“When you are open to living and ready to face all your fears, life definitely comes and talks to you, in its own language.”―Roshan Sharma
I haven’t run a guest post for awhile (I have so much content of my own), but I so loved the following story that I asked the amazing Trevor Davis, who sent it to me, if I could share. I was going to paraphrase it, but that would be like paraphrasing Ernest Hemingway or, for that matter, Willie Shakespeare. Trevor’s a great writer who recently launched a travel blog from a perspective that, as he says, “guides him into rich affairs of hope, danger, beauty and spirituality.” Check out his awesome blog here.
Take it away, Trevor!
I am now a big believer in signs. I don’t mean rest stop exits or traffic signals, but clear omens revealed by universal forces. And I was on a mission to find an unmistakable sign that I was meant to be a travel writer while hanging with some friends in a national touring band for a few cities on the east coast. At the time I was reading Pam Grout’s E-Squared and wanted to put her “Dude Abides” principle to the test.
On their tour bus with my friend Gavin, the drummer of the band, I explained that I had given 24 hours for the universe to show me an obvious sign. I suggested, half-jokingly, that maybe Hunter S. Thompson would send a message from the grave. I needed something fun or unexpected to happen. As if he were reading my mind, my friend looked at me with this mischievous grin I had seen a hundred times before. He leaned in as if he had a secret, quietly informing me, “I gotta feeling tonight is gonna to be a little different from the last couple of shows.” I didn’t know if it was nerves because my friend and I are notorious for getting into trouble together. Maybe it was my excitement about being engulfed in music at an outdoor festival or because I didn’t really know what to expect. But I also felt it. There was definitely something about this event that made every cell in my body feel a lingering anticipation for some future event that I could have in no way prepared for.
It seemed like we had been on back roads for an eternity by the time we entered the campground. We passed through security, pulling up near the back of the stage. The front faced towards a very large field surrounded by what seemed to be endless woods. It was a beautiful, secluded area far from civilization.
There’s an exhilarating feeling you get when you know you’re going into an environment without the common amenities and luxuries we are so used to. You can rely on your most basic, fundamental instincts. It’s seductive. The lush green grass in front of the stage only added to my excitement. I managed to set up my tent fairly quickly about 100 yards from the front of the stage while sampling the beer I brought and the whiskey that was offered to me. It was about 1pm. The sun was bright but the day wasn’t too hot. I decided from looking at the other festival goers that I would no longer need my shoes or socks. I have always been one to try and blend in with my environment. You know? Absorb the culture! I pulled up a lawn chair next to a band member’s girlfriend in front of the stage, listening to the first group. I was almost as comfortable as I wanted to be. But that seemed to be the theme for the next 16 hours.
Mindi, a girlfriend of one of the musicians, greeted me with the most innocent and genuinely happy smile. But innocent girls don’t date musicians. She grabbed my hand with her tiny fingers and opened it up like she was about to hold it. She stared at me directly in my eyes and in the most casual manner she politely asked, “Want to take a hit of acid?” That’s what she so gently placed in my hand. I didn’t even respond; we both just took it. See? Always blending in. Not 20 minutes after we consumed the first, Mindi, again in the most innocuous tone, asked me, “should we find some more?” Now, had I known the events that were about to unfold I would honestly have to say that I would probably make the exact same decision again.
Even the most mildly successful bands have groupies. And normally not by choice. It’s just the nature of being an artist. Since these were math-rock bands, the followers are not what you’d expect. There’s no crowd of girls peeing their pants like at a Justin Beiber concert. No. These are all primarily dudes. And there can be some interesting characters. The band I was with had exactly this interesting character: Eddie. I looked over at the bald man in his early 30s, sitting in a wheelchair directly in front of the stage, casually handing out tabs in exchange for money. He didn’t have a disability, at least not a permanent, physical disability. Eddie apparently consumed way too much LSD a few days before and fell off a cliff.
I walk over to make the exchange and Eddie greets me with friendly eyes but otherwise his face doesn’t show any expression. Something had caused him to lose happiness a long time ago. He never smiles. Ever. As I would later find out, Eddie was also single-handedly the most important person to know at this particular festival.
