It’s a new year; 2015. Living in Istanbul, Turkey with my grandmother, teaching English for $6 an hour and priding myself on being an unknown Actor waiting to break through. I would go to auditions whenever the opportunity presented itself. My attempts were usually followed by rejections and failures. But every rejection, every failure was bringing me one step closer to success. For me, it was more than just about succeeding. Going to auditions taught me a lot. It taught me patience, it taught me persistence. All the rejections made me even hungrier. Sometimes I would get discouraged, but i never put my head down. Because I know one day, if I kept trying that I would make it. There was no other way. If you are persistent, hard working, patient and never stop, life will eventually have to give you what you want and what you deserve. It has to! Getting rejected from a part was like getting rejected by a hot girl, you just have to move on.
I moved on by usually traveling. My mom was working for Turkish Airlines at the time and I would get ridiculously cheap tickets around the world. So I saved some money and took 2015 off to travel the world. I went fucking everywhere! Without a map or a clue. I’d text my mom the destination with a date, and she’d reply with a confirmation of my ticket. Everywhere I went I took one backpack, never booked a hotel and almost always travelled business class. Yeah. I’d hate me too. I traveled on the cheap though. I’d stay in hostels, chill with locals, and go in low season. I travelled to 23 different countries and 36 different cities in 2015. I have a