Why Go to Goa? - A Past Guest's Take on India's More Relaxed Region

We want to introduce you to Bonnie, one of our most loyal EPM guests - she's been a friend for years and has attended 13 EPM retreats since we began and is already signed up on a few more on the upcoming calendar! She's an amazing adventurous soul who continues to inspire us with her free spirit. Thanks Bonnie for taking the time to write this post about your experience in Goa!

The first time I went to Goa, I was absolutely shocked! 

Driving from the Goa airport, the very first thing I saw was a huge billboard advertising whiskey!  Then we passed by a river filled with big luxury Loveboats which were permanently anchored for the purpose of gambling. And then, wherever I looked, Christian churches, and not a temple in sight! I had just spent 5 weeks in Northern India where were the cows walking in the middle of the road holding up traffic. In fact, where was the traffic, the crowds, the random piles of stinking trash? Where were the stray, hungry groups of dogs, barely trusting each other but staying together for attack strength? - I thought, this isn't the India I've known...but that isn't necessarily a bad thing!

Goa is to India like the Riviera is to France. It's a place to "get away" from it all, to relax, and to feel a bit more like you're experiencing the Indian culture, without being bombarded by it. It's "India-lite" as they say. Initially, Goa was founded by the Christian Portuguese, well known for their boating and fishing skills, and that permeates the area, but also lives happily, side by side, with the Hindus and Buddhist and other lesser known Eastern religions.

One of the main highlights - THE BEACHES! This was also a unique experience for me being in India...I felt like I could have been in Southern CA in a perfect beach pub, excellent food and drinks, a big dance floor with people actually dancing, and the big, beautiful ocean perhaps a hundred feet away with lots of lounge chairs In between. And this was just one of many.

We also visited the biggest craft market I had ever seen! Pretty much anything you'd want to buy for yourself or bring home as gifts all in one stop! And if you're a fast shopper (or non-shopper like me) there's another beach right there and another beach club. And there are lots more up and down the coast.

For those of you who have had the EAT.PRAY.MOVE experience, you know the highlight of every retreat is SPA DAY! I bet you can't imagine how wonderful it is to lie back for 2-3 hours, until every part of your body tingles unless you've been to Goa with Erin and EPM.

Since Goa is a tourist destination for East Indians, the restaurants have delicious Indian meals, and one of the bonuses of being in Goa is that not only do they serve unique food from Goa, but also a taste of just about all the regions of India, north and south.

So can it get any better than this? Yes! Because Julian from EASEL&LENS (EPM collaborator on the yoga + art retreats ) is there, helping us create wonderful travel journals and showing even the most doubtful of us that we, too, have the ability to make art, and have great fun at the same time.

The history, beauty, excursions, culture, people, food, boutique hotels, relaxation, friendship, world class yoga, art and more, always more, keep bringing me back!

Try it...you'll love it!