Work From Mountains

Bring Some zeal to your Work From Home ~Work From Mountains

After doing months of room-terrace-kitchen-room trips, I finally had it. The new standard demands us to be at home and working from there, but it never specified where our home should be. Those who travel frequently or those who are a long way away from their native homes know that home is not a particular house – rather it’s a feeling, a state of mind where you can be yourself and free. It can be anywhere.  For me, where else could it more be than in the midst of the mountains? So, amidst the lock-unlock situation, I gathered some courage, did some research, took all the necessary precautions, and packed my bags to shift to Himachal temporarily, a long-awaited dream. As it’s a long-term plan, I didn’t prepare a thorough itinerary; this time, I wanted it to be an on the go plan. But as a solo traveller in this extremely challenging time, who’s solely dependent on public conveyance and has to work every day from wherever she is, I did some basic research about communication and electricity and internet condition about the places in mountains before I started off. However, many a time, reality is quite different from what we imagine or expect it to be. In this article, I will cover all the essential pointers that you need to know before deciding to work from mountains.

Interstate Communication:

Due to the Covid situation, both interstate and intrastate communication has been dramatically affected. Many direct HRTC service routes have been suspended, and there are lesser buses plying on both inter and intra-state routes. So, it’s a bit difficult for solo backpackers to move across and around the states at this time. However, apart from local buses, you can opt for shared cabs or private cabs. For most of the HRTC bus routes, the option to reserve a seat online is not available. You need to book on-spot and board the bus. So, for local buses, you need to know the timings either from the places you’re staying in, or you need to know from the bus stop itself. However, sharing rides with groups is not uncommon and a much environment-friendly option any day, not to mention pocket-friendly as well.

Long stay in a budget-friendly way: 

So, if you’re opting for working from mountains, especially if you are in a corporate job, you need to stay at a place for at least 7 to10days. This means you would need a budget-friendly option. Many travel start-ups and travellers’ hostels have started staycation schemes, which provides a package with food, stay, and Wi-Fi connectivity at a reasonable price for guests visiting for extended periods. Some of them have even started to rent out studio apartments or 1 or 2 bhk apartments monthly with all the necessary amenities. So, there are plenty of options available to suit all sorts of budgets and requirements. You can book your stay from their or different booking websites which keep providing special discounts from time to time for the long-stay options. Or you can get in touch with the vendors directly from their social media page (Instagram or FB) or buzz them and negotiate about your stay.

Internet Connection: 

Most of us need a seamless internet connection for our day-to-day work or take work-related conference calls. However, it is wrong to expect internet speed at par with that in the plains or the cities when you are in the mountains. Let me clear you from the beginning, that you can’t compare your situation in the mountains with your homes in cities or plain lands. Even if you’re in a prominent location like Manali or Shimla, the internet options simply aren’t as convenient as it is in the plains. Internet condition on the mountains is dependent on factors like altitude, weather, and location. For example, during snowfall or rain, the internet connection might be interrupted, and in the mountain region the weather can change very abruptly. In that case, research well and opt for a place that can provide steady internet or have the resources to fix quickly if anything goes wrong.

Things to Remember while working from Mountain: 

Research well: While many travel start-ups have started offering staycation options, which provides a package with food, stay, and wi-fi, most of them still do not have proper infrastructure. So, if you’re a backpacker, I would suggest opting for good backpackers’ hostels. Research well, go through their websites and ratings, ring them up and ask them upfront about the speed of the internet and your other requirements before booking.

Keep your resources ready: An essential thing while moving around places and working on the move is keeping your resources ready and not being wholly dependent on external factors. Despite choosing good sites for my stay, I carry all my internet options with me. I have my Jio-fi device and connection of every provider, i.e., Vodafone, Airtel, and BSNL, with suitable data packages. Most of Himachal has good Jio and Airtel connectivity and not so great Vodafone coverage, in my experience. So, in a nutshell, keep your resources ready.

Always keep your devices charged: In mountains, especially in small towns and villages. electricity stability is unreliable, especially in bad weather. So, always keep your devices charged so that they could be functional for a significant time even if there’s a power-cut. Carry power banks and other back-up options. No hotel/hostel can provide power backup for extended time in the mountains, so be prepared.

When to Go?

Summer in the mountains is always cozy, and Autumn is a good time as well. Winter is extreme and lasts from October to March-end or in some places till April. So, do choose your stay according to your tolerance to cold. Always keep in mind that traveling in winter for a shorter time and living in a place during winter, and working from there are two different things. Most of the budget stays in Indian mountains don’t provide room heaters with the stay – they charge extra for that, In the smaller towns and villages heater is not an option due to the power scarcity. In that case, the tandoor in the commonplace or fireplace is the only option. If you have decent tolerance for cold, then go for it in the winter. Otherwise, it is advisable to ops for warmer seasons.

You can check for an extended stay with these travel startups and travelers’ hostel chain

To find more about travellers’ hostel and budget stays around India these sites are pretty helpful too

My Experience: 

Being a mountain person from the bottom of my heart and a frequent traveller to the mountains, moving to the Himachal was a prudent decision for me. I was well aware of the weather and other situations. I took all my necessary resources with me, including the portable modems, packed food for emergency (you need to pour some hot water; please don’t throw your packet trash anywhere and try to bring it back with you as plastic pollution in mountain is raising drastically!!), a small electric kettle, and most importantly, appropriate winter garments. I chose places to stay with good hygiene and brilliant views. Working with mountains and rivers in front of me always freshens my mood, and enhances my productivity. Every other thing eventually fell into place despite having some friction initially. I met many solo travellers during my stay who were traveling from different parts of India and doing work from home. Many of them were traveling from the regions of India where winter is barely a textbook concept. They came, acclimatized themselves with the freezing winter, fell in love with the Himalayas and chose to stay back. If you, too, have made up your mind, then make sure you do your research thoroughly before making a move. At the end of the day, it is worth all the minor troubles if you have heard the call of the mountains and felt the irresistible urge to return to them again and again.

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