Iquitos: Packing To Hallucinate In The Jungle.

The idea of this Seven in Seven trip originated with my desire to go on this trip to Iquitos.

Last Spring, I picked up a book called "Gypset Travel", published by Assouline. In it were all kinds of stories of the gypset (gypsy-types with access to funds) and where they travel to in the world. All kinds of awesome destinations were written about, along with the personal experiences of each gypsetter. But one experience really piqued my interest...

Alto Paraiso in Brazil!

Mind you, I didn't have so much of a calling to go to Brazil itself. I'm sure it's lovely. And maybe someday I will have a true desire to go there. But what I was more interested in was the experience that was had in Alto Paraiso... Drinking ayahuasca.

It is made from the roots of a tree only grown in the Amazon jungle, and it is used by shamanic healers (medicine men) to help one heal. Basically... You drink it (and it tastes gross - from what I've researched), you throw up or have a very urgent need to go to the bathroom (called "la purga") and hallucinate for a few hours. The shamans use it to help you "purge" yourself of what you are holding onto that you need to release. You see some trippy stuff.

Never having hallucinated, but having loved all of my shamanic experiences to date (meditation-based), I was totally IN for this kind of adventure. Only thing is, you can't really do it anywhere in the states. There are some religious groups that are allowed to have ayahuasca ceremonies in the states, but other than that it is illegal to offer the root here in the states.

But besides... I would rather go to the Amazon and take it with a Shaman watching over me anyways! So I researched "ayahuasca retreats"... And found several. But quickly put the idea out of my head of actually going to one.

"When would I have time? And The Husband would never let me go. And he certainly doesn't have any desire to take a long flight to the jungle to stay for a week in a hut with no electricity to hallucinate every night for a week."

But after our split last Fall, I decided, "I'm going to book that retreat! I have a desire to travel!" Only problem was, this particular retreat sells out very quickly with each new session that is set up. It's very well organized. And very popular. The earliest I would be able to attend was the last week of January 2014.

So I booked it. But thought to myself, "there are so many places I want to see!"  And that's how the Seven in Seven idea came about for me. Iquitos, Peru was intended to be my South American stop on the tour. Till I booked Antarctica, and Argentina became it.

But now, my departure date to Iquitos is almost here. I leave this Friday. The retreat starts on Sunday. And the retreat I am staying at is so well-organized that I keep receiving very detailed emails about my airport pick-up, my hotel stay in Iquitos, the drop-off in the jungle at the retreat... All kinds of things. Including last-minute things I will need to buy, like a headlamp. (Which I am picking up today at the REI store, along with insect repellent.)

I have my Antarctica parka to use as a raincoat AND a new Osprey backpack for my trip. I am not taking a suitcase of any kind - not after having my luggage lost by the airline on the journey home. (Still shaking my fist at them!)

There is no way they can force me to check this backpack this time. I even bought a scale to weigh the sucker now that it is fully packed...

It currently weighs 15 pounds, fully packed. This means I still have two pounds to play with before hitting the maximum for an international carry-on.


So what do I have in there? Here's my list:

  • 12 pairs of underwear
  • 2 pairs of jean cut-offs
  • 3 pairs of cropped yoga pants
  • 1 pair of sport sandals
  • 1 set of Bikram clothes (bathing suit!)
  • 1 pair of long yoga pants
  • 6 t-shirts
  • 4 light-weight hippie dresses
  • 1 tunic
  • travel toiletries bag

No make-up needed. Just the stuff to keep me clean. I may not even bring my laptop, since I am not going to have electricity except when at the hotel in Iquitos on the days before and after the retreat. I am bringing my Kindle Paperwhite though. As well as my camera. But I am not allowed to take pictures or video during the medicine ceremonies each night. But a journal for writing is highly recommended.

Now THAT should be trippy! Wonder what kinds of gibberish I will create while hallucinating pretty colors and vomiting?