Apprenticeship Update: BIG Changes for The Professional Hobo

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In 2015, I published a post announcing my apprenticeship with a shaman in Peru (in case you missed it, you can read about it here: Becoming a Shaman). Since then, I’ve had numerous requests from readers for an apprenticeship update as to what this apprenticeship (which started in November 2014) is like, what it entails, and how it’s going.

And so I wrote an update. It was beautiful. It delved into what it’s like to apprentice with a shaman, to work with plant medicines, to learn an art that has no textbook or checklist of learning points, what it is to be a “healer”, and the long-term reciprocal commitment my teacher and I had made to one another in working together.

And then, before I got a chance to publish this most excellent update, everything changed.

Everything.

Fin del camino – This is the end of the road…..

This post was originally published in 2016. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content. 

Apprenticeship Update: Big Changes

These big changes went down in April, but I haven’t had the heart – nor the words – to say much about it until now. Even now, I don’t feel ready for what I’m about to write; somehow to put it in writing and publish it for the world to see makes it all the more real. More permanent. And given my current circumstances, that reality and finality has been both painful and scary.

But here goes.

The day I returned to my home in Peru after spending a few weeks in Canada and Ireland, my teacher sat me down for a talk. Without preamble, he pulled the plug on everything.

I would no longer be studying plant medicine with him.

I would no longer be assisting him with all his ceremonies and retreats.

I would need to move out of the house I was living in, which was on his property.

The assistance he was giving me in attaining my Peruvian residency would end, and all the hard work (and money) dedicated since January to get my residency was for naught.

And given the above four abrupt and hurtful announcements, our deep friendship was over.

The circumstances that led my teacher to this decision are largely irrelevant – or at least out of the scope of what I’m prepared to write about at this time. In short, it was unexpected, and very much unwanted.

What’s Next for The Professional Hobo?

That’s a really good question, and another reason why I’ve hesitated to write about all this.

I don’t know what’s next.

I have no answers. After eight years of full-time travel, I was really happy to have found a place I wanted to call “home” – even though I wasn’t consciously looking for “home” all those years. And in my 2+ years in Peru, I had found home, community, and a new exciting life path of working with plant medicine.

But in the last couple of months of remaining here after these changes, I’ve come to understand that I need to leave Peru – at least for a while – for my own healing and growth.

When I sold everything in Canada in 2006 to go traveling, I kept six boxes of stuff. In those six boxes were precious items that I couldn’t bear to part with; things that I thought might eventually go into a home – wherever and whenever such a thing would come to pass. And having found that home in Peru, I made a commitment and brought a lot of this stuff down with me during my last three trips to Canada. Add into the mix a variety of acquisitions (in the name of “nesting” and making my home more comfortable), and I’m no longer feeling anywhere near as mobile as I once was.

But mobile I must be. So I’m getting rid of everything (again), and reconnecting with that deep-seated fear – fear of the unknown, and of loss of control – and once again, breathing into it while preparing to make another leap of faith.

It’s terrifying….but it’s also liberating.

Not Knowing: I’ve Been Through This Before

In 2011, after four years on the road, I returned to Canada from New Zealand for the summer. I had absolutely no idea what I would be doing (or where) at the end of my time in Canada. I wrote an article about how at peace I was with this predicament (a poetic piece if I say so myself) – which was helpful for me to recently reread. (Curious? It’s this: Destiny is a Direction).

In the post I wrote about how I was sitting patiently waiting for the right opportunity to grab me. And it eventually did, serendipitously and just in time: I did the Ultimate Train Challenge, which involved traveling from Lisbon to Saigon in 30 days, all by train. (25,000kms in 30 days….it was an adventure that is chronicled in my book Tales of Trains: Where the Journey is the Destination).

From there, opportunities (at times coming in the strangest of ways) kept lining up for me, as they had in years gone by and did for years to come.

Fast forward to today. Once again, I’m at the whim of the world.

