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Remembering Yemen...

I never did make it to Syria unfortunately, but I did visit Yemen in 2008, which I'm thinking about now in the midst of this ...

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Christmas in Prague...

I just got back from Prague - another new city for me. I love nothing more than heading off to a new place and just ...

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Tinder Diaries: Getting my Groupon...

Shamus's profile shots scrolled like some kind of Action Man calendar. In one photo the 39-year-old Irish-Canadian was hugging a goat on what looked like ...

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Tinder Diaries: Tempur-Pedic promises...

And another Tinder Diary for you, this one's also from last year in Vancouver.  Tempur-Pedic promises... 'I got you a drink!!!' the text message yelled at me. ...

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Tinder Diaries: The Burner In The Park

In trawling through folders on my laptop for some old work I've just come across some diaries I wrote about Tinder dating last year in ...

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I go to the gym a lot. And other things I never thought I'd say...

Once in Sydney I joined a yoga studio for $350 a year and went once. In New York I spent close to $600 and went to ...

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Things you should probably know before going to Burning Man

So, Burning Man. Hmm. How was it, you ask? Honestly. I can't even really tell you yet, and it's been three weeks. But I'll try. As a ...

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11 things you only ever say on WhatsApp when you're going to Burning Man...

I LEAVE TOMORROW!! Am I ready? Probably not.  I'm what's known as a Virgin, (this will be my first time at Burning Man) and in ...

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Thoughts about rainbows...

I cycled home tonight right under a rainbow - the kind of rainbow that smiles across the sky in every colour, and then more colours ...

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How to tell when you travel too much (and when you should stop)

Yup. That's how. That's a screenshot my friend just sent me, when I told her to add my new phone number in Amsterdam. "Another one?!" "Yeah, but I'm ...

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…Best Of...

It started with a boy called Matt: why I'm going to Burning Man (in 2 weeks!!!)

Going to Burning Man has been pretty high on the bucket list for years... ever since I started chatting to an American guy online back in 2003, who ...

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The Royal's idea of 'Indian street kids' is not quite right

I know I shouldn't read the Daily Mail because it always annoys me... but today THIS was ridiculous. Honestly. Been to India? Yeah, so have I. Met ...

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How to write a novel: 25 rules

This post is so inspiring, just had to share! Thanks to Matt Haig, who posted it originally. Sometimes us writers really need to read cool stuff ...

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Amsterdam, I love you! See you again soon.

I've decided to move to Amsterdam. Maybe not forever but definitely for a little bit, because, well.... this. And this: And this:  OK maybe not the last one... ...

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Free tsunami romance for Valentine's Day...

Winner of the TBC (The Book Club) award for best non-fiction, 2016.  Hey guys, I'm giving away The Day Of The Wave over Valentine's weekend in ...

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How to Create Titles to Hook Your Readers

This post is written BY JUDITH BRILES posted on February 10, 2016 on The Book Designer Are you sometimes stuck when it comes to adding a title to ...

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Yay, I won an award!

It's a super duper awesome start to the new year, because after a long hiatus during which I've been working reeeeeeally hard and not blogging ...

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Who's the Mills and Boon Man Of The Year 2016? Get your face on a book cover!

Here ye, all you amazing men - and women who know amazing men! Thought I'd spread the word about this. Mills & Boon are launching ...

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Pills that make you poop glitter...

Oh my! We should give these to ALL the pigeons in London until the whole city is a sparkly rainbow! Granted we'd be covered in shit, ...

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Know your strengths...

I'm sitting in the cafe. It's just me, two loud ladies who sound like they're from Essex, and a blonde with her boyfriend. An Essex ...

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Humans of Iceland...

This is Sverrir and the replica of his great grandfather, who was once the pastor of the pretty and remote herring fishing town, Siglufjörður. He was ...

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Adventures in Iceland (in brief because I'm VERY remote right now and WIFI is scarce)...

It started when we flew Fokker. Yes, Fokker. Oh come on, tell me I'm not the only child who finds this funny? It wasn't long before ...

