Of all my favorite experiences in the California years, my relationship with Don Tomas in the Yucatan, Mexico was at the top of the list. See a selected text (“Yucatan Journeys with Don Tomas”) from Texas Tumbleweed in this section for more details of this powerful shaman. He was a very unique person and healer. and I learned so much just from hanging with him after healing sessions. Although Don Tomas passed many years ago, he is still here with us. What a gift he was and is.
After my experiences traveling with Joan Halifax et al, I decided to create a cross-cultural, travel company called Free Spirit Adventure Travels. I had no idea what I was doing but enjoyed traveling all over the world co-designing 2 and 3 week trips with a special theme. My idea was to find local experts and let them design the tours with a special interest or theme. In the end, the company failed due to some unfortunate political events and my lack of experience with this genre of business. Nevertheless, it afforded me the opportunity to experience a plethora of different spiritual disciplines and amazing people around the world. This also deeply changed my perspective on life. During this time, we designed trips to England, Italy, Egypt, Nepal, Hawaii, Alaska, and Peru. This also allowed me journeys to Malaysia, Singapore, China, Myanmar, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Thailand.
After moving to Santa Barbara in the mid-1980s, I found a local group of people interested in the Native American Indian teachings led by Harley Swiftdeer– a flawed but brilliant guy with powerful teachings. Harley, who was part Cherokee, was a real heyoke- a joker meant to twist your head around so you never really knew what was happening. Nevertheless, I learned much from him over four years. I joined the Deer Tribe Metis Medicine Society and learned many different types of ceremony and participated in numerous vision quests, sweat lodges, and a sun dance as part of the road warrior training program.