This past year, Christine Overvelde was one of the lucky participants on our journey to discover Peru, Heart of the Pachamama with Puma Quispe Singona. We are pleased to share her personal experience about the journey, along with her insights for Group Spiritual Travel, as written in her recent blog post below.
Recently I had the privilege of joining our Journey to Egypt and it reminded me of why I enjoy group tours so much. Last year, on our journey to discover Peru secrets with Puma Quispe Singona, the benefits of group travel became very apparent and led me down this road. Before that time, I had been a die-hard, independent, solo traveller.
However, turning 50, I decided to set my backpack aside, and give myself the experience, and luxury, of a highly organized group tour to discover Peru. This Peru travel itinerary was perfect.
I knew I wanted a spiritual Journey and sharing in the collective experience would only amplify it. I had participated in retreats and workshops before and knew the benefits of group energy, but I had yet to embrace travel with companions. On my journey to discover Peru, I quickly saw the benefits of group spiritual travel, which continued to multiply along the way.
Here are some of the obvious ones. The more subtle and mysterious ones are related to how the connections we make in the present moment lead us to our next step along our bigger journey. For example, this journey to discover Peru led me to Egypt but I had no idea of it at the time – until now.
Everything is so intertwined -we’re always exactly in the right place, at the right time, and with the right people – as it’s all meant to be.
Benefits of Group Travel to Discover Peru
- The Research Has Been Done
I decided to approach everything with a completely open mind and did not do any research other than seat sales and reading my travel itinerary and tour package. It saved me so much time! I trusted that our tour leaders and Sacred Earth Journeys would show me the best of what each place had to offer, and some things weren’t in the book anyway! Same for sacred knowledge. Everything was explained so well, along the tour, that background information was not needed. On this journey to discover Peru, Puma not only took us to the must-see, well-known places but also to more local ones too, that were less obvious but equally powerful. A typical tourist might have overlooked the more modest sites but Puma was quick to see the hidden symbols – like the significance of 3 doorways marking an important place.
2. People Care
On our Peru Journey, we experienced an unexpected twist of events when we were travelling to a remote area and we forgot to make the obligatory toilet-stop. Through serendipity, we came upon a local, village school and asked to use their facilities. Interestingly, it was during this delightful pit-stop that we discovered we had a flat tire so we then spent several hours with the school children, giving them some special lessons of the day. And, because we gave so wholeheartedly, with our time, the mountain blessed us with its gifts in return, with the appearance of majestic condors swooping down to greet us. It was a Spiritual Test of patience, faith, selflessness, love, and universal connection.
I knew that with all journeys, things do not always go as planned and that there are many Spiritual lessons along the way. Despite all the attention to detail, some things are outside of our control and are usually blessings in disguise.
3. People Share
Along this theme of sharing, one of the common experiences that always bonds travellers together is talk of bodily functions. In Peru, adjusting to the high altitude is something everyone encounters upon arrival. We quickly all shared our tips, remedies, and compassion for one another. And luckily for me, my roommate was a Naturopathic Doctor and Herb Shop Owner so she had everything in her kit!
This theme of sharing continued as we went along – with everything from food, to money, to comfort.
Between us we had everything covered. We even discovered we could get better deals, at the markets, when we purchased items together! Most importantly, we shared in everyone’s journey and got to know each other well. Although we started off as strangers, it was evident we had all been called to be together, as Kindred Spirits
4. Priceless Memories
We also continued to share the experience as we exchanged photos and reminisced (in fact these photos are courtesy of fellow participants Eric Gonzalez and Jennifer Clark because my camera mysteriously malfunctioned!).
Feedback, encouragement, and support were also given, in words spoken and unspoken. Witnessing the growth in others, along the journey, reaffirmed that something special was happening to us all. The Spiritual Blessings were taking effect. Although it’s always easier to see it in others, soon we could even see the changes in ourselves. Some were physical but many were internal. My eyes, for example, instantly cleared from a persistent ailment, but it was my inner eye that most cleared up – giving me a much better vision of things. After our ceremonies, I immediately and miraculously dropped all negative thoughts and fears that had been plaguing me! And, each time I review the photos and videos, it reminds me of this experience, so the lessons stay in place.