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NOW FREE ON AMAZON: The Day Of The Wave

A moving, emotional romance based on real-life events. NOW FREE ON AMAZON! The Day Of The Wave follows Isla and Ben in the wake of surviving ...

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***FREELANCE PHOTO - POSTMEDIA NETWORK USE ONLY*** VANCOUVER, BC.:JUNE 24, 2014-- Pedestrian traffic in front of Canna Clinic on Commercial Drive, in Vancouver, BC, June 24, 2014.  Canna Clinic at 2223 Commercial Drive, has a doctor from 5 to 8 p.m. every day. Locals can get certified by an in-house  naturopath, and pick up some pot.  (PHOTOS by Don MacKinnon)

Comedy night at the Canna Clinic...

Today I learnt two things. The first is that penguins have knees inside their bodies. Yes. Knees. Inside. I'm not even kidding. The second is that ...

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Spalding School Reunion is Imminent...

I got a message today about a school reunion for the class of 96. My first thought was JEEEEESUS, did I really leave school 19 ...

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Best things to see on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. OK, maybe not the best...

I was just eating my sushi on a restaurant patio last night when a man seemingly dressed as a Mario Brother climbed a nearby tree ...

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Oh Canada, how I LOVE being in you...

And I think these photos prove why! I'm so inspired the more time I spend here, which is Vancouver right now, in case you were ...

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Fun on the Natchez Trace - recreating scenes from a novel in real life!

Yesterday a friend and I drove from Nashville, out past the famous Loveless Cafe (where we stopped to pick up some Peach Preserve) and onto ...

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Read and review 'Before He Was Gone' and get a FREE copy!

The New Adult Book Club on Goodreads are reading Before He Was Gone to review. Sign up if you want your free copy to review! "Sometimes, ...

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RIP Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran (an excerpt featuring their great work, from Balilicious)

How fuggin AWFUL to hear about the executions of these two men, and the others who were wiped out needlessly today in Indonesia. Don't people ...

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Boxing Day Tsunami book trailer (The Day of the Wave)

I made this today! One day I will give up trying to be a filmmaker (maybe), but it's SO satisfying when it uploads and I'm ...

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The Day of the Wave - Playlist

This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had putting a playlist together for a book. There were just so many great artists who inspired ...

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Aliens in the White House...

Just got a newsflash on my phone: 'Small one-person helicopter lands at White House West Lawn. Pilot in custody.' I know I should click on it ...

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Boxing Day Tsunami romance excerpt: (The Day of The Wave)

This is an excerpt from my latest new adult romance, coming May 2015. In brief... "Isla and Ben were just sixteen when the Boxing Day ...

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Uber in Nashville is interesting...

Me: 'So, what's the craziest thing that's happened to you since you started driving for Uber?' Him: 'Are you a shy girl?' Me: 'Er, I don't think ...

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Have I mentioned the Family Dollar Store yet?

Have I mentioned the Family Dollar store yet? It's my new favorite place here in Nashville. Contrary to the name, not everything inside costs a dollar, ...

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Lavenders, motorcycles and a feeling of deep uncool at Nashville's Barista Parlor...

There are some places in this world that will just serve to make you feel deeply uncool, no matter how young and awesome you previously ...

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Why Craigslist in Nashville is killing me...

Here's what this guy just wrote in reply to my post about looking for a room to rent in Nashville: "We are seeking a FEMALE caring nanny/care giver. ...

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Observation of the day...

Ubud cafes were full of middle aged women writing books on macs. Nashville cafes are full of cute young guys making music on macs. I know where ...

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Before He Was A Secret (Starstruck #3) Playlist...

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmhXXflqDQPAxUHvBiWosmLHWTd6sBM4Z I can't write a word without being inspired by every sound in the air around me, and I turned to music more than ever with ...

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Musings on a Nashville snow day...

No one told me flying south for the winter would take me somewhere colder than England. Then again, there's something so peaceful about walking alone down ...

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Fight your way through! A message to writers like me…

Fight your way through! A message to writers like me...

...and other creative souls no doubt! Someone sent me this video today by the amazingly inspiring Ira Glass, which I found very interesting. I can relate ...

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The difference a motorised bike makes...

