Meet Anushka, a changemaker, cancer survivor and an employee-turned-coconut at NomadGao!
There is something inspiring about not letting life knock you down. Everyone has days, months and even years where nothing makes sense and that’s enough to make you want to give up. However, a little perseverance can help you brave it to the light at the end of the tunnel. There are so many stories of grit and unwavering courage that make the rounds but Anushka’s story is close to our hearts. We are prouder every day of her achievements and her strength.
Anushka worked at NomadGao in 2021 as a Community Manager – she spoke to people, helped mobilise resources for funding and even worked on the Remote Explorers Podcast. At this point, she had also completed her graduation in Liberal Arts and Social Work. She was keen on undertaking social work and public policy and started working with Teach For India as well.
“I am very passionate about creating social change – be it women’s rights, equality education and raising awareness about other important things. I have been teaching kids since school and it has always been very fulfilling.”
Currently, Anushka works remotely. Her professional journey began when she moved to Pune for her first job. However, there was something else that pushed Anushka to travel. The 21-year-old celebrated her first Cancer anniversary on August 2.
In 2021 she was diagnosed with stage two blood cancer. How does anyone process news like this?
“I didn’t know what the future held, I was just numb. The news was too big to be consumed. Was this a dead end to everything?”
Eventually, she decided that she couldn’t let it stop her. The first step was to take hold of the job she had.
When her internship with NomadGao ended, she moved on to working with other NGOs such as the Led By foundation. With Social Impact, she led the program for the incubation of women’s leadership and worked closely with Indian Muslim women. She directly impacts 500 women and works in an all-women team too.
“The latter was unplanned but it has been wonderful!”, Anushka adds. “I manage all end-to-end operations of the professional development program – from sorting out the curriculum to making sure all goals are met.”
“I asked my team to let me go home. I wanted to continue working but just wanted to be home. While the organisation has strict rules about quitting and joining again, they were pretty flexible with me. I am someone who needs to stay busy and have something meaningful to do. This job helped me stay grounded.”
Anushka had her first big surgery on her birthday. Over time when she experienced hair loss because of chemotherapy, she even decided to go wigless!
Anushka wasn’t very comfortable staying at home, but she knew she had to come back for her tests. So she decided to travel as much as she could because that’s what made her happy.
She started venturing out – explored Bir and Rajasthan with her friends while managing work. Then she came back to Gurugram and realised that she did not like being there. That’s when she moved to Dharamkot.
“NomadGao’s first coliving and coworking space in Himachal had just opened up then and life had come full circle. I started out with them as an intern and was now a customer. It is such a wonderful feeling to go from being a student to an intern to a professional, from a nobody to a somebody!”
She had no expectations for Dharamkot but that’s where she realised what remote work really means. She was meeting people in NomadGao whose offices didn’t know that they were in the mountains. Unlike them, she had a supportive team.
“Coliving and Coworking in Dharamkot with NomadGao was very experiential. This was my first time living alone since my treatment. It was definitely challenging for me. In Dharamkot it took me some time to acclimatise and get used to the place and the weather.”
Gradually she pushed herself, fought her negative thoughts and embraced Dharamkot with all her heart.
“I found my work-life balance while working remotely from Dharamkot. The dedicated coworking space carried a productive vibe with it that pushed me to get work done. Moreover, you are never alone at NomadGao – the digital nomad community is always there. You know each other’s schedules and you can hit each other up when you are done with work”
In Dharamkot, she even ended up working as the community manager at NomadGao. Her love for being around communities made her stay another month and take up that exciting role. It was evident that what fuelled Anushka was her love for travel and meeting new people.
Contrary to our other features, here is a story about starting out in your twenties, braving the unexpected, figuring out your finances and just watching things fall into place.
“I am still figuring out my finances – I want to save but I also want to invest in new experiences and in myself. My work and NomadGao have given me the platform to break free of the monotony of working from the office and leave my negative thoughts during my cancer journey behind.
I do see myself working remotely and not going back to the office. I love my team and want to hang out with them, but I want to be a digital nomad over the long term.”
We asked her what advice she would give to people who want to switch from office and work remotely full time. This is what she had to say:
“In the beginning, switching from work from office to working from anywhere will be confusing and figuring out your professional and personal space will be difficult. The boundaries can get blurry and you will end up taking up more calls than you should.
However, be honest with your team and don’t take too many calls. The switch is amazing – it gives you the time to just be and reflect. With remote work, you don’t always have to travel, but if you actually want to do things apart from your job, you can do those as well.
Try to seek a balance and don’t go overboard with having fun – take meetings, and meet deadlines, but use the abundant time to push yourself and be more creative.”
Anushka’s journey is a reminder for you to not let challenges back you down. Find a community that will support you, make the change and take a leap of faith. The light at the end of the tunnel will be worth everything!