“It is not down in any map; true places never are.” – Herman Melville
For a slice of a real Goan paradise move away from the usual beaches & crowd of Goa. Stay with a local Goan family in their ancestral home, discover the silent blue backwaters, go fishing and canoe riding, travel back in time to Indo-Portuguese architecture and traditional bakeries. Experience the ‘sushegad‘ way of life in the charming, cozy villages.
Here are 3 B’s that will help you live like a local and really appreciate your next trip to Goa.
Rent a Homestay : Instead of hotels, opt for homestays to get a real feel of local life. A homestay can provide complete immersion into Goan culture. Let your hosts regale you with stories of the Portuguese times gone and their views on current affairs. Get a glimpse of their everyday lives and mingle with your laid-back neighbors as they catch up on the village gossip.
Taste of Goa : Treat your taste buds to the delights of home-cooked authentic Goan food. The soft pao with chicken cafreal, fish curry rice, bebinca are some of the special delights. You can even enroll yourselves in some cooking classes on your vacation to Goa. It’s a wonderful activity for families or solo travelers. And you get to eat what you prepare! Food reveals much about the culture of a country, local agriculture and the artisans who make the regional delicacies.
Places to visit : Locals can connect us to a place like no one else can. Discover the ancient rock-cut caves, heritage houses in Divar, breathtaking waterfalls in Netravali, pristine lakes and some secret untouched beaches. Go street shopping at the local mapusa market or take a walk at Fontainhas the old Latin quarters in Panjim.
Learn about Goan Culture : If you want to feel like a local, you better look like one. To start with, research the standards of dress that locals usually wear in Goa. This will make it easy to mingle with locals more likely. Learn a few words in the native language, be open to cultural differences, be sure to be sensitive to issues of dress and behaviour.
Be a part of clan by participating in local festivals, taking part in carnivals or jatras, going to witness folk dance & natak (skit) performances. Don’t miss to go street shopping at local village feasts. That’s what will make you feel like you are a part of the community, that you belong there!
Things to do : Get your hands on pottery making, learn about Cashew feni making or bread baking process at a local bakery. Somewhere in all the hustle-bustle of travel take time for things you probably never have enough time to enjoy it when you’re at home- to ride cycles, jog, fish, or do some yoga .
Volunteer : How about a service-based vacation? If volunteer work makes your heart sing, this is the perfect way to immerse yourself in Goan countryside. You can join local causes and help save animals, build homes, paint schools or teach children. Not only will you meet locals, but you’ll also be making a difference in their lives.
You can buy local products whenever possible instead of those that have been flown or shipped in from overseas. You’ll support the local economy and get a taste of native cuisine.
“Every perfect traveler always creates the country where he travels.” – Nikos Kazantzakis
Cheers to the traveler in you. Stay tuned for more of such blogs.
~Written by Arya Sinai Agni1