When the world is your oyster, where do you begin?

In my experience, mapping out your destiny/destinations without knowing what to do or where to start can be a bit excruciating.

(I wrote about this, and the concept that “choice” is not always a gift, in this post: The Paralysis of Choice)

So I’ve taken a page from my own book and just chilled out. Despite having lost my “home”, I’ve had places to stay in Peru courtesy of generous friends, and there has been no need to go anywhere or make any decisions more complicated than what to eat for dinner.

But this process of sitting in the discomfort of the unknown isn’t easy by any stretch (especially this time around, with this life change being brought upon me rather than instigated by me).

I don’t tend to choose my destinations; they choose me – usually in the form of a unique opportunity for free accommodation, visiting friends, attending events, or otherwise.

Serendipity has been a great guide for me in years’ past, and I trust it will continue to be. So I’ve kept my eyes and ears open for opportunities, and given my relatively blank slate, I’m curious to see what pops onto my radar next….and where.

It’s already paying off, with a number of opportunities (some of them quite unexpected) trickling in to slowly formulate a plan. The plan is far from solid, because I have an intuitive sense that I still need to wait for a few other pieces to fall into place. But I’m not far off spreading my wings and taking to a life on the road once again.

Whatever and wherever it is, I’m sure it will be good.

My Plant Medicine Path

In moments of greater clarity and selflessness, I see how this turn of events with my teacher is a gift – in more ways than one. I lived a charmed life working alongside him, and went seamlessly from being my teacher’s client, to his neighbour/tenant, to his student, friend, and assistant. (I believe this was also one of the root causes of the end of it all; too many blurred lines between these different aspects of our relationship).

Although any work with plant medicine and personal transformation is a tough road fraught with hard work, on many days I felt that my tough road was laced with diamonds. I was so blessed – as if it was almost too easy to step into this new career and lifestyle.

But the hard yards (at least on this path) are generally best walked alone. In order to develop my own relationship with ayahuasca and san pedro, and in order to develop my own “brand” or flavour of healing medicine, my hand can’t be held through the process.

I don’t know if I’m ever going to become a “shaman”. I’ll have to see what happens in the coming months and years. But I do know that on a personal level, I’ll continue to study and work with these plants that have changed my life and way of being.

Lessons Learned

I’ve learned a lot through having the rug pulled out from under me. They are good life lessons that I’ve taken on board (or been reminded of), and appreciate, such as:

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Student/teacher relationships are best not commingled with friendship. In my case, my teacher had become a central person in my life in just about every arena (except romantically). He was my landlord, teacher, boss, and friend. So in the dissolution of our relationship, everything crumbled and I was forced to make a full life change.

You earn your stripes during the hard times. These last couple of months haven’t been pretty. It’s all well and good to be “spiritual” during the easy times, but it’s when life throws you a sucker punch that you have a real chance to put into practice what you’ve learned. And I’m pleased to discover that I have a new understanding of many things as a result of having been through this crisis; I met the situation with a significantly higher level of awareness and compassion (towards myself and others), and been rewarded for it with a deeper sense of self and trust. This experience has been even more “enlightening” than the most “enlightening” of plant medicine ceremonies. And it’s because of the work I’ve done with plant medicine that I have this heightened awareness. It is said that the real ceremony begins when the plant medicine ceremony ends; personal growth and integration of ceremonial teachings happens fastest when we’re faced with challenges.

Life changes (aka sh*t happens). Nothing is a sure thing. And to think that anything in your life is a sure thing is not only dangerous but arrogant. Control is an illusion. The original tagline of my blog (way back in the pioneer days when I called it “Life Happens”) was “Life happens while we’re busy making plans”. And so it is.