I miss my bike in Bali so much that today I actually hovered outside someone's house in South Harrow contemplating whether I could justify spending ...

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Proving my roots: The nonsense that is taking the IELTS test in London...

"PUT YOUR PENCILS DOWN! PENCILS DOWN, NOW!!!" Dumbledore boomed. I almost jumped out of my plastic chair, nerves shot to sh*t. I have a problem ...

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There's nothing more sexist than The Sun pulling Page 3 Girls...

Yes... SEXIST. If only for what's being said around the decision to drop this whole thing! "Instead of bare breasts, the pictures will now show scantily-clad ...

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I SURVIVED: The Freak British Tornado (and the suspect still running loose)

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It's cover reveal day for Before He Was A Secret. Exclusive excerpt here...

Today's the day, whoo hoooooo! I can finally reveal another amazing cover by designer Jeanine Henning, for the third standalone romance in my Starstruck Series, ...

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The night Emma Watson stole my toothbrush...

WARNING!!! I feel like I should say something. I've been quiet for way too long... almost an hour actually, but about an hour ago I ...

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Vaginal smoking and the benefits of yoni egg insertions (note: there are many)...

I have recently become quite fascinated with vaginal treatments. The fascination began when I saw this tempting advertisement on a board outside a spa in ...

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The truth about 'Ecstatic Dancing' at The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali... (warning, this post may smell)

Everyone in Ubud knows the Yoga Barn. It's a sort of second home for eager expats, all of whom are quite happy to spend an ...

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Go to Bali for less than a quid! Balilicious is 99p, starting today.

Becky Wicks lifted the burqa on Dubai In BURQALICIOUS. Now she turns her attention to Bali as she hilariously navigates life as an adopted Balinese ...

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How do you handle negative reviews for your book on Amazon and Goodreads? And are readers actively LOOKING for bad books?

What didn't make me smile throughout my recent and ultimately successful free book campaign on Amazon KDP (and I'll tell you this, seeing as we're ...

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Before He Was A Secret Blog tour sign ups are live. I'm looking for bloggers to join in (and get a free copy!)

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A new, FREE short story to make you go awwww....

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My ayahuasca experience in Peru, and how to find the right shaman…

***NOTE

This is an old post but a full run down of this experience (a 5 day retreat in the Amazon) is now published in the book Latinalicious – The South America Diaries, which you can order super cheap here from Amazon.

Loads of people have been asking me about my experience with ayahuasca in Peru last week, and to be honest it’s been kind of hard to know where to start. Even though I spend most days wrapping words around observations and feelings, there’s something tough about trying to describe what’s essentially an out-of-body, sometimes out-of-mind experience!

I did a lot of research before deciding on the Kapitari Centre, located a few miles outside of Iquitos. One of the area’s most basic retreats, it was founded in 1980 by the shaman Don Lucho, who spends the majority of time in his ‘garden’, otherwise known as the Amazon Rainforest, working out ways to protect the biodiversity and fragile ecosystems of the region by implementing sustainable farming practices.

It’s important, if you’re planning to play with ‘the spirit of the vine’ to hand your hard-earned money over to someone who’s a) going to spend it wisely, and b) knows what the hell they’re doing by encouraging tourists to drink what’s essentially, potent, hallucinogenic tree sap. I found Don Lucho via expat Andy Metcalf, who’s written a blog on this very topic, but the best thing to do in my opinion is head to Iquitos and ask around. Most soul-searching hippies can be found sipping carrot juice, over-analysing their existential new existences and smoking profusely in the Karma Café. They’ll point you in the right direction.

People have been using ayahuasca for centuries to maintain contact with jungle and plant spirits. In case you want to make it yourself, it’s concocted specifically from the Banisteriopsis vine, mixed with the leaves of dimethyltryptamine-containing (DMT) species of shrubs. Yummy.

You can watch various videos on YouTube, read as much as you like, but every ayahuasca experience is different. The effects of this powerful hallucinogenic brew are said to last up to eight hours in some cases, and heaps of people report huge revelations hitting them like bolts of lightning; things like the meaning of life and the true nature of everything on earth. From what I’ve heard, ayahuasca calls you when you’re ready, and I’d been hearing about it for what seemed like months via various sources, so I did feel a bit like I was supposed to get involved. At any rate, I convinced myself that was the case.

