Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Just Back in Town

Just got back into town, still jet lagged and emotionally exhausted from three weeks in Amazonia, two of which included having guests to take out to the jungle. The guests were fantastic--they often are--but there is still an emotional price to pay from trying to pay attention to them. Not in what they physically say, but in what they often don't say: My job, as I see it, is to give them the opportunity to change their lives. That's what most of them come to the Amazon for. They might say it's just a vacation, or that they love exotic travel or want to try the mystical visionary tea Ayahuasca, or the Matses' Indian's sapo or nu-nu--and that's probably what they believe. But on a deeper level, by the time they're actually ready and willing to travel to deep jungle with a perfect stranger to participate in those ceremonies, they really are ready to change their lives. Don't read me wrong. I don't do the life changing. I'm not capable of that. But I do have to try to put them in a place so secure that they can either do the changing or let it happen. And that that place will be one of the exotic and frightening places of our childhood dreams--a place filled with poisonous snakes, wild people, impenetrable jungle, jaguars and a host of other potentially dangerous things--well, that takes an extra measure of security to make that sort of place comfortable enough to allow for change.
And there is a lot of change: Over the years the trip has been the catalyst for marriages and divorces, for starting new businesses, for moving to the third world, for returning to university or quitting it and so forth. And I love that I can be part of that. I'm so freaking lucky that way. Just to be able to put people on an overcrowded flat-bottomed riverboat for an overnight ride to the middle of the middle of things in the Amazon is a marvelous thing to do. On the other hand, to make sure no one falls off the boat requires a certain awareness on the part of me and my team. And that constant awareness over a couple of weeks is what's emotionally rewarding in the long run but emotionally draining in the short term.
So I'm back and to those of you who have visited this space for a few weeks without seeing an entry, I apologize. I was preoccupied. But I hope to have a story or two to tell in the next couple of weeks before I head out again for a June trip.
So come back and take a peek now and then. I'll try to find some interesting things to relate.

2 comments:

graffitirun said...

Peter, you're amazing. I really don't feel like I'm going out there with a stranger.

Marc said...

Glad to see you back.. I wish I had enough $ to go with you in one of your trip ...

From the boreal forest north Quebec
Mar