All we have is the present moment. Whenever I’ve thought that “this is it” about something in my life as if it would remain that way forever, I’ve been taught that it can change – whether we bring in that change ourselves, or whether it’s brought upon us. The dissolution of my marriage (yes, I was married once), my lifestyle change to embrace full-time travel, surviving natural disasters, breakups on the road, a near-fatal accident, and this recent turn of events are all reminders that planning life  – or rather, counting on it – too far in advance is a gamble.

What we DO have, however, is the present moment, and we can continue to honour those moments for the gifts they bestow. Regardless of what happens in the future, I am grateful for the many precious moments I had in the last couple of years in Peru. They changed my life….as every day that we walk this planet, our lives (and our selves) continue to change.

My mind has been awash with cliches since all this happened, and as annoying as cliches can be at times, they became cliches for good reason; in many instances, they’re true.

This too…shall pass.

Everything happens for a reason.

Where one door closes, another one opens.

Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. 

When the student is ready, the teacher will (dis?)appear.

Damn you, cliches. You’re right.

I’ll cap off this post with another cliche that nicely encapsulates where I’m at without making any commitments to where I’m going:

Onwards and Upwards.

Note: After writing this article, I moved on to continue my studies of plant medicine at a retreat centre in Ecuador for almost nine months. You can learn about this final chapter in my shamanic studies here: Learning to be an Ayahuasca and San Pedro Shaman. 

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87 thoughts on “Apprenticeship Update: BIG Changes for The Professional Hobo”

  1. See, that wasn’t so bad to tell us. Great story and good lessons learned. Thanks! Carry on.
    Everyday is a gift.
    Kevin

    Reply
  2. Well, shoot, Nora, this is quite an upset for you. I’m feeling for you, and commiserating. Yes, it is always darkest before the dawn and somehow that thought isn’t much comfort in times like these. My personal favourite is that if you’re going through hell, just keep going.
    I have been facing some pretty serious challenges, too, and it really, for me anyway, quite hard to get back traveling again when I’ve been in one place for a while. It seems I crave the adventure of the road but want to come home to my safe secure little spot. Good luck and I await your next posting.

    Reply
    • Hey Barb,
      Yes, having a home base in Peru from which to travel was really nice. The leap back into the nomadic life is proving a wee bit more challenging this time around! But I’m easing into it… 😉

      Reply
  3. Hi Nora,

    Awww..What a lead pipe morning ! I’ve been following you for at least a couple of years and what I always admired about you is that no matter what happened, you always seemed to land on feet !

    So why should this time be any different ? You’re awash in platitudes and cliches about this situation so why should I add some of my own. ?

    So, safe travels and I look forward to your next ” installment ” !

    All the best,
    Dick

    Reply
    • Dick, you’re absolutely right. I will land on my feet, there’s no doubt about it. The rug was pulled out from under me, but in the grander scheme of things, this hardly destroyed my life. But it has been a shock to the system!
      The next instalment will come soon. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Nora,
    This shock seems just the thing for you now. It is evidently not time to put down roots in a particular location. You are needed elsewhere and everywhere. I find it rather synchronistic that you are being forced to give up even more possessions. I too am going through similar upsets and will soon join the road of traveling and having my home be my body. The soul’s path is such a unique and rewarding one. Thank you for writing about this. Know that you are not alone and it is for the best.

    Cheers!
    April

    Reply
    • Thank you, April, and beautifully said! Indeed, there seems to be some synchronicity to this, as many people are experiencing shake-ups at the moment. But bravo to you for hitting the road…let’s see where it takes us!

      Reply
  5. Nora, I don’t know about floating around in the universe….but I too am in the boat with you. Hang in there. Love ya, Max….I am in the U.S.A. Right now, selling my home, hope to be back in Pisac in October….we will see.

    Reply
    • Hey Max! So we’re both nomads, huh? I miss your laugh. Good luck selling your home, and here we go! Onwards and upwards. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Nora,

    I’m sorry things didn’t work out the you wanted in Peru but your post today helped me!