I stayed six days at the Kapitari Centre, during which time my group and I were all on a strict ‘ayahuasca diet’. This diet is so boring that by day six, the act of putting food into my mouth was a tedious, unrewarding chore that I could barely bring myself to leave my hammock for. But anyway… it helped me shift a few pounds!

I did a total of three sessions while at the retreat. There was the chance to do five, but there’s only so much DMT I can personally consume before I start worrying that my brain is about to be lost somewhere in the Matrix, never to return. Ayahuasca sessions are always held in total darkness. You each get a mattress on the floor in the maloca – a circular structure where the ceremonies are held – and in our case we were provided with a nice patterned blanket each (perfect for convincing yourself you’re part of a firework display or infested with crawling critters when you’re tripping) and a bucket. The bucket is for purging your demons into, because that’s what the ‘spirit of the vine’ is doing when she enters your body – helping you dispel all that negativity and sorrow you’ve been storing up for years.

Of course, you could also just be throwing up poisonous tree sap, because poisonous tree sap is bad for you, but let’s keep things spiritual, shall we?

My first experience was pretty uneventful. Apparently ‘Mother Ayahuasca’ will only work on you if you’re ready and obviously she’d deemed me unsuitable for participation. I vommed in my bucket, which was something, at least, but other people had ridiculously powerful experiences. One guy was worked on by extraterrestrials and was told that we’re all just energy in human bodies, waiting out our time on earth until it’s time to return home. I had serious ayahuasca-envy as he spoke. Don Lucho in full-on shaman mode chanted his icaros (special songs) and waved his leafy bundle but for four hours or so I just lay there, waiting to be astounded. I did see my own aura when I staggered back to my cabin, but apart from that… I’ve had stronger experiences smoking weed.

My second session was different, perhaps because of a special plant juice diet working to open me up to the powers unseen? I had some seriously powerful visions that stunned even the most cynical side of my brain. I saw three tribesmen towering over me, all with long hair, all carrying spears and wearing those over the shoulder warrior vest-things. I saw visions of a place I became one hundred percent certain I am supposed to move to, and had flashbacks to my childhood and situations I haven’t thought about in years. But the weirdest thing was that I sensed a dark energy in the room, and saw our shaman leave the maloca with someone. I later learned he’d left alone, but banished a troublesome demon outside… he literally frogmarched it out of the door!!!

There was so much more, but I can’t explain it all here. My third session was even more powerful, but a lot lighter and more fun. I laughed a lot and felt really, really, really, reeeeeeally high for what must have been at least an hour. Again I saw visions of this place I’m supposed to move to, and this time I heard voices. I also saw my friend’s unborn baby, out and in her arms, and later found out she gave birth while I was in the jungle.

I also spent time with a very interesting and powerful lady called Jeannie, who’s been seeing spirits since she was five. A lot of her visions matched those of the other people in my group, while we were under the influence of ayahuasca. I will explain more in my book (a lot more), but this is a lady you want to know if you head to Iquitos! She lives in a village near the Kapitari Centre and works with her local community and tourists looking for authentic experiences in the Amazon.

So yes, it was a bit of a head-spinning experience that I’m still processing, but suffice to say ‘the spirit of the vine’ is real, and an experience with her can definitely be life-changing. Whereas I’m not about to move to Peru and spend my weekends drinking tree sap in the hope of being worked on by aliens, I’m happy to have seen what all the fuss is about, and would highly recommend the ayahuasca experience to anyone. Just remember to sneak some chocolate into the jungle if you’re going for six days. That ayahuasca diet is enough to make you want to eat the trees in the first place.

Don’t forget, there’s a ton more in the book. ORDER LATINALICIOUS HERE, NOW.

 

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Comments

  1. Ive been trying to reach Kalaparti and Jeannie but with no response for the last several days. Are they still in business?

    peter

  2. Margaret Cooper says:

    Glad to see you are doing well Becky.
    Margaret (Watford) x