Packing for a two week plant ceremony in the jungle of the Peruvian Amazon is unique. The trip itself involves flying to Lima, then to Tarapoto (or whatever town is nearest the facility), then a bus ride and often another boat ride before a final hike into the facility. Temperatures range 20 degrees from night to day this time of year and it rains almost daily, so layers and items that wick sweat/moisture away from skin are helpful. Taking the right amount of the right gear prevents undue strain on guides and ourselves. Since today is my last Saturday to shop before we leave, I’m going out to grab a few more quick-dry shirts.
I thought I’d share some packing stuff I learned working at REI and on my last trip. I’m wearing jeans, a shirt, and hiking boots to fly to Lima. In my pack, I’ll have Chaco hiking sandals and Vibram 5 Fingers for my feet (thankfully they have essential rubber boots at the center), 7 each quick dry or athletic shirts and pants, a rain jacket, a thin jacket for cool nights, 7 pair of hiking socks and athletic undergarments for each day. All natural, unscented, biodegradable toiletries preserve the jungle and the ceremony (scent also attracts mosquitoes), though I have one scented product: Dr. Braunner’s lavender (milder scent than the peppermint) soap to wash hair and clothes. Outfits are packed in plastic bags to keep dry and enable sorting between clean/dirty and wet/dry for my return home. I’ll wear the same jeans home I wear there only with a clean shirt and my hiking boots again to save pack space. My carry-on home will be souvenirs.
Essential extras include my journal, camera and extra batteries, binoculars, water purification tablets/straws, and a headlamp or other flashlight with extra batteries. Since I’ve had my credit card information stolen when traveling previously, I’ll take cash and use my card only for hotel rooms and air travel. (Like most, ours is a prepaid, all-inclusive ceremony, so I only need cash for tips, taxis and souvenirs.) Also taking allowed fruits/veggies and boiled eggs for the trip helps to curb hunger while honoring la dieta.
Many have asked me about mosquitoes and I actually bought netting for my last trip and the strongest repellent I could find…only to throw it all away for my flight home because I never needed it! When I first arrived into the jungle, I was about to slather on a layer of that stuff when I noticed a younger guide nearby watching me. I asked him, “What do you all use to keep from getting eaten by the mosquitoes?”
“We silently ask them not to bite us and they don’t.”
“Yes, we respect them and they respect us. You can do it too. Just close your eyes and ask them not to bite you.”
I thought, why not? I closed my eyes and asked them not to bite me and warned them that my clothes had been treated and if they bit me through my clothes, they would die. I went on my hike and did not sustain one bite. I continued this practice every morning of the week I was there and received no bites at all! Now I can’t say whether it was because I asked them, because I warned them they would die, or because I was partaking in ceremonies using local plants and integrating them into my body, but they truly never bothered me at all. This time, I’m taking nothing and my clothes are untreated.
Our trip is soon now and I’m getting really excited! My passport sits open on my night stand to my last Peru stamp.
Today’s Ceremony Detox Menu: Blueberry-coconut-wheatgrass smoothie and a boiled egg for breakfast. Water and herbal teas throughout the day. Celery sticks for morning snack. Steamed vegetables over rice for lunch. Apple for afternoon snack. Split pea soup that’s been cooking all day in the crock pot for dinner.
Tonight’s Unplugged Time: Mock packing to determine which backpack to carry, nature walk, time with cats, write a letter to my godmother (pen pals since I was 5), and sleep.
Namaste and much love,
Spirit guided me to create this “Countdown to Sacred Plant Medicine Intensive” blog series to help demystify this sacred healing/awakening path while simplifying the dietary preparations by sharing practical ways I am preparing for the Amazon while working and living in a modern society. If something I share sparks your curiosity or interest, please COMMENT BELOW and let’s create a conversation here. I receive no compensation for sharing here but am drawn by my heart to create a safe space and portal of possibility for anyone seeking hope and help to know there are many natural solutions we have not fully explored. Only by searching within and carefully selecting holistic modalities that resonate for us and practitioners who hold their work and healing space sacred can we truly unlock our own amazing journey of possibilities! I am here for you if I can help in any way.