    I have been “sitting in the discomfort of the unknown” for over a year now since my husband and I returned from our travels around the world. I didn’t want to go back to what I was doing before so I’m filling my time and trying to figure out what to do next. My husband jumped back to his career with both feet and seems happy. Me – Still hasn’t been revealed to me what I will do next.

    Reading your post and following you on your journey reminds me to be present or “just be” as I have been telling myself and mire will hopefully be revealed.

    Big hug!

    If you travels ever bring you to the Phoenix, Arizona area would love to have you stay with us.

    -Del

    Reply
    • Hey Del,
      Thanks – and I’m glad this helped you! I hope you discover what makes your heart sing…when I’m searching for something I find it good to simplify everything and do less, to make space for something new to come in. Though this is also way easier said than done for me!

      Reply
      • It’s hard to admit but I think I’m not ready yet! So yes I will continue to keep it simple and am working on some physical healing (weight loss etc). For now, it needs to be enough. I’m just not very patient!

        I look forward to your future posts and see where it takes you.

        Reply
  7. Nora,

    I SO feel your pain right now. It seems everything I have planned the past 5 months has not happened (failed contracts, last minute cancellations, and set backs). But, in this CHAOS I realized that I have to leave where I am. I am relocating to Mexico this October.

    I realized the second that Mexico opened up—as if by magic a job opportunity as well as an apartment appeared.

    I have learned that we can feel rejected but in the big scheme of things we are being
    re-directed. Hugs. Sorry you are going through this. I know that fear of the unknown all too well.

    Reply
    • Hi Elaine,
      I love it when serendipitous things like Mexico happen! My life has largely been guided by such events, which is why I’m content to chill out for the moment, to see what comes. Good luck with your relocation!
      And thanks for the insight about redirection; I’ve felt this could be a universal nudge back on to my path (even though I thought I was on my path…oh the irony)!

      Reply
    • Thanks, Tim. I’m kind of excited to see where my future takes me, now that it’s not all mapped out for me any more. 😉

      Reply
  8. So sorry to hear about your really hard time, and grateful for your courage in sharing it all with us. Be well, be happy. You are not alone.

    Reply
  9. Hi Nora,

    How brave to put all of this “out there” for the world to see. Thank you for trusting all of us with this information. I believe that there will be a direct connection to the energy behind this story linking you with your “next chapter”. Your positive outlook is commendable, especially after having so many changes thrust upon you in one fell swoop. I admire that strength and wish you nothing but the best as you move forward. I look forward to hearing about some wonderful and exciting new opportunities for you that are lurking right around the corner! ~ Joanne

    Reply
    • Hi Joanne,
      Indeed – I’ve had some interesting things come of my most personal posts….so let’s see where the energy takes me this time! At the very least, I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of positive support coming from readers, friends, long lost pals, colleagues, and more. Today I awoke feeling much stronger and solid within myself than yesterday (before I hit “publish”). This is a great start! 🙂

      Reply
  10. Loved this blog, so honest. And you know what? I have been thinking if I should write in my blog something very personal. Your blog gave me the boost to at least try it.

    I wish you all the best. I am sure you will find your new route. Safe travels!

    Reply
  11. Hi Nora, your blog and the style of your writings is a source of inspiration for me. I am in a similar situation, but details are different. During the last 12 months I had to readjust to my life a couple of times. I got disappointed and frustrated with my career, went back to school and was planning a big adventure for the next year. Then I found out I was pregnant and had to rethink and replan my next steps. I canceled all arrangements, couldn’t work and had also to readjust my school schedule. It took me and my husband a while to get used to the idea that we had to sacrifice and cancel everything what we planned before. But we were excited and happy about the baby and our new stage of life. This new excitement didn’t last that long, we lost our baby and now have to readjust to everything again. I don’t know how to live, what to do and feel desperate. I let myself jump in a boat and see where wind and flow will bring me.
    I believe life will pick up way faster than you expect. You have always been strong and had the right attitude.
    Maybe my question sounds bizarre, but would it be possible to find another shaman and continue doing what you were planning prior?
    I hope you’re having peace in your heart, even though it is stormy outside.
    Anya

    Reply
    • Hi Anya,
      What a journey you’re on yourself! I trust that your advice to me (that life will pick up faster than I expect) is equally applicable to you.
      With regards to finding another person to continue my training with, yes this is possible, and I’m keeping my options and eyes open. I believe it’s something that will flow naturally if it happens, so I’m not going to force it.
      To sunnier days….right around the corner!

