.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Preeti – The mountains aren’t too bad either :) It seems like many people are either a beach or a mountains kind of person and I can certainly see the therapeutic benefits of both. Glad you’re living in an area that you connect with so well!

  12. Anita Mac says:

    Nice! I felt like that in San Sebastian. My days started leisurely with an amazing breakfast overlooking the Concha Beach, followed by walking and enjoying the area. Time on the computer with a lunch and glass of wine…..more exploring….and all that amazing fresh, local food! I was so relaxed – completely in heaven. I didn’t even notice that it wasn’t tropical….although where you are sounds beyond divine too! Always nice when we stop to take time to smell the roses!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Anita – That sure sounds like an ideal routine as well..and I agree that the it is the simple things, the local food, the glass of wine, the short walks, that end up making all of the difference. Such simple things that we forget to pay attention to during our lives back home!

  13. I absolutely love that feeling you get when you know you’re in the right place, at the right time, with the right mindset and attitude and you just know that you’re in a good place in your head. So glad you found that, it looks like an amazing place and your routine; I could totally get used to that!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Beverley – This routine is very addictive and easy to get used to for sure. I barely do anything but that is 100% percent fine with me right now!

  14. Sofie says:

    Glad to read you’re doing so well!
    As I don’t travel full time, for me traveling itself is what gets me to take my mind off off things. More specifically traveling to places where it’s warm :D
    When I’m abroad, I cannot do anything about the stuff at home and because I can’t do anything about them, I don’t stress over them.

    Man, I could use some sun right now!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Sofie – That makes perfect sense to me and I hope you get some sun soon enough :) Spending time in sunny places always gives me an extra boost of motivation!

  15. Will says:

    Awesome Earl.

    Sounds like a great time in Goa. Need some relaxing time away myself.

    Willl

  16. About time you completely indulged in some recharge time!

  17. Carolyn says:

    Ahhh, the beach is my home away from home. Koh Phi Phi is my place to relax and get away from it all. I love it!

    Carolyn.

  18. William says:

    Hi Earl,

    That sounds great. Actually, I’m on the lookout for something similar in Thailand – any recommendations?

    Thanks,

    William

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey William – My favorite in Thailand is the island of Koh Mak, near the town of Trat. It’s quite laid back and it has a great beach hut place called “Sucharnawee” with nice huts for around 400 Baht per night, right on the white sand beach. I love it there.

  19. Joy says:

    This sounds amazing. I had been scared to go to India, so, my friend went and told me all about it. She had a similar experience and I’ve definitely changed my mind. I can’t wait to go!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Joy – Glad to hear…I know it’s an intimidating place but if you start off in a place like Goa, you’ll be able to ease into it quite easily!

  20. Ah Palolem! We were there last year at the same time and your routine description is exactly it! We will have to go back soon… we miss that beach and have to agree with you that it really is one of the best beach destination! My only concern was malaria… is there still some risk and do you take tablets? Besides this, it really is paradise, enjoy! MC :)

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Marie-Claude! I haven’t worried too much about malaria but then again, I’ve never taken tablets at all during my 13 years of travel no matter where I’ve been. I haven’t heard about any risk here and I don’t know anyone who is taking tablets while here either. So it seems safe to me, allowing me to just enjoy the beach!

      Safe travels to Vietnam :)

  21. Red Hunt says:

    This sounds like the good life to me…enjoy it especially if it’s stress-free. Healthy living while travelling is a tough task for many people…!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      @Red Hunt – Healthy living anywhere seems a challenge these days, but it is possible to be healthy no matter what we are doing in life. Just takes a little determination.

  22. George says:

    wow sounds incredible I love the slow pace of life. Keep it up :)

  23. Sarah says:

    I love beaches too, and a beach in the middle of nowhere? Sounds like perfection. Enjoy your days unplugged and fully engaged with the world around you, something we should all do from time to time :-)

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Sarah – Agreed! It’s a simple thing to do, to just get away every now and then. Even taking a peaceful break for a few hours can have a hugely positive effect!

