My Week in Tulum: A Shamanic Peyote Ceremony & Exploring the Natural Wonders with New Friends

The week I spent in Tulum was one of the major highlights of my journey through this region of Mexico. Not even getting bit by a stray dog on my first full day could ruin all that lie ahead of me. Exploring the natural wonders and participating in an inspiring plant medicine ceremony in this gorgeous coastal city with a bunch of new friends from all over the world can help you get over just about anything.


I arrived in Tulum late at night and was welcomed to the hostel by a couple of friendly Argentinian guys. Quick travel note: When traveling in Mexico be prepared to meet a ton of people from the following countries:

  1. Argentina
  2. Germany
  3. Canada
  4. Australia (This also goes for the rest of the world. These people are everywhere. There is no escape.)
  5. USA
  6. Obviously Mexico

First thing after breakfast the next morning I hopped on my complimentary rental bike from the Lobo Inn Hostel and headed into town. About five minutes into my journey I heard a dog barking behind me. Then it got closer… and closer… until the poor hungry bastard bit my heel.


Thankfully he found the stench of my feet unbearable and walked away immediately after the attack. I didn’t incur any major injuries or get rabies… I hope.

After drowning the wound in antiseptic, I then headed to visit my friend Rodrigo’s gallery, TAI Gallery located in downtown Tulum on the corner of Chetumal-Cancún/ Mexico 307 & Acquario Sur.


He and I met at an Ayahuasca ceremony in Tepoztlán back in February of last year. After the ceremony, we began to chat and he told me that if I were ever in town when he had a peyote ceremony I should join. Obviously I agreed and here I am in Tulum for a ceremony. That story I’ll save for the end of this post as it served as the grand finale of my week long stay in the area.

In his gallery, all the jewelry is made by the shamans of the Wixarika or Huichol community.


When they are at the ceremonias, they see what they have to do in their lifes, so kauyumari (the blue deer) gives them all the tools to keep walking and leave offerings.


One of these tools is the ability to make beautiful jewelry, so they have an income to buy food and a roof to live under.


All the jewelry is inspired directly from visions they have during ceremonies. The colours to put in, the history and prayer that goes into each bead they use is a gift of patience, love, and talent.

My ceremony would be at the end of the week, so I had plenty of time to explore in the meantime!

Tulum is home to some of the most gorgeous beaches in all of Mexico, so I made sure to explore them, along with the ruins, right after meeting up with Rodrigo.




After a couple days on the soft-sand beaches amongst the coconut palm trees I met up with my friend Finn from Germany. We met back at the Mezcal Hostel in Cancún and decided to go exploring the Ruins and cenotes of Coba just an hour north of the city.

 

COBA

After exploring and scaling the ruins of Coba, we rented some bikes and took off for the Cenotes just a few miles away.


Cenotes are natural pits or sinkholes resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath.

Come join me on my descent into the Earth in the time-lapse video below.

Once deep inside the Earth, we were greeted by some of the freshest groundwater we’ve ever encountered. What better way to cool off after a day of scaling ruins and


I’m not gonna do what everyone thinks I’m gonna do and just…. flip out man!

Some live music at Batey in downtown Tulum after our adventure.


The next day I headed off to the hostel where the German girls I met back in Cancún were staying before we headed to what we were told were the best cenotes in the area.

But first I had to get a photo with the biggest dream catcher I’ve ever seen.


The term “dream big” became the recurring joke of the day.

We headed off on our 20 mile bicycle journey north of Tulum to the Dos Ojos Cenote.

Biking that long will work up a hell of an appetite, so before diving into the caves we made sure to order a ton of fresh ceviche.


Now we’re ready for our descent into the caves!

The cenotes Finn and I swam in in Coba the other day were no way as fun as the cenotes of Dos Ojos.

Of course we had to get a group shot before heading back to Tulum.


And of course someone’s bike chain had to fall off every mile or so on theway back.


Later that night we said goodbye to Yannick and Florian who were headed to Merida. This would not be the last I saw of these crazy Austrians.

 

To finish off my time in Tulum I would participate in an incredible peyote ceremony administered by my friend Rodrigo and a few others.

No phone usage allowed during the ceremony to allow deep introspection. I did however snap a photo of our Shaman guide the morning after the all night ceremony.


After the ceremony we gathered our offerings of fruits, vegetables and flowers and headed to the beach to watch the sunrise and gift them to the ocean. I’ve had many plant medicine ceremonies over the past year, but this one was very special and I wanted something to remember it.

As I mentioned earlier, there is a plethora of this jewelery available at Rodrigo’s TAI Gallery located in downtown Tulum. After browsing through the shop and seeing the gorgeous bracelet below with a vision of a bird weaved into into it, I immediately knew it was made for me.


The person I’ve been evolving into over my past year and a half of travel values the lessons and the experiences we take with us when our bodies die and are returned to the earth and our spirit returns to source. In my new way of living, material objects serve little purpose unless they act as a reminder to the aforementioned.

As of very recently, I was glad to hear that thanks to a little networking, my friend Lee was able to arrange an Ayahuasca ceremony at the same location we had the peyote ceremony the previous month.


It is one of the greatest gifts in life to play even the smallest part in the divine timing that helps connect others through ceremony.

Next stop: Merida.