As bands play on and the day continues, more and more people come flocking in towards the stage. The larger the crowd grew the more alcohol we consumed and the more liberal everyone became with their psychedelic consumption. No one was trying to hide it. Our little group recognized the need to stick together to avoid getting lost. As I began to succumb to the drugs’ effects, I realized it was the most comfortable and safest environment to be so free with psychedelics. Day quickly became night and the swirl of people and events began to take on a new form. A new meaning. The music began to synchronize perfectly with the attitudes, dialogue, and movements of everyone around me. The theme was in place and I was like a member of the audience at a well orchestrated play. At one point I noticed the headlining band finally got on stage. It was dark out except for a few lights from various campfires and the most beautiful scene of stars radiating throughout the cloudless night sky. Without the lights or smog of a nearby city, the view was unbelievable.
Somehow I had wandered away from the stage and no one I knew was in sight. I began to panic and began circling the entire field through the mess of people to find my friends. If there is one thing to remember when taking psychedelics, it’s that you always have to keep your cool. Any idea that pops in your head becomes amplified.
I made my rounds several times. No one I recognized. As I was walking through the crowds and talking to people, I noticed that every single person there had taken the acid. People were giving it away. People offered Molly. I said yes to everything. Turned none of it down. I tasted what I assumed battery acid would taste like in the back of my throat. I started throwing up near my tent. A tent I clearly would not end up sleeping in. Not sure how I got there. I had to find my friends. I was on the verge of a panic attack that would be exacerbated by the LSD. When I asked no one seemed to know. Out of desperation I blurted out for the only other person I knew: Eddie.
Immediately someone within hearing distance told me they knew Eddie. They informed me that he was at a campfire at the other side of the field on the edge of the woods. It was difficult to walk, not just because the grass was now cold on my bare feet, but because my brain was beaming in so many different directions. I had to pull myself together. I had been here before, many times. Take a deep breath. Get centered. Everything is OK. Your environment is just a reflection of your thoughts. I asked another group of strangers.
“Think I saw him over there somewhere.”
As I worked my way over towards a glowing light away from the festival-goers, I asked several people. Everyone seemed to know Eddie and his whereabouts. I finally found him and his entourage. He hadn’t seen my friends. A lot more relaxed (as relaxed as you can be with 4 hits and a head full of Molly), I made my way back towards the stage.
There they were. Probably the whole time. Dancing and sitting on a big blanket on the grass. The ground had become very cold and wet. Gavin and crew welcomed me as if they hadn’t seen me in years. He spoke, much too loud for being so close to us, “this band has been playing for nearly 4 hours!” He was right. It had been a really long time. I asked for a beer and it then dawned on us that we were out. Completely. For some reason, we panicked slightly. We then began our search for beer. Surprisingly, alcohol was scarce in the campground. During our search we found a smaller bonfire near the stage. Still no beer. People were playing guitar and singing. Gavin and I immediately joined in. An out of place Mormon looking couple selling books and not partaking in the “recreational activities” handed Gavin a paperback to borrow as a percussive instrument.
We must have played for an hour. When we finished two things happened. First, a younger looking guy that didn’t seem to any longer have a grip on reality handed me a strip because he had “had too much.” I immediately split it with Gavin. We ate it all. The second event that happened was in the midst of all the chaos. Suddenly, it was like someone had turned down the volume on everyone else. All I could hear was my breath. Even the stage had closed down for the night. Everything in my peripherals became blurry. You might say it was a moment of clarity, or some kind of epiphany. Looking back I’m sure this was a spiritual moment despite my head full of drugs. My eyes focused on Gavin. Before giving back the book he had been using, he turned it around to look at the cover. He looked up at me in disbelief.
I asked, “what book is it?” Then, plastered on his face was that grin I’ve seen so many times before.
“You’re not gonna believe this.”
There is one action that can instantly revert even the most sophisticated man back to his primitive, cave-dwelling state: staring into the depths of a campfire. There is this universal fascination with a warm, glowing, controlled fire that gives the spectator a blanket of security to sport and with the added embrace of alcohol can bond even the fiercest of foes. We had worked our way back over to Eddie’s roaring campfire, where we were doing just that. It was the popular place to be and for good reason. Our friend Eddie just happened to have what seemed to be the only stash of beer left around. While some of the guys were debating consuming DMT, I happily slugged on beers from Eddie’s case. I found what I was looking for.
My blatant sign came just hours after I asked for it. I no longer needed the psychoactive medicines. I always thought I would need a shaman to have the experience I did (although a spiritual experience with a shaman would take place a few years later), but I had access to it all along. I walked away from the comfort of the fire and the happy people telling stories and playing acoustic guitars and into the woods. I no longer felt fear for my future. I was overflowing with confidence. I found a broken spiral slide resting on its side.