5. Affordability & Accessibility
Much to my surprise, Group Travel also allowed me to get off the beaten track. In some cases, even more so than independent travel. Under the care of experts and their vast knowledge, we went to places I never could have found on my own – which turned out to be highlights of the journey. And, having access to the Tour Leaders, local guides, and invited Wisdom Keepers and Shamans, would not have been affordable, or even possible, outside of a group situation. Their time is very valuable and their calendars are booked up in advance so luckily Sacred Earth Journeys is able to secure an annual window of time with them.
Puma has a healing school and many students that take up his time, along with many private ceremonies, so we’re grateful that he joins us for the full journey. He assumes the role as the guide too because it’s a chance for him to go to all the places he loves in Peru and have fun with the group and also visit local people along the way.
6. Deeper Experience
Sacred Earth Journey’s continued relationship with its Tour Leaders, Guides, and Local Providers guarantees greater care and commitment. Too often, in my solo experience, guides and merchants only gave me their minimum because they weren’t expecting to see me again. Not so with repeat customers. However, it was evident to me that this was even more than a reciprocal business arrangement. Everyone gave us so much of themselves and their offerings. They were genuinely interested in our healing process, transformation, and enjoyment.
And, vice-versa, I recognized my part, as a participant in these journeys, in furthering the development of healers and tour guides, while contributing to their communities. Continued tourism enables local people to be financially stable, practice their calling, and offer their gifts to others. On our Peru Journey, Puma hires his students as drivers, assistants, and coordinators, so they can be with him the whole time and learn. They were always taking care of us logistically but also Spiritually as well, in ceremonies, and guidance.
7. Collective Journey
Like with all things, when two or more are gathered together, magic happens. The collective journey was certainly more powerful as our energies combined. And, oftentimes, I got answers to questions I didn’t know I had – just because someone else asked them. We were all there, together, not only as participants but also helpers for each other, along our paths. It was evident we all had our own personal journeys to follow (and we certainly had alone time too, during the tour) but we also had a shared journey – that had brought us together – for that particular time and space. And, in fact, it probably went further than us.
Each place calls us for its purposes. I feel honoured to have been one of the many, who have also gone to these Peru sacred sites before me, and who will continue to do so in the future.
I returned from each journey, both Peru and Egypt, transformed in so many ways. My set intentions were met and surpassed, for which I am most grateful. However, these were mostly conscious goals, with regards to my health and well-being so I was aware of them. I had no idea though that group travel would be such a contributing factor in my personal development. I now see that group activity is actually a Spiritual Process in itself – leading into Oneness. Perhaps I would have got there on my own, to Oneness through another method, but then I would not have met all these wonderful people – and that makes all the difference.
About Christine Overvelde:
Christine calls Canada her home but when she isn’t living in the beautiful surroundings of the west coast of Vancouver Island, she ventures off to other parts of the world to satisfy her travel soul. She feels very fortunate to combine her love of travel and Spirituality in both her personal life and professional life, working for Sacred Earth Journeys part-time. The other part of the time, she maintains her interest in food & events by participating in the local markets. As food is also a big part of travel and communal experience, she enjoys connecting with others in this way; but most importantly, she’s always inspired to help others on their own journeys, whatever form it takes.
Inspired to visit this breathtaking site? Join us in September on our journey: Heart of the Pachamama with Puma Quispe Singona: A Sacred Journey of Healing, Andean Medicine, and Energy Work in Peru.
This journey is a guaranteed departure with only a few spots remaining – sign up now to guarantee your place and see one of Peru’s best-kept secrets! You’ll have the experience to meet fellow travelers as well as experience healing with Wachuma. Wachuma San Pedro is a sacred Andean plant medicine that has been used in ceremony for thousands of years.