One of I.AM.LIFE’s primary goals is to foster collaboration between youth, adults, and elders and to connect western youth with indigenous wisdom. One dynamic and exciting way we do that is through transformational travel experiences we call,
HEART OF THE WORLD:
In collaboration with Pachamama Alliance and Generation Waking Up, we’re taking a diverse group of exceptional young leaders to the Amazon, bringing them face to face with indigenous people to learn, share, and potentially collaborate on mutually beneficial projects.
I.AM.LIFE with Pachamama Alliance
"Journey Into The Heart Of Our World' will bring a diverse group of young leaders into relationship with indigenous peoples of Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest to learn, share,
and collaborate on bringing forth a thriving, just, and sustainable world.
To provide a journey of a lifetime experience for young leaders that amplifies their personal development and social impact.
To catalyze cross-cultural dialogue and collaboration between young people of our “modern” world and the indigenous people of Ecuador's Amazon rainforest.
To initiate young people into an emerging worldview that integrates the best of indigenous knowledge, spiritual traditions and modern science - a view that everything is profoundly interconnected.
To visually capture/document the story of transformation that these young leaders undergo and later release through our media networks to show the importance of native/indigenous wisdom/worldviews in the lives of young people.
At this time of the Great Turning our planet is experiencing a powerful transformation in consciousness - shifting from a global, industrial-growth society to a global, life-sustaining society. At the core of this shift in consciousness is the merging of western and indigenous worldviews. The western worldviews, taken by themselves, are referred to by the Achuar people of Ecuador as the “trance” or “dream” of the modern world. And this worldview perpetuates the industrial growth society that is fundamentally unsustainable and responsible for the destruction of our global ecosystems. Indigenous worldviews and wisdom are founded in the embodied knowing that all life is fundamentally interconnected and this worldview naturally results in human beings who are deeply connected to themselves, one another, plants and nature.
Journey Into The Heart Of The World is a tailored
Pachamama Journeys program in partnership with I.AM.LIFE. Pachamama Journeys are purposeful, transformative travel immersions that go well beyond traditional eco-tourism or adventure travel. We journey at the request of our indigenous partners who invite us to visit and learn from their ancient cultures and pristine rainforest so that we may carry their wisdom and message home.
We want to ignite a generation of young people to bring forth a thriving, just, and sustainable world. Through educational workshops and transformative leadership programs, we've worked with Generation Waking Up to empower diverse young changemakers with the capacities they need to thrive in the 21st century, and build partnerships for systemic change that unleash the creative and collaborative power of our generation.
I.AM.LIFE JOURNEYS is a youth empowerment project.
In dynamic collaborations of youth, adults, and elders, we create and nurture connections with the natural world, each other, and indigenous peoples.
The Pachamama Alliance is a global community that offers people the chance to learn, connect, engage, travel and cherish life for the purpose of creating a sustainable future that works for all. With roots deep in the Amazon rainforest, our programs integrate indigenous wisdom with modern knowledge to support personal, and collective, transformation that is the catalyst to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet.
Day 1: Journey Begins, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Group meets at the Quito hotel, Cafe Cultura for a welcome and orientation. Accommodations at Café Cultura.
DAY 2: Otavalo Indigenous Market, Purification Ritual, San Clemente with Karanqui-Quichua Hosts
After breakfast and an orientation, we’ll head north to the scenic Andean region of Otavalo where we’ll explore the open-aired indigenous artisan market displaying the crafts and culture of the Otavalan Quichua people. Next, we’ll visit with a Quichua elder shaman for a healing and purification ceremony, before arriving at San Clemente, an indigenous-owned community-based project situated on the flanks of the sacred Imbabura volcano. Dinner and accommodations with our gracious host families.
DAY 4 Land-based Agricultural Traditions, Medicinal Plant Hike, Traditional Outdoor Feast, Cultural Celebration with Live Music
Breakfast with families followed by activities in the community, including agricultural practices (oxen plow, planting/harvesting crops, grinding corn, etc.), forest hike to learn about native medicinal plants, discussions about the Andean cosmo-vision, and a traditional feast with local foods grown in the community. Evening dinner with families followed by cultural sharing and celebration, including traditional Andean music.