      Reply
  12. Nora, that’s rough. But you are the inventive, resilient sort, and I have no doubt that you will move on from this into another rewarding path.

    Do you need another place to stay in Peru for a bit? I have a friend in Vilcabamba who is selling her place, and is mostly staying in Portugal. She might need a house-sitter, so I’ll check if you’re interested.

    Either way, safe and intriguing voyages!

    Reply
      • Hey Tom – thanks! And nice to hear from you. 🙂
        I may well actually be headed to Ecuador in a few months! I have a potential house-sitting gig lined up in Cuenca, and I’m interested in checking out Vilcabamba as well. So yes….please feel free to check with your friend, and let’s see what comes. Happy travels to you!

        Reply
  13. we need facilitators just like you Nora, women who have finally seen around the whole bush, please consider serving, your a natural, and now you have the full lesson <3

    Reply
    • Hi Sean,
      Thanks for the vote of confidence! I haven’t ruled out the possibility (far from it). I’m just taking some time to integrate these lessons and see where they lead me.

      Reply
  14. Nora,
    I’ve known you for 22 years. We met through our mutual friend Christine…… many moons ago. The one thing that i’ve seen with you as time goes on is that you never ever give up. You always pour yourself whole heartedly into anything you do. This may just be a stumbling block for the time being, but i know your will persevere. You are an incredibly strong woman and i’d proud to say that i met you. Keep your chin up and dive into the next adventure with as much passion as i know you always do. Stay safe, have fun and live life to the fullest.

    Chris

    Reply
    • Hey Chris! Of course I remember you well! How lovely that you found me here. 🙂
      In this particular case, it was exactly because I poured myself wholeheartedly into my life and work in Peru that I’m in this current situation! So….my wholeheartedness can go both ways in terms of success and happiness. 😉
      But I hear you, and you’re right – this is a temporary stumbling block that will surely lead to a new – or continued – adventure. Carpe Diem (which, you might recall, was the motto of the high school Christine and I attended)! 🙂

      Reply
    • Hey Grasya,
      Great suggestion! The Philippines has been on my list for quite some time. Let’s see if – or when – I’m guided there. Hugs to you!

      Reply
  15. Whoa – that was not what I expected to read….let alone you being the going threw all that. I imagine writing this as articulately as you did took a long time. It sounds positive and that you are allowing yourself to be open to whatever is meant next for you. Geez, I hope you will continue to feel your way through this in a way that is upwards and onwards. Sending good thoughts your way.

    Reply
    • Hi Tiff! Yeah, it was an unexpected change for me too, that’s for sure! And yes, this post was first drafted, and then edited almost daily, for about a month before publication. It took much deliberation! Happy travels to you….

      Reply
  16. Hi, Nora, I hope you’re now okay. Maybe you can still be a shaman, you can look for another teacher. As the saying goes “when one door closes, another opens”. So cheer up!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Annika! Just as there isn’t a textbook to shamanism, neither is there a directory of shamans accepting students. 😉 But I’m open to whatever comes my way, and am putting my intentions out there. Let’s see what happens!

      Reply
  17. The only time you mustn’t fail is the last time you try. Your past successes against adversity are clear indicators you will persevere once more and I certainly look forward to your next inspirational account.

