COVID Diaries: Workation is the new WFH in Mahabaleshwar

As a single working professional in Mumbai, with her parents in their late fifties based out of Rajasthan, the lockdowns have been hard for me. Living in the worst COVID infected state in the country, I did not get a lot of opportunities to travel home when my company declared work from home until further notice. And when I did get a chance, I was too scared to travel home and expose my old parents to any kind of risk due to my long travel. Consequently, I was stuck in Mumbai, all alone in my 1 BHK, with no friends, family members or any other contact for that matter, for months at a stretch.

While it was relatively easy in the beginning, the whole work from home cycle and the absence of any social contact, started to take a toll on my mental health. It felt as though I was stuck in this never ending loop of work, eat, sleep and repeat. When I could no longer take it, I decided to get away from the monotony, to give myself a break from the routine life.

That’s when my manager mentioned workation! He too was frustrated with his mundane lifestyle in Mumbai, so he moved his workstation to Lonavala. He had been workationing (working + vacationing) from Lonavala for more than 5 weeks. His decision was impulsive – one fine morning, he simply called up a resort in Lonavala to book his accommodation for a week. Next he called Savaari and booked a sanitized Mumbai to Lonavala cab and hit the roads the same day. He said, life there was a lot better – he got the much-needed change in surroundings!

I immediately fell for the idea! I shortlisted Mahabaleshwar for the getaway, and booked my accommodation at a homestay nestled in the hills. My requirements were – a cozy room with all the basic amenities, a nice view from the windows, and a high speed internet connection at a stay where they took the COVID safety protocols seriously. It wasn’t difficult to find one.

My next concern was to find a safe cab service to Mahabaleshwar. Since my manager mentioned Savaari, I did my homework and found out that people taking their outstation trips with Savaari during the lockdown were very impressed with their service. Apart from the government issued safety guidelines, they also offer COVID insurance to their customers and drivers. Hence, I booked Savaari’s safe and sanitized Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar cab with a driver for my journey.

Today, it is my third week at the homestay, and I must say, moving here is one of the best decisions of my life. I’m more calm, relaxed and at peace than I was, back in Mumbai. I am woken up by these beautiful sun rays and the sweet sounds of the birds every morning. My food is taken care of by the homestay owner – it’s nothing fancy but truly satisfying local delicacies every day. I have my workstation set up by the windows which offers gorgeous views of the Ghats. The area has a very low population density and the owner and his wife are super warm hearted people. Whenever I’m tired of my meetings, I take a stroll by the garden. After a long day of work, I calm my senses by exploring the nearby markets.

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed several changes within myself – I’m more calm in my mind, more productive with my work and I also manage to find time to connect with my friends. I’m loving the workation in Mahabaleshwar!