Isla Mujeres (The Island of Women), Getting “Happy” & Cancún

After my break-up, Cancún and The Island of Women were the logical next stops in my journey.

ISLA MUJERES

The day after the end of my relationship, I hopped on a plane from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Cancún to begin my month-long backpacking trip through Mexico that I had been planning for months. As you would imagine, I was by no means in the mood to travel… not yet at least. Luckily I had my spirits lifted by many other travelers along the way, but it all started with the two women that I met shortly after arriving back in Mexico.

Here are brief summaries of our interactions.

Wendy:

Immediately after touching down in Cancún, I hopped on a van to take me to the water taxi to Isla Mujeres. The moment I sat down in the last available seat on the van, I was greeted with a smile from a lovely woman also headed to the same destination. Her name was Wendy and she is a grandmother from Wisconsin. We talked the entire way to the island about life, traveling, relationships and of course… politics.

During my two day stay on the island, we coincidentally ran into each other twice at the same breakfast place. There we talked some more as she showed off pictures of her daughter, her son-in-law and grandchild, you know… grandma stuff.

Throughout our talks, we kept coming back to the same topic regarding how so many people on this planet have such an obscure view on the rest of the world and live in their own little personal bubbles or alternative realities.

In her spare time, Wendy enjoys drawing and bestowed upon me this masterpiece she created as a reminder for herself.


I am very grateful to have met her and to have run into her on several occasions on that crazy little island off the coast of Cancún.

Lee:

Before arriving in Isla Mujeres, a friend from back in Puerto Escondido said to reach out to a friend of his that lived on the island. So I did and we met for coffee and a walk on the beach with the dog she was babysitting for a friend.


After talking with her for a short period of time, I learned some things about our mutual friend that I never would have known had we not met. Apparently this friend of ours convinced her to follow through with a yoga teacher training that proved to be a life changing experience for her.

I learned a very deep lesson in our exchange. That lesson is this:

My judgement of others has usually been rooted in my limited personal experience with them and doesn’t take into account all the other factors that have shaped their character. After all, what are we but a makeup of all that we’ve experienced throughout our lives? Being quick to judge someone based on our bounded knowledge of any person is not just ignorant, but lazy.

I’ll be sure to make a better effort to try and understand more and judge less.

Movie star and internet meme sensation, Nicholas Cage, once said:

Understanding is deeper than knowledge. There are many people who know you, but very few who understand you.

So Lee, thanks for helping me stumble upon that lesson, even if done inadvertently.

She and I would meet later on in my backpacking journey for a plant medicine ceremony on the beach in Tulum, but that story that will have to wait for my next post.

Sunset @ Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres

GETTING “HAPPY”

Even after a good start in Isla Mujeres, I still felt like I needed an extra boost to help get myself back in the right mental space to really enjoy myself.

Luckily for me, not too long ago I was informed of a brand new start-up company called “Happy the App“.

It has a similar business model as Uber where you can access on demand emotional support with a few taps of your smartphone. Several months ago, I was interviewed to be a part-time “Happy Giver”, got the job and am currently part of their beta testing while their launch date is slated for March 2017. Through this testing phase, all Happy Givers are encouraged to log in to give or receive “happy” in order to practice our skills in holding space for others going through tough times. Needless to say, I was in need of receiving some happy so I decided to call in a couple of times. On one of those calls, I was lucky enough to be connected with a woman named Nancy who stayed on the call with me for nearly two hours as I unpacked all my newfound emotional baggage that I’ve been carrying around the past few days.

There are times in our life where we get stuck in the gutter of our emotions and just need to talk it out with someone who is gifted in the art of listening, compassion, empathy and understanding that can ask us the questions necessary to assist us in drawing out the feelings blocking the flow of love from our hearts.

For anyone adverse to seeking a therapist to remove emotional blockages and feel that all they need is someone to listen, hear their story and offer compassion, I highly recommend giving “Happy” a try. My two hour vent session with Nancy more than helped me jump-start what would prove to be my most life-changing backpacking adventure to date.

CANCÚN

As most of us know, Cancún is known for its beautiful beaches, wild nightlife and is synonymous with Spring Break. Due to recent circumstances, I still wasn’t exactly pumped to partake in any of the aforementioned activities.

Buuuuuut, when you are staying in a hostel full of interesting travelers from all corners of the Earth and a cute blonde Brazilian girl asks you if you’re going clubbing with the rest of the crew that night, well…..

How about that… I actually had a great time! Nothing like a night of clubbing at The City in Cancùn to shake things up a bit and give me a chance to let the beast out of its cage.

The next day, most of the hostel was in fairly bad shape primarily due to the copious amounts of rum and tequila imbibed the previous night. So we took it easy and stayed at the hostel bar for dinner.

Thanks to Nico, our Argentinian bartender at the Mezcal Hostel in Cancún, for helping us nurse ourselves back to life with the same poison from the night before.

Thanks Nico👍🏼


That was also the night I met two lovely ladies from Germany that were on holiday and doing a bit of traveling in Quintana Roo and the Yucatán as well.

Mary & Nina

The girls next stop was Holbox and then Tulum while I was heading directly to Tulum. So we exchanged info and made plans to meet once they arrived.

Tulum is where my journey started to get really interesting, but that story will have to wait for my next post.

Thanks for following!

✌🏼️😎