It’s that time of the year again.
You dust off your shiniest dresses, pick out your hardiest chappals, and carefully pack your brand new gold aviators.
You stuff everything into your duffel bag, assure your mum that you won’t stay out too late, that Breezers are the new whiskey, and that yes, yes, you’ll definitely be using plenty of that nice white powder (the prickly heat one she packed for you, of course).
As for me? Well, it’s that time of the year when I stock up on earplugs and patiently organise rides for every friend who finds themselves in Morjim at 5am, unable to remember their own name.
For you, it’s Goa Calling. For me, a resident of a tiny Goan village, it’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Part 5,738.
But either way, it’s December, and it’s Goa Time.
Times in Goa, however, are not fab.
Illegal mining has torn up large swaths of prime farmland and diverse ecosystems. The rising wealthy classes of large Indian cities are buying their second and third homes here: huge villas at the cost of forests; large apartment buildings at the cost of village homes.
Goa’s economy has historically relied on a thriving tourism industry — especially during the busy “season” between October and April.
But now, with newer types of wealth distribution and development tearing apart the fabric of Goan life, we are witnessing a new type of tourism – one that takes more away from Goa than it puts back.
Why should you, as a tourist, care?
Because, well, you know all those things you love about Goa? The laid-back attitude, the delicious local cuisine, the cheaply available intoxicants, the coconut trees that dot the skyline, making for the perfect selfie?
These things are rooted in lifestyles and livelihoods that are being eroded by opportunistic greed, and the new tourism industry is only making it worse.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.
All we’re asking from you is: Please help, don’t hinder. In other words, please don’t be a dick.
Here are some tips to get you started.