“I don’t want us all forgetting about having to pay so if you could all pay your 200 peso now that would be great.”

There was only one more person in the group. John was a half Chinese, half American who lived in Hong Kong. He had decided to tag along for the day, however he would not be participating in the ‘magical‘ part of the tour.

Gabriel started the day with an explanation of the (physical) path we would take through the jungle today – he had apparently walked it every morning for the past 15 years.

…and what are the most dangerous animals that live in this part of the jungle?” I asked

Humans.” He replied without a split second of hesitation.

After quickly applying some much needed bug repellent we begun our walk along a long winding dirt path. We spent most of the first half an hour aggressively swatting away pesky mosquitoes and pushing giant tree branches away from our faces, being sure that each one was free of any creature that was of any threat to our health and/or well-being.

Who wants to go first?

We had arrived at an insanely beautiful waterfall and were presented with what was our ‘lunch‘ for the day. The mushrooms were long and thin; their heads big, round and dish-shaped. Big green leaves were used as dinner plates as the magical fungi was sorted into neat piles and handed to everyone in our group.

Talk to the mushrooms and the Earth. Ask them for a safe trip. Ask them to guide you through a positive experience.” Gabriel was being serious… so we did.

John and Gabriel had decided to strip naked and cover themselves with mud. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had a conversation with a naked man, but gay or straight, even though his penis is mostly in your peripheral vision, constantly finding yourself fighting the urge not to stare directly at his penis is a fairly common occurrence.

The mushrooms weren’t as difficult as I would’ve thought to get down. The texture was similar to dirt, not that I’m the kind of person that sits around eating dirt all day, but the taste was not unlike your typical household mushroom. As each person in the group exchanged tentative grins, we all knew it was now just a waiting game.

The feeling of the lukewarm water cascading from the very top of your head, down your shoulders and into the small body of water waiting at the bottom was a pleasant experience. While we waited for the mushrooms to take effect we had a decent amount of time to explore the waterfall’s semi-underwater cave which, after a brief inspection, lead to a very abrupt dead-end.

It was around forty five minutes after ingestion that things started to change. Colours became more vivid, patterns became more apparent and simple things like following a single ant from one rock to another became suddenly more appealing. The jungle world around us was alive; almost breathing with us all at a steady pace. The intricate details of tree bark, bubbles and the skin on my hands seemed to burst into life. The veins in leaves seemed to grow and retract. It was as if I had been given the power of HD vision with the ability to zoom in on plants or insects at will. It was as if i was a five-year-old again, as if everything seemed new, interesting and unrecognizable, immune to the label of unremarkable or mundane that inevitably comes with the things we see on a day to day basis.

I was high. I was really fucking high.

Covering our entire bodies in mud seemed like the next logical thing to do as the mushrooms had fully kicked in. My perspective if the outside world had changed and just thinking of some of the things society accepts as normal blew my muddled mushroom mind. My brain became an explosion of simultaneous deep thought, from the food I was eating, the miserable jobs people accept as ‘life‘, to the way people treat each other for the sole purpose of adding a little more money to their bank account so that they can purchase things they have been purposely programmed to need. The mushrooms made me think, and it was at this very moment every complicated aspect of life seemed to make sense.

The comedown was gentle, mellow and anything but unpleasant. We spent the last thirty minutes of our four hour trip making our way back to the hostel’s restaurant. Our adventure seemed to fly by in blur of never ending introspective thoughts and mind altering visuals. Unlike some drugs, there was never a feeling of needing more. Never a desire to ‘keep the party going‘. I had had my experience and was ready to take what I had learnt back into what we consider the real world. The jungle had been the perfect environment for me to being able to connect with my true self and I would recommend anyone wanting to try mushrooms that they too opt for natural surroundings, void of anything artificial, anything that may cause them to lose the focus necessary to discover the psilocybin mushroom’s true message.

– Jarrod