It was perfect. I climbed to the top and slid down the cinnamon swirl. Ah yes. I had been here before. My thoughts were expanding. I could still see the cover of the paperback Gavin held up for me to read just an hour earlier. The glow from the fire shone directly on the front side of the book clearly revealed the title. My sign was staring directly at me in the face. My friend was right. I could barely believe what I was seeing. But it was no hallucination. It really was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson.
Trevor Davis is a world traveler, freelancer and musician. Armed with the motto, “I will try anything twice!,” he explores areas of the planet that most people don’t see.
Pam Grout is the author of 18 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the recently released, Thank and Grow Rich: a 30-day Experiment in Shameless Gratitude and Unabashed Joy.
What a disappointing post!! Why would you glorify someone taking drugs, writing about it, bragging about it and putting it into a nonsensical blog of dribble…..just because he read your book? SMH! How does this fit into your, or what I thought was your, model of uplifting and encouraging people with connecting with Source? Wow! Step back and evaluate….
Sorry, my friend, you’re disappointed. As I always like to say, there are many roads to Rome.
Right on and this one is about life on the road and finding the rainbow along the way, great article! 💙💜💚
Seriously!😂❤️ I hadn’t even read this post today, I work as a massage and wellness therapist with Airbnb in Dublin, trying to keep their staff happy and relaxed! Today the head chef at lunch sat with me and for no reason I can think of he recommended reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and to watch the movie! I said ok, will do, that was that! Then I get home tonight, open Twitter and Pam… seriously?! 😂❤️👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 Love love love you and this mind blowing Multiverse! Oh and thanks for you 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻☀️☀️☀️😂😂😂
Sent from my iPhone
👍🏼🦄 the universe at work. Enjoy the journey! 💜💚
This has never been one of my roads……..to each his/her own……..
That was really strange. Weird energy. Pam, please get back on track.
Horribly disappointing post. I guess now I understand how some people stay so happy all the time. Drugs.
Discussing someone with a drug abuse problem as an example in your writing causes a loss of credibility for me in your message. Sorry. My good friend has a son addicted to heroine and he has overdosed a couple of times. He is lucky to be alive. There are a lot of families wrecked by drugs. Hope he doesn’t have any kids.
May be many roads to journey, but puking guts up from overdoing psychedelics is not one anybody needs to try.
Come back Pam!
Sorry but I agree that this was off track. Drugs…really?
Arabic is associated with unpleasant stuff such as terrorism, drugs etc. Your post is absolutely rubbish
I read your post for inspiring stories not to hear about some drug induced tale. So much of this post was about him using drugs and trying to find beer – really! I’m not a prude but using drugs is just not cool!
Pam, I love reading your posts but this was terrible. I come to your blog to read uplifting stories, not ones talking about drugs. Please no more guest posts
Good morning to you Pam,
I don’t have time to finish your column this morning but I read a few comments and was a bit disappointed in the fact that so many were negative. It reminded me of a quote I read a while back, “When you quiet the voice within you that divides yourself from others, you lose yourself … you fall in love,”
And I choose to fall in love today…as tears run down my cheeks…
With love and gratitude,
Where are these sanctimonious folks coming from? This is life and we each get to have our own journey whatever we choose. No one needs the judgments handed out here. Celebrate life in your own way, your own terms and enjoy the journey with love!
Loved it and Hunter Thompson! 💚💜😻
Sent from my iPad
why would one be interested in antics of a drug addict?
What a crock of Sh..! I have never read just drivel. Seriously Pam, what were you thinking when you posted this?
Well said. Thanks that was Pam G. I’m just commenting, it’s not my blog…sending sunshine to the negative commenters.
I was one of the first to respond to this…..our beloved daughter overdosed 5 years ago, she was 54 years of age – a Light went out in my life…..however please don’t bash Pam. It’s her blog and she can write whatever she chooses – you can always unsubscribe. Love takes many forms. I love Pam and I love you all……..
Hmmm. I don’t understand this post. What was the sign??