    Reply
  18. Hi Nora,
    As I was reading this article, I could really sense how much you’ve “mastered” (if that’s a word that can be used in this context) the art of connecting to your deep self, and letting go. Letting go of a particular outcome, letting go of the need to know what your next step is, and letting go of the need for certainty. The art of surrender. What a deep spiritual growth you’re experiencing. I see you and your experiences and am filled with respect for who you’ve become and for everything you’ve been willing to encounter and accept. And, again, thank you for sharing all your wonderful and personal thoughts and experiences.

    Reply
    • Thank you so very much, Milada! Yes, this experience has necessitated an act of surrender, deeper and more profound than I’ve experienced in the past, since it was born of an unwanted set of circumstances. It has been an incredible lesson in practicing so many spiritual concepts that we can easily “bypass” or ignore in our daily lives.

      Reply
  19. Reading the lead up to the article I just felt excited for you that something big had happened and that enormous growth and learning will ensue. I am in the midst of something similar also, and have now got very few possessions and travelling. It was hard for me at first, but every day when i wake up and realise how free I am, I feel life is getting better and better, and so many opportunities are opening up to me, and at last I can say yes to all of them…. I just love the growth that comes from adversity, and as I get older and the cliches become more real to me, I kinda welcome it.
    Enjoy the ride….

    Reply
    • Thanks, Roslyn!
      I’ve now left Peru, and with each passing day, my distance (both literal and figurative) is making the whole Peru experience feel more like a dream.
      But you’re right….there is much to be thankful for, including the utter freedom that we both can enjoy. Let’s take advantage of it and say yes more!

      Reply
  20. Nora, I’m sorry to hear about the abrupt changes occurring in your life. In a way I too can relate about sudden changes that throw your plans up in the air. I have been following your journey for at least a year while doing my own thing. I’m sure for your posts that you have acquired invaluable lessons from your travels as well as what you’ve learned from the shaman. These will not be something that can be taken from you and will serve you well no matter what you do or where you go. Best wishes to you.

    Reply
    • Thank you again! Indeed, I’m thankful for everything I’ve learned and will take with me from the inside out as I continue to journey around this world (inner and outer). 🙂

      Reply
  21. Hey Nora, I will be in Playa del Carmen as of October 10th. You are a great blogger and have inspired me. Happy to be of help if you need it. Hugs

    Reply
    • Thanks, Elaine! I’m not sure where I’ll be this coming winter (long-range travel plans are like long-range forecasts: they’re educated guesses at best!), but I have a few tempting offers in Mexico. Could be a great way to keep up with my Spanish! How long will you be there?

      Reply
      • Hi Nora,

        I’m hosting my first tour there this October and decided to just stay for at least five months. Maybe six. I dislike north-east Winters lol

        Reply
  22. Hey Nora, thanks for sharing all your pain and confusion with a broader audience. Your honesty and vulnerability are actually strengths. I can relate to the fact that being free to choose any number of future possibilities can actually be a bit of a burden – so much choice takes energy.
    Reading your blog, I got a feeling that maybe you are being propelled back into the bigger world for bigger things that may not have been possible to achieve from your Peruvian shamanic idyll. You have learned things from your time there that may now serve other people and communities. But no pressure to do anything at all. Take ALL the time you need to process how you are feeling and consider your next step. Whatever you do next doesn’t have to be forever.
    And one final thought that I find helps me in tougher times – at the end of my life when I run the review reel, I’ll look back with a “pffst”, shrug my shoulders and be thankful for the interesting experiences. Be kind to yourself. Hugs from NZ.