DAY 6: Descend Avenue of Volcanoes, Equator Visit, Cloudforests, to Amazon Gateway
After breakfast and farewells with our indigenous families, we’ll embark on a beautiful drive, visiting the center of the world (equator) along the way - descending the Andes through the avenue of the volcanoes and the mysterious cloud forests until we reach the gateway to the Amazon rainforest. Dinner and evening discussion about entering the rainforest at our quaint hotel, El Jardin, located on the outskirts of Puyo.
DAY 8: Fly Over Rainforest to Sápara Territory, Welcome and Orientation, Swim, Settle In
Head to the nearby town of Shell where we’ll take a 25-minute flight into the primary Amazon rainforest to the Sápara village of Llanchamacocha where we’ll be warmly welcomed with their staple beverage, chicha, smiles and embraces. Introductions and orientation to the Naku project aimed at creating a viable alternative to oil exploitation. Then we’ll take a refreshing swim in the river and settle into our simple rustic encampment and enjoy the peaceful environment of the rainforest and kindness of our hosts.
DAY 10: Dream Sharing, Cleansing Ritual, Village Activities, Hike to Medicinal Garden, Community Sharing
In the morning, we’ll share our dreams as the Sápara do each morning, and go through a cleansing ritual. We’ll then learn about their unique culture through hands-on participation in their village activities and traditions and by conversing with the youth, adults and elders, including grandmother Mukusawa, one of the last native speakers of their language (which has received world-heritage status by the U.N.). We’ll hear about their incredible history and inspiring vision for the future. Afternoon hike through the primary forest to learn about the Sápara’s unique physical and spiritual connection to the rainforest. We’ll be shown a garden of carefully cultivated medicinal plants in the middle of a primary forest and a Sápara plant master will share with us their many uses. In the evening, we’ll join the community in a traditional meal, dancing and songs.
DA7 12: River Excursion, Animal Watching, Fishing, Camping Out
After dream sharing, we’ll set off on a special excursion down the Conambo River in dugout canoes to the pristine and uninhabited Sápara reserve, where the flora and fauna thrive in their natural state. We’ll catch fish along the way and cook food over an open fire on the banks of the river. Here we’ll make camp and sleep out under the stars with our Sápara guides for 2 nights.
DAY 14 Relax and Swim, Share Food and Stories with the Sápara, Stargazing, Camping
Relax into the rhythms of nature, enjoying time on the river in this pristine environment. Our Sápara friends will share about their history and vision for the future. We’ll dine on locally gathered and harvested foods and enjoy another night under the stars.
DAY 16: Canoe/Hike Back to Camp, Animal Watching, Shamanic Ceremony
In the morning, we’ll head back up river in the morning, the ideal time to spot jungle animals, to a trailhead where we’ll hike the rest of the way back to the village. After a refreshing swim in the river and a siesta, we’ll be invited to participate in an ancient shamanic ceremony.
DAY 18: Integration/Reflection Time, Sharing With Community, Traditional Foods, Music, Dance
Morning integration time for reflection, journaling, rest and simply being in the natural environment and beauty. Afternoon river swim before sharing intimate conversation about our experiences, partaking in traditional foods, music and chicha, and experiencing Sumak Kawsay (Good Living) together.
DAY 20: Farewells, Fly Out of Forest, Arrive at Runa Huasi in Andes with Salasacan Indigenous Group
After dream sharing and breakfast, we’ll gather our belongings and exchange words of appreciation with our hosts, then fly to the small town of Shell where our bus will take us back up the Avenue of the Volcanoes to the Salasacan indigenous territory in the Andes. We’ll stay at the simple hosteria owned and operated by our Salasacan friend, Alonso and his family. There we will relax and integrate our time in the forest while making new friends and enjoying the peaceful environment and home-cooked foods.
DAY 22: Hiking, Ceremony, Cleansing, Integration, Educational Symposium
Go to a sacred site of the Salasaca to participate in an ancient shamanic ceremony with elder healer. Enjoy a day of deep connection and integration personally and with the group. Evening traditional feast and fire.
DAY 24: Completion and Celebration
A day of completion, commitments and celebration. Morning circle to share experiences, learnings and commitments followed by a transformative educational experience inspired by our indigenous partners in the rainforest. After lunch in Salasaca, we’ll drive back through the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Quito, having our farewell dinner and lodging at Café Cultura.
Estimated cost for this extraordinary, life-changeing journey is approx. $3500 per youth participant. We are in the process of raising funds and seeking all levels of sponsorship and support.
If you feel inspired and would like to come on board and support this extraordainary opportuniy, we welcome your participation. Please contact us here.