Sent from my nifty iPhone
Dear Pam. Let me thank you a phantastizillion times. Since I have read “thankandgrowrich” and “E2,” You have changed my life with your lovely way of Humor, Joy and Optimism. Like a heavenly soulmate, you lead me back on track! Your words and Energy reminded me back to my Wonderland, that was familiar to me, when I was a Child. I Kind of “lost The Track” for a while. To make it “Kiss” – keep it Short and Simple: since You reminded me to The frequency of joy and Love, I am Able again to Wake up with giggeling, Angels Waiting around my bed. to Wake me up and Start and close The DAY with wonders , lovelyness, gratituede and Joy. My true nature. Thanks, Girl! Here comes Just a “small” extract of the last wonder – reports of mine: Today I Helped a Friend to just eliminate a Traffic Jam in extraordinary Rush Hour To make it just in Time for her healing-Session with a tibetian monk. She called me, stuck in the traffic jam, because she just Could Not Imagine anyone Else in The world to help her out with a Wonder, but me . ( she is informed about all of my wonders since I have read your books and she döes Not have YOUR number 😉 ). Besides that, I was tipped today- as a Sales Person! – – with an “out of a Frame amount” By a Customer WHO ( her words ) has Never Been Served so friendly and lovely and she told me with Tears in her eyes, she Has never been touched so deeply in her Heart by such a stunning, lovely and friendly Service, as I Had delivered to her. For me, it was just like “normal” – but, wow, People just Are so lovely, AmazIng and full of gratitude, since I am. I Know, I have Been well prepared over 8 years of spiritual Lessons and tousands of Euros Investment. Still feeling poor and lonely and effortless after all this investment…, But you with your publishings have Been like “let go of the Cork to my Shaken bottle of Champagne” since I inhaled your words and messages. Ready to explode to all The wonders inside me and the universe of Joy, gratitude, abundance and excitement in my life! And others lifes. Since March 2027, I kind of filled Hunderets of pages of small, medium and extra large wonders. The time I have been lucky enough and magnetic to Nero up with ” thank & grow rich.” Now, its time to give back to you my “universal studio kind” of gratitude to you! Wonders to be continued… sincerely, Annette. Let’s keep on shining, loving and thanking.
P.S. to all the doubters out there… you are just like a bottle of champagne. What are you waiting for? To rest in the cellar and wait to be opened? Let yourself be shaken by joy and ready to explode! There are wonders inside of you – they want to be set free and be released! To fill the cups of life and live. Be sure that there is enough for all of us! Cheers!
sorry I left tonight’s presentation called ‘Living on the Gratitude Channel – Introduction’ at East West books. I was so excited at the prospect of hearing you speak that I drove 2 hours and white knuckled it through Seattle Friday evening traffic in the rain. I came to hear you – not the song ‘I am light’ (the lyrics that repeat a dozen times), or meditate, or listen to everyone’s name, and what others don’t know about them and what they would do if they knew they could not fail. Besides I couldn’t hear most of them as they mumbled, plus I wouldn’t pay to go to an evening event to learn about those strangers. That’s okay if you were winging it and just needed to fill time.
I came to hear some Pam witty words of wisdom and hopefully have a laugh. I have benefited greatly from your book. I am grateful to have all of your books. I am grateful to be home in my comfy clothes and to know that I’m not missing out on something I thought I would enjoy.
Best regards, P
I thought this was a great post. It brought me back to 1987, the only time I went to Sturgis. Having met a new contact, I swapped 5 hits of blotter acid for a quarter gram of coke. The transaction took place about 3 in the morning at the campfire.
The next day about 1 pm, we were again standing in nearly the same spot. The guy shook his head and asked if I had given him the 5 hits. Assuring him that I had, we looked down at the same time to see the 5 hits laying at our feet! This brought a new meaning to ‘dropping acid’.
Both of us went through rehab within 2 years and later met at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting.
Sometimes you have to go through a journey to tell your story. You have to have a story to tell one. A lot of the Bible characters had seedy experiences. God uses everyone.
Surprised by some of the negative posts. Thanks for sharing the story, Pam. The world is full of all different people living different ways. I enjoyed this story.
To each his own, I will not judge, but wow! That sounds like an absolutely horrible experience for this poor guy, and just to have such a mundane sign from God be the result. It was eye opening for those of us who have never even been high from marijuana( not that I ever wondered what that was like either) and a definite reinforcement of my belief that drugs are not the way to go. At least not for me. Don’t feel it was a mistake to post it, though. There are no mistakes.
I would actually like to hear more from him as he gets older , to see if his new found fearlessness stuck around.
I didn’t know what to expect at the end but anticipated something profound. That didn’t happen. It reminds me of that old Peggy Lee song, “Is that all there is?” But it apparently meant something significant for the author, which is what really matters.
Disgusting. This would have been a great story in two paragraphs minus the excessive drug use and glorification. Feeling queasy and disappointed that you would choose to give this pathetic story such a platform
Boy, I was not prepared to see all the negative comments. I took the story to be more like: If you’re ready for a change, the Universe will find you and bop you on the head with it (gently– or not so gently if you aren’t paying attention), no matter where you are in your life.