    Reply
    • Great advice, Maz!
      Yeah, despite not wanting to have been ‘exiled’ from my life in Peru, I’m aware that the gifts I’ve received in the last 2.5 years could well be something I can share in a wider way than I was able to in Peru. It will be interesting to explore the use of plant medicine in other parts of the world as well.
      And yes, I’m taking all the time I need to do nothing, or everything – as I wish. Although I have lived much of my life constantly feeding a need/desire to do something BIG, I also think sometimes just ‘chilling out’ is a great way to go. So for now, I chill.
      I’m already imagining my end-of-life review reel, and it makes me feel equally ‘pffst’ and also profoundly sad at the idea that the last 2.5 years in Peru was but a chapter in my little book of life. I had thought it was so much more than that. 🙁

      Reply
  23. Norman Lear the TV Director once said, “If there were a hammock in the middle between over and next, that would be living in the moment.” I hand wrote my entire University Senior Thesis while wrapped in a hammock for hours at a time. It’s a good place to be. Also, while researching “Travel Slow” online I came across this site: http://slowtravel.com/ . Not so much travel tips, as it is the philosophy of slow.

    Reply
    • Hey Rob,
      Mmm….a hammock is the perfect place to rest in the present moment! Interesting site, the slowtravel one, even though it appears to have nothing to do with travel. Maybe I should create the Slow Travel brand for them! (Albeit slowly…) 😉

      Reply
  24. While I am very sorry to hear that your first venture into Shamanism in Peru did not become more permanent as you wrote you wished, what I’ve always admired about you is your ability to “transition” to new ways of living, while telling tales of your personal odyssey with the vulnerability of a great storyteller. That is a gift you offer others and an inspiration.

    Your love of life always shines through in everything you write, and your imagination and desire for freedom in various forms ensures that your next adventure(s) will likely be even richer. You make of your travels and living abroad an art (I do not dismiss the day-to-day mundane elements we all experience), not the art of an idealized world of cliches, but one to which many clearly relate in their own ways. That is gift and makes you a teacher even when you are a student, in my view.

    I studied Shamanism and comparative mythology/religion in conjunction with symbolism in poetry for many, many years when traveling physically or imaginatively, and I always observed that finding moments of “sacred space and time” are a big part of that role and identity. So even when you are not physically a Shaman, you impart that magic to others, myself included.

    Thank you for being you.

    Best wishes,

    Greg

    Reply
    • Oh Greg!
      Wow – thank you. Just – thank you. I’ve read and reread your comment, and what keeps coming to me is: thank you!
      What you’ve written means a lot to me. Once again – thank you!

      Reply
  25. You are going to love Cuenca. We have been there 3 times, the second 2 times for our allotted 90 days. We were so impressed, we bought a condo there to live in 3 months a year and rent out the rest.

    One note, the airport has had problems with the landing strips and has been closed. You may need to go to Quito or Guayaquil and bus it from there. Be sure to get updated info before getting your airline ticket.

    Reply
    • Hi Ryan,
      Great advice! I’ve already booked my ticket…to Guayaquil. My local intel on the ground told me this was the surest way. I don’t suppose your three months in Cuenca will coincide with Sept-November?

      Reply
  26. So almost 4 weeks since our last exchange… Here are a couple more chiche’s that work:

    1. From my beloved Mother-in-Law (and she still is, after her passing), “County your blessings.” It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Steven Covey, once said in “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” that when things get tough, get deep into family or friends. They value you and are always ready to provide support.

    2. This one is from a wonderful convocation speech by Jim Carrey, of all people, “Ask the Universe for it.” https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=jim+carrey%2C+ask+the+universe%2C+meditation+commencement+speech&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-002

    3. Then there is c), (Oh, did I say only “a couple of cliche’s”?) my own invention: It’s not necessary to pray to any entity, but to be in the posture of prayer.

    The most selfless, unintentional prayer has been the most powerful one for me.

    So I’m asking the Universe on your behalf…

    r

    Reply
    • Thank you for your prayer, Rob! I feel it, and I’m getting stronger every day.
      As for your other cliches, #1 (family & friends) is what I’m doing right now, and it’s indeed perfect. #2: I love that speech! And #3 is gorgeous. I like to say there’s no right or wrong way to pray….it’s the intention that makes the difference. Kind of applies to life in general as well!

