• Diksha Khanolkar

Aerostel - The Beginning (Part 1)

It started with a game that every child plays- House (let's be real and call it 'ghar ghar) - you roleplay with your sibling and pretend to be neighbours and giggle over little things. My version was a tad bit different- I was a boss in an office - with 0 clue with regards to WHAT the adult world actually did inside the confines of those shiny glass facade towers. I would pretend to know what a CEO does and operate an office in my imaginary world. This may have been a game but it held an important space in my mind and heart for years to come. I had ONE vision - to never work a 9-5 and to create a world out of passion and live everyday working as an owner of something I have created.

I would often argue with adults who would try and persuade me that I needed a corporate job to survive and put food on the table. It was such a simple concept to me - If you love and believe in something, how hard would it be to turn it into a business?

I held on to this thought in my brain as I continued to finish my high-school and later a commerce degree. I breezed through my education - finishing at the top of my class almost every year. It was when I finished my masters degree with no curtain of education to hide behind that I actually had to step up and finally put some substance into my lifelong claims.

It was a usual fun education-ends-lets-party Goa trip with friends that led me to discover my passion. Travel? Yes but,

An even bigger passion - People.

I knew I had to be in a people business, I had a yearning to travel and a spontaneous Thailand trip with my sister had opened up a world of culture to me.

Now how would I combine the two?

I had to create a business where different cultures came together.

I decided to start a backpackers hostel in none other than the tourist capital of India - Goa.

It was a dream. My family supported my dreams with no question or doubt in mind. They brought my vision to life, each corner of the hostel, from the rooftop to my reception chair. They placed the princess in her castle and moved their entire life to Goa to support this dream. They uprooted their entire lives and believed in it as much or maybe more than I did. There were fleeting moments of fear in my mind which quickly passed away when I remembered my own mantra - If you love and believe in it- There’s no reason why it wouldn’t succeed.

And Thus, Aerostel Goa was born in late 2018.

A 23 year old, fresh out of college living her dream of owning a business, a business she so dearly loved. Aerostel quickly picked up steam and was sold out in its first weekend - a sigh of relief. I made it.

Just as I was standing on the top of the world - I was pushed off a cliff.

Aerostel brought me back to the ground. It taught me patience - while dealing with the most stubborn guests. It taught me how to not judge - Guys from Odissa, Uncles from Kerala, Truck drivers from the UK, Hippies from Arambol- I loved them all. The filter and judgemental side with which I viewed the world, that had emerged from living in a city like Mumbai had suddenly vanished. It was a new kind of freedom.

Aerostel taught me resilience - Off seasons tested our patience and pushed us to wonder if we ever made the right decision but we were resilient. My mom and dad stood with me like a rock. On days that I thought I would give up, they jumped in and all of us stepped our game up.

It’s been over a year and a half now - and I can safely say my decisions may have been quick and dreamy and not supported by logic but that’s who I am and what I hope to showcase through this blog. This is only the part 1 of the Aerostel story, and a lot more is yet to come: The main players of this hostel - The people who make it what it is, the funny stories that we have witnessed over 2 years, the countless birthdays we have seen and people we have become family with.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

If you have been part a of our Aerostel journey and fam, drop in a comment and let's talk about our most fun hostel moments!

Here are some fun moments:



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Diksha Khanolkar

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House no-2/201, Naikawaddo, Between Hotel Calangute Towers and Cafe Sussegado, Calangute 403516 India

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