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Every trip you take, every step out of your usual comfort zone and the “normal” daily life, is creating a new reality. Like a different universe. Like a dream, within a dream.

My trip to Ecuador for three weeks turned into a journey of about two months. Covid-19 hit the globe. A calamity turning the hectic chaos into calmness. Cities locked down, people quarantined, shops closed, businesses on hold. It was a new reality. And it happened to me in Ecuador, and more specifically in Vilcabamba, the Valley of Vilca.

My trip was supposed to end in Vilcabamba. Plan was to return to Quito and then back to Europe. Back to reality. But the trip turned into a journey, when I got “stuck” in heaven.

Backpackers turned into friends. Friends became family. Family became everything at these uncertain times. What was a six-day retreat, turned into a months of community life. Living together, cooking together, feeling each other’s joy and sadness. Experimenting new food, new medicines, new realities.

Linus, Oscar, Nadine, Alex, Amber and my dearest Laurie, we all became a family within a few days of the new reality. I never forget my time at Chakapita, with our hosts, Miguel and Katie. The bond grew so close that we found each other again within days in Vilcabamba after we departed. Each on our own paths, all paths the same way.

It was an amazing time. Trying (and failing at) Ayahuasca, sensing San Pedro, breathing Vilca, looking at a clear sky in the darkest and yet brightest night, cooking dumplings, Humus, Baba Ganoush and garlic naan from scratch, devouring on fried rice, playing Othello, Yahtzee, King’s Cup, drinking, smoking, hugging, making fire, planting, holding hands and assuring each other we are there and no one is alone, even if we are all thousands of kilometers away from our other reality.

My last night in Vilcabamba was one of the best nights. The crew had been reduced when Linus and Oscar found their way back to Sweden. Still, we made new friends at Madre Tierra. My family visited me at this fantastic guest house for a last supper. And we met Lisette, Thomas, Simon and Peter. When they were leaving and I was going to be on my own, waiting for the organized transfer to Guayaquil airport, I understood how people feel on their death bed. A reality, a section of life was coming to an end. And I didn’t want to be alone until the last seconds. I wanted my close friends in that realitry to be there until the very end. And they stayed and accompanied me to the end. That is something you cannot ignore, nor forget. These are the relations and relationships that last for ever, even if you never meet again. It’s there, even when it’s not.

I feel blessed. Thank you Universe. Thank you family and friends. Another reality comes to an end.

Relevant Links

Alex wrote an elaborate article about our retreat week at Chakapita together. Check it out!

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