Live and cycle in Goa, India
In 2008 I decided to live in Goa for half a year, ride a one-speed Indian bicycle, and chronicle my journey as a single woman of Goan descent. I wrote more than 60 stories, and then returned to Goa in 2014 to write a book. I photographed more than 100 Goa Moments in that four-month visit.
Click Stories to browse the story index. You can view the Goa Moments and read all the posts at once. You can also check the popular stories in the sidebar for thoughts such as It Runs in The Family. And take a look at the Photos with images of people and places in Goa.
My name is Ulrike Bemvinda Rodrigues and I joke that I’m a typical Canadian—my mother is from Austria, my father is a Goan whose family emigrated from Portuguese-occupied India to British-occupied Burma (now Myanmar). They met and married in England, I was born in Germany, and we moved to Canada when I was six.
Bemvinda is my middle name, my grandmother’s name and a way of saying “welcome” in Portuguese. I didn’t know that when I read the word “bemvindo” at the top of a menu a few years ago—I thought it meant “all you can eat” or “dinner special.”
Until just a few years ago, I also didn’t know that Goa—the place my father’s family comes from—was a Portuguese state in India until 1961. It never occurred to me that my last name, Rodrigues, isn’t a traditional Indian name. Or that being raised Roman Catholic isn’t a traditional Indian religion.
This blog is about me learning all that first hand: from October 2008 to April 2009 I lived, cycled and wrote in Goa for six months. I discovered and blogged what Goa means to people who live there. I met neighbours, relatives, expats and visitors. I bought and rode an Indian one-speed cycle and pedalled aimlessly.
I write about two-wheeled and independent travel because more girls and women need to hear that it is okay to be curious and adventurous.