Ten ideas for the traveler looking to get high on nature and nature’s holy plants.
There’s a big difference between drugs and natural medicines in our eyes which help us see the world as it really is, infinite. Of course, the biggest trip of all is life itself…
1. Charas in the Himalayas
Every autumn in the Himalayas, in India, the air is full of the scent of pollen on the wind and an annual migration of travelers head up to Parvati Valley in search of high quality hand-rolled hashish, known in India as charas. Smoke chillums in backpacker cafes with the inevitable Israelis or climb the slopes to rub your own – 10 hours work should leave you with 5 sticky grams on your palms.
2. Hashish in Morocco
Many people get no further than the Rif Mountains in Morocco. With some of the best hashish in the world grown and pressed here, Morocco has long been supplying Europe with its smoke and many travelers prefer to come to the source. Whilst you’d be a brave soul to head to the farms themselves, hanging out in Chefchauen and getting stoned is an essential component of the Moroccan tour.
3. Peyote in Mexico
Carlos Castaneda has a lot to answer for. Countless hippies have headed south of the US border to eat wild peyote and take local dogs to be shamanic spirits. You can hook up with the local indigenos though to eat peyote paste in their desert rituals and though you might throw up a bit, you’ll rarely have seen the world so magical.
4. Ayahuasca in Peru
Ayahuasca is not one to play with. It’s a sacred plant to the natives all around the Amazonian basin and plays an integral part of religious ceremonies. In short, it’s your ticket to the world of the spirits and can be quite life-changing. For some, though, it can be all too much. One for the intrepid tripper.
5. Khat in Yemen
Khat is one of the most pleasant drugs in the world. Apart from the bitter taste and the effort involved in chewing the leaves off the branch, you end up in a state of mind where everything is possible, everything is funny and there seems little point in doing anything at all. No wonder everyone in Ethiopia and the Yemen chews it all day.
6. Beer in Germany
German beer is still the best in the world due to a medieval law which dictated that only hops, yeast, sugar and barley could be used in its production, unlike the chemical crap that passes for beer in most of the world. Head to Bavaria for the beer fest each October and challenge strangers to drinking contests.
7. Kava in Hawaii
Kava is another great drug, traditionally chewed up by virgins whose saliva releases the active ingredient. It’s given out to the military in Fiji and musicians and performers take it all over Polynesia to stay calm and relaxed before performing. It’s a non-offensive ‘feel good’ drug and Hawaii has a Kava Festival every autumn.
8. Coca leaves in Bolivia
You’ve probably already imbibed a miniscule portion of coca leaves without knowing it – the Coca Cola company originally got rich on the basis of this active ingredient and still today they import tons of the leaves. Coca is used all over the Andes as an antidote to altitude sickness and the pleasant high resembles nothing of the obnoxious cokehead.
9. Guarana in Brazil
When Carnival comes to Brazil, everyone goes into the streets to drink, dance and flirt all day and all night – for 4 or 5 days. Where do they find the energy? Well, many turn to guarana, the resin of a herb that gives you the power to dance all day and make love all night. Just try not to think about how you’ll feel on the comedown.
10. Bhang in Varanasi
Some would say that Varanasi is intoxicating enough – the holy River Ganges, the burning bodies on the ghats, the retinue of sadhus, yogis and priests in one of the oldest cities on earth. The true road junky however wouldn’t miss celebrating Sivatri (Shiva’s birthday) here with a good mouthful of bhang, a mixture made from the lower leaves of the ganja plant and guaranteed to put you in another world.