If I could ever boast a descent into the belly if the beast, this would be the moment.
What was that? Where was that? Where was I? Who was I? What?
The Boom Festival.
Conjure up a notion of things I am least likely to attend and this would rank high on the list. But here I am in Portugal and everyone, including people I really respect, started asking me if I was going. A week long festival that happens every other year in the middle of nowhere near a beautiful lake. Thousands of people, an international gathering. Camp for a week, attend lectures, watch documentaries, go to yoga classes. Music, art. Raw food, permaculture, sustainability, optimism, community, oneness. We are one, we are love. And as we now know so well, the answer for me is always yes in this country. So I went with these dear friends of mine, to this last hurrah in the desert... and wow. What a week it was.
The truth is that it was one of the craziest things I have ever seen or experienced in my life. And I am EXHAUSTED. And prior to the shower I took last night circa 2am when we finally returned to civilization, I am sure I was definitely dirtier that I have ever been too. But it was, as they say, really something.
Watch a discussion panel, sleep in the shade. Dance in the daytime, then swim in the lake. Walk through the gardens, drink a fresh juice. What time is it? Was that today or yesterday? Are we here? Where is there?
The Liminal Village, the Sacred Fire, the Chill Out Gardens, Alchemy Circle, Dance Temple, Healing Area.
There were of course the requisite moments when I felt too old, too tired, too not on drugs in the middle of the day. But then there was this entire other side of it where I looked around and felt like it was one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed or been a part of. Completely environmentally conscious, actually "clean". Temporary structures made entirely of reclaimed materials. Compost toilets, solar and gravity fed water taps, recyclable everything, respect for the land. The things I learned, the good energy, the social responsibility, the unfailing friendliness of the community as a whole, the lake, the lectures, the inspiration, the togetherness. There were forty thousand people from every corner of the world. Old, young, weird, beautiful. I believe I actually witnessed something happening and lives being changed. The love, the acceptance, the encouragement. My own views on the world and of myself influenced, and so often in the least expected of ways.
And with that said I am so grateful to be back in this reality. Waking up to the quiet sunshine pouring through my sweet friend Rénata's loft as opposed to the endless bass of psytrance music thumping through my own body whose temperature was steadily rising critically higher in my tent. There's no Boom Breakfast smoothie here, no spicy chai, no overpriced (but so worth it) oranges. We might swim in the ocean later but we'll have to drive to get there. But we have landed again, we are here. Looking back I cannot even imagine how that week just passed or if I could ever do such a thing ever again. But my only actual regrets center around my lack of photography to attempt to document the amazingness of it all, maybe a few lectures I missed out of absentmindedness and dwindling sense of time, perhaps my eventual laziness to rally for the bizarre array of morning yoga and otherwise. But all in all, the most fitting send off imaginable.
Because today also happens to be my last full day in Portugal within this crazy vision quest I have been on. And that actually feels ok to me, it actually feels like it's time.
One more day, one more adventure. And as always: here we go.
(For the record, I will never ever go to Burning Man.)