      Reply
  27. Hi Nora,
    You were one of the people that inspired me to live the life I wanted. I have a brand new life and thanks to people like you—I learned it was possible. My contract on Taiwan did not work out as expected—but instead I sold out my first trip as an organizer. With the unexpected change of plans—came a new career and a book.

    I have no doubt that the universe has something greater for you. We make the plans but someone somewhere has bigger plans. I will be in Playa Del Carmen, Belize, and Costa Rica if you ever need anything. Beginnings are exciting!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Elaine!
      I’m honoured that I was among your influences to change your life! And you’re certainly right – unexpected changes of plans can often lead to much greater things than we could ever have predicted or engineered for ourselves.
      Sounds like you have an excellent itinerary of countries in the coming future! Enjoy….and maybe our paths will cross one of these days! 🙂

      Reply
  28. Hi Nora – Recently subscribed to your newsletter, and been going through some of your posts, and love all the different tips you give, the experiences you share, and the “easy to read” nature with which you write. With regards to your interest in plant medicines, I wondered if you had heard of a gentleman by the name of Anthony Williams (known as the Medical Medium)? He has so many insights to the healing power of plants, herbs, and food, and I just thought you may find his information interesting. My wife and I have certainly learned a lot and our health is benefiting for it.

    Reply
    • Hi Buzz,
      Interesting, I haven’t heard of Anthony Williams before. Sounds like he has some cool info to share; I’ll look into it! Thanks! 🙂

      Reply
  29. I’m sure you’ve read this, but it always helps me figure things out “The story of a wise man who won an expensive car in a lottery. His family and friends were very happy for him and came to celebrate. “Isn’t it great!” they said. “You are so lucky.” The man smiled and said, “Maybe.” For a few weeks he enjoyed driving the car. Then one day a drunken driver crashed into his new car at an intersection and he ended up in the hospital, with multiple injuries. His family and friends came to see him and said, “That was really unfortunate.” Again the man smiled and said, “Maybe.” While he was still in the hospital, one night there was a landslide and his house fell into the sea. Again his friends came the next day and said, “Weren’t you lucky to have been here in hospital.” Again he said, “Maybe.”

    The wise man’s “maybe” signifies a refusal to judge anything that happens. Instead of judging what is, he accepts it and so enters into conscious alignment with the higher order. He knows that often it is impossible for the mind to understand what place or purpose a seemingly random event has in the tapestry of the whole. But there are no random events, nor are there events or things that exist by and for themselves, in isolation.

    So your dismissal by the teacher…maybe not so bad

    Reply
  30. Thank you so much for writing the list of lessons, applicable for me in this moment too. I’m so glad the “Fin del Camino” led you to another place here in Ecuador where I got to meet you and you got a chance to really shine your light and apply all the things you learned in Peru to the ceremonies here in Ecuador. My God! The people just LOVED you here in Ecuador and they gave you the respect you deserved. Everyone had the utmost of respect for you and your work. You are exceptional at what you do! As if you have been doing this for many lifetimes, dear, it shows!

    Reply
    • Christine,
      Thank you so much for your kind words, but also for the amazing opportunities you gave me to shine at Gaia Sagrada. I do love life’s twists and turns (or at least after the fact I do – ha ha). Let’s see where the next twist leads – for both of us!

      Reply
  31. just found you through youtube and i was drawn by many uncanny similarities in our lives–i too have been traveling for 5 years now as you do for free accommodation, working online and visiting friends and opportunities that open up in the americas. i was also recently in peru and while i wasn’t a shaman’s assistant, i found the country beautiful, challenging and full of lessons. wishing you the best!

    Reply
    • Hi Taylor,
      Glad you found me! And I’m thrilled that you’re experiencing the world in this very rewarding way. Indeed, shaman-stuff aside, Peru is an amazing country that has a way of teaching us many lessons.
      Happy travels!

      Reply

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