How I survived the Amazon jungle with no clothes!

lost-baggageIt was 7am and I had been flying all night.  I arrived in Lima, Peru all alone on a flight where it seemed no one spoke English.  I knew my travel guide would be waiting for me outside of customs, and once I got my luggage I would be happily on my way to my excellent jungle adventure.

Only one problem… my suitcase was nowhere to be found.

The funny thing was, I had a strange feeling when I checked my bag at my departure destination and they told me that it was going to be checked all the way through to Lima, across two different airlines.

I remember saying to Rono before we departed ways that I was very concerned that my bag wasn’t going to arrive with me.  He encouraged me to not put any energy toward that and focus on my travels.  But something inside “knew” that there was for sure a problem.  I just couldn’t let it go.

When I landed in my connecting city,  I immediately sought out an airline rep to confirm that I did not need to pick up my bag and that it was indeed checked all the way through to Lima.  The attendant reassured me and directed me to go directly (sans bag) to the connecting flight terminal.  Again, something didn’t sit right with me.

As I made my way to the next terminal, I passed the baggage claim from my first flight.  I decided to hang around a bit to see if my suitcase would come out.  Again, I had a funny feeling.  However, a voice inside told me to “stop holding on to my baggage and trust.”  You may remember me sharing a similar lesson a few months back.

So, I moved on and made my way to the next check-in counter.  When I arrived in that line where everyone else had their bags to check, I again felt a strange feeling around my bag.  When I finally arrived at the counter I spoke again to that attendant and he reassured me that all was well.

Since I had a 4-hour layover, I started to relax.  I figured there was plenty of time and plenty of reassurance from both airlines that my bag would be fine.  I finally began to let it go.

That arrival morning in Lima, I was feeling very alone in a foreign country and as I was talking to the baggage claim person with broken English (I knew I should have taken Spanish instead of French in high school!!!)….  I learn that my bag would be on the next flight from NY to Lima… however, that next flight wasn’t arriving until tomorrow which at that point I would already be on my way to our jungle destination.

As tears streamed down my face, I was forced to surrender. There was nothing more I could do at the moment.

I found my guide who greeted me with a huge hug and a promise that she would do everything in her power to get my bag.  She dropped me off at the hotel where I would meet up with the rest of our group and off she went to collect the many more weary travelers who would be joining us.

Even though there was a 24 hour window to manifest some serious miracles around my bag I had a sinking feeling that it was not going to happen.  I went from feeling hopeful, to fearful, to freaked out, to calm, to empowered, to angry and finally to surrendered as the clock ticked on to our morning flight that would take me from the hotel in Lima to our long journey deep in to the Amazon jungle.

Along the way, my new travel companions kept assuring me that they had plenty of stuff I could borrow but I was having a hard time letting go of the security of having my own stuff.  Heck it was tough enough to figure out what I was even going to pack in the first place!

Sure enough the next day, the word from the airline was that my bag was MIA.  Not only did they not know where it was, but there was NO chance it would be catching up with me.  Especially not once I boarded the boat for the four hour ride down the Amazon river to our final destination.

Even though I tried to purchase necessary items in the time I had before I boarded that boat, it was a feeble attempt.  I ended up with a few pairs of underwear, socks, some basic toiletries and a few items of clothes that were less than ideal for the balmy and rainy weather that waited for me in the jungle.

I was on my own and left to surrender fully to being supported by my new tribe of travelers.  And since I am usually one to support others, being supported is something that I am not always comfortable with (or good at). Can you relate?

Alas, I made the decision to take this personal pilgrimage to Peru so that I could change old patterns that no longer serve me.

Be careful what you wish for!

Once on board the boat, I found myself longing for certain items I had packed that I knew I would want.  But as we traveled farther up the river I could feel myself surrender more and more to being supported by those around me.  I remembered that voice in my head earlier in the trip- “stop holding on to my baggage and trust.”

Once I arrived in the jungle, I was totally surrendered.  (Luckily you actually don’t need much in the jungle).  However, everything I needed WAS provided. My friend Elizabeth gave me her extra clothes.  My roommate Kat provided me with toothpaste and, as fate would have it, she had my same (and favorite) face cream in her kit.  My new friend Eric gave me one of his newly purchased jungle shirts.  And on and on it went.

Everyone rallied around me and provided me with whatever I needed when I needed it.

burninman manI remember hearing a story years ago of a guy who would travel to the Burningman Festival with nothing.  Burningman, which takes place annually in a harsh desert environment is billed, amongst many things, as an experiment in radical self-reliance. The story of this man is that he would walk in to the event completely naked and allow the community to completely support him.  And it worked.

The night before I arrived in the jungle, I remembered that story and I thought about my own life and business battle cry (teachings) about the power of a tribe and how everything we need is always within arms reach.  We just have to be willing to ask for it and to receive it when it comes.

I knew it was time to put my own teaching to the test.  I knew it was time to receive the love and support that I am so good at giving to others.  I knew it was time to fully trust that whatever I needed would be provided.  And it was.

Of the MANY gifts and lessons I received from this sacred trip, this one was BIG.  I was shown the real truth of what I always knew to be true in my heart but haven’t always expressed through my actions.

Even though I am a big proponent of the boy scout motto, “always be prepared” there are times when the only preparation you will need is the trust and surrender of your own heart to the circumstances that show up for your growth and healing.

I showed up!  And not only was I completely HELD, but I was also HEALED.

Thank you universe for providing.  I believe and I trust… myself!

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  1. […] For me, I’m not so sure I’d be able to take on an experience like that. I have a different way of experiencing spiritual growth. (Remember my journey to Peru last year?) Read more about that here […]

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