DOLCY D’CRUZ goasheartbeat@ heraldgoa.
com “ I never heard of this in Goa!” is a common expression one will get after glancing through the initial pages of ‘ Love Goa’, a book by Australian native, Fiona Caulfield. Fiona made India her home since 2004 and she is the author of ‘ Love Travel Guides’. “ I first came to Goa in 1992 and now for the past seven years I have been a frequent visitor to the state. When I first moved to India, I was homeless for a year until I moved to stay in a place in Ooty but I didn’t regret my decision to leave my previous lifestyle and come here,” says Fiona who specializes in ideas, branding, creativity and futurism for the past 20 years.
‘ Love Goa’ is Fiona’s fifth book featuring a city of the country. Previous guides were based on the cities of Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur. For every guide, Fiona does great research and speaks to different experts from the states to get a better insight and local stories. “ I never find it a grind to start a guide on a new city or the state. I feel like it’s a new book and I love doing a new destination.
These books are not just guides, they are guides that are written in a very different way. Imagine you have a friend in Goa who will not be in the state when you arrive. She writes a letter or email telling you about the amazing must dos and the places you should visit in Goa with little sketches.
That is how I have presented the guide, like a best friend guiding you along to see the wonders in that place,” says Fiona.
Visiting Goa for the past 20 plus years, Fiona says, “ Goa is beautiful and there are constant changes in every place. Some developments are good, some not so good. When I first came to Goa, it was just for a week that I spent on the beach. But now I want authenticity in the place and that is something every tourist wants when they visit. Beaches are just part of Goa’s appearance, they are beautiful and I have mentioned the beaches in the guide but I find the rivers more fantastic and as one moves into the hinterland there is more to explore. I have travelled the rivers of Goa in different modes, including ferries and kayaking.” For every love guide, Fiona has written, each book is printed on hand made paper, which gives the reader a very relaxed feel and every book has a colour. For Goa, the colour is green and it comes in a ‘ khadi’ cover with a Goa map and a silk pouch.
“ Goa is often associated with blue colour of the beaches but I feel that Goa has a million shades of green. I have been working on the book for two years, travelling to each place mentioned in the book and speaking to thousands of people and each of them gave their opinions,” says Fiona who is also working on other cities and states of India and is also planning to write on Morocco as a travel destination.
What sets Fiona’s ‘ Love Goa’ apart from other guides is the fact that it comes without a detailed Goa map. On the contrary, it gives concise information about different activities that take place in Goa with a different kind of map. “ The book has well served information and the maps in the book are designed to plan instead of travel,” she concludes.
( The launch of ‘ Love Goa’ by Fiona Caulfield and ‘ The Disappearing Professions of Goa’, photographs by Claire Arni will be held on December 29, 2011 from 7pm onwards at Literati, Calangute)