  24. ella says:

    hi earl
    ive been reading your posts for about a month now and wanted to thank you. your site is simply wonderful. me and a friend are flying to india this saturday and we got so much info from this site. very helpful.
    my favourite place to relax has to be Sini. especially Nuieba or bir-sweir area. too bad we can no longer travel there after the revolution in Egypt.

    all the best
    ella

  25. Robert says:

    Wow, sounds like life is pretty darn tough for you! :) Would love to visit India and GOA in the near future, looks fabulous! Thanks for sharing this article.

  26. Rashelle says:

    Sounds like bliss to me Earl… I felt peaceful visualizing beach life for myself.

    The beach is magical, all that sand wedged in every part of the body after a visit I think is worth it. I’ve just come back from the Gold Coast in Queensland, it was such a lovely, relaxing time. I didn’t go swimming every single day, but feeling that seabreeze and having a beer (or two, or three) on the balcony of my cousin’s apartment was enough to keep me happy.

    I’m sure you’ll soak up all that bliss the wonderful beach has to offer and you’ll be feeling more rejuvenated than ever!

    Rash :D

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Rash – And believe me, there will be plenty of ideal beach outings during the first couple of days of the Mexico trip :)

  27. Paul says:

    Great to hear you’re getting the perfect opportunity to wind down Earl. This little corner of the world sounds so serene. The irony of this post, I think, is that so many of us complain about our 9-5 but you’ve just described a situation that involves a good sleep, exercise and relaxation and still close to 8 productive hours of work. A lesson for us all.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Paul – Very true and I think it’s so easy to forget about keeping our minds and bodies healthy during our normal daily routines. But a little focus on that sure goes a long way and in the end, it’s not really hard to accomplish at all.

  28. Verena says:

    It’s great to hear again and again, how confident you are with your life. It makes me happy myself, when I hear how peaceful and relaxed your days are right now. I wish you all the best, keep up your great work! <3

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Verena – I appreciate that and I hope things are going well for you also. Thank you for following along!

  29. MaryAnn says:

    Earl,

    I am so jealous of your quiet peaceful beach life. I moved from the US to Mexico seeking a quieter less stressful life but I find myself doing what I’ve always done with the same results. Stress. I changed locations w/o changing my lifestyle. I’m going to find your beach in India and learn to relax. No phone, no TV, no internet.

    MaryAnn

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey MaryAnn – Maybe you should try the very small village of Chacala in the state of Nayarit in Mexico. It’s as peaceful, if not more, than where I am now, with a beautiful beach as well!

  30. Harry D says:

    thats my secret paradise too earl ! Wish would run into you on one of your wanderings !

  31. Helen says:

    hey earl, so happy to hear that you are feeling healthy and relaxed, it’s so important to rest and rejuvenate, you obviously must have needed it. I visited Goa and your writing reminds me of what it felt like to be there, I wish I could join you as could do with some positivity myself.

    My top destination where I’ve felt the healthiest is without a doubt New Zealand. I did so much hiking there and being outdoors that it was just fantastic and I left there feeling really fit.

    Another place that makes me feel so mentally and physically healthy is the North of Spain – have you been there? It’s a truly sensual place where you can swim in the cool sea, go hiking, eat amazing fresh vegetables, fruit, seafood, feel your bones bake in the sun and then as your body releases all that heat in the evening you can kick back with a beer and watch the sun set, and then look forward to a delicious late dinner with fresh ingredients and smiling laughing people, go party all night if you want – interms of lifestyle , the Spanish have got it down to perfection…. I don’t know why I ever left! Love from the dark, murky, cold UK xxx

  32. Isabellem says:

    I enjoy walking long enough to make it meditative. anywhere as long as nature surrounds me. I have to admit, walking in the desert (mojave- late afternoon) is symbolically the best experience I’ve had so far.

  33. Melanie Murrish says:

    Sounds like just what the doctor ordered-enjoy!
    e

  34. Karen says:

    Sounds ideal…how is the internet there?

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Karen – The internet here is good when the electricity is working…there are power cuts every day, usually for around an hour, but again, when it’s on, the internet is fast and reliable.

  35. M says:

    So glad to hear you are starting the new year in such a great way! May the health and vitality you’ve found in Goa follow you throughout the rest of the year! (Maybe Goa will be your new home?)
    Goa sounds so ideal! I always thought I wanted to visit India, but crowds are a real turn off to me. Do you think that going to Goa would give me enough of the experience of India? Are there any other places like this you can recommend in India that aren’t so crowded?
    Where to next for you?

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey M – It’s hard to say. Every state in India is completely different from the next and Goa is just one tiny (it’s the smallest state) piece of the puzzle. So while a trip here would give you a good Goan experience, you wouldn’t get a feel for how life is like in the rest of the country. But at the same time, it’s impossible to see everything and most people who come to Goa sure do enjoy their stay.

      As for other places in India that aren’t so crowded, you could head into the Himalaya mountains where you’ll find plenty of valleys, towns and villages that are quite peaceful and beautiful and without the intensity of the rest of India.

      And with me…I’m off to South Africa in a couple of weeks to meet my mom for a 10 day trip.

      • M says:

        Thanks for the info Earl!
        I have a friend in Joburg. I am sure she and her family would love to meet you and your mom. She’s an amazing cook and thrower of parties. Email me if you’d like her info. What a sweet son you are to take your mom on a trip. I’m sure you two will have a wonderful adventure together!

  36. Nate says:

    Sounds like a great life, Earl.

  37. Michelle says:

    Sounds amazing! To be able to just live and dedicate your days to yourself and maybe people watch. Being still in the hustle and bustle of college, it’s easy to forget that there are places out there where people are able to be laid-back.

    Enjoy yourself!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Michelle – I think that in most stages of life it is easy to forget that there is such peace and quiet out there in the world. We are so caught up in the usual routine that such a different world seems impossible. But it does exist!

  38. Earl, that’s awesome that you are feeling well. Feeling physically well makes life that much more enjoyable and maybe you need to make sure you plan this style of stay inbetween all the madness at least a few times a year. Maybe it’ll be where you choose your more permanent home…. Maybe a beach house is what you need!!!

  39. Great to hear! We were planning on heading to Palolem when we are in India on our RTW trip! Sounds the perfect place to relax and catch up on work!

  40. Nick B. says:

    There’s something intrinsically relaxing about beaches. Maybe it’s the rhythmic sound of the surf, that stimulates some deep memory of the womb. Beaches are also a border, both literally and symbolically; The land ends, the ocean begins. I think that’s a good allegory to the soul of the traveler. We like to live on that precipice, where one type of world ends and adventure begins.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Nick – You are absolutely right and I know that every time I take my first step onto a beach, my entire body is instantly relaxed and my mind is as calm as it can be. I love being on that side of the line!

  41. Le sigh. Cliff and I are 13 days from staring our RTW trip, and we are literally dying to get to our playa in Costa Rica where we are dedicating a moth to getting in tip-top physical and mental travel form. Thanks for tiding us over, Earl!

  42. Thanks for the post. Being Nomadic and Completely Off The Grid. In the winter months I know some great spots far out in the desert with some lakes nearby, and in the summer have some good spots at 10000ft on some beautiful streams

  43. Tomas says:

    Hope i will do same one day! Best wishes from Prague!

  44. Leif says:

    O man, I gotta get myself to a beach. It’s around 25 degrees here in NY. I’ve never felt more unhealthy in my life ><. I'm thinking Costa Rica in Feb. I'm glad you're doing well though, you deserve it. Sip some of gods milk through a coconut for me :)

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Leif – Feb in Costa Rica would be a nice escape from the cold for sure. I say go for it…chances are you won’t regret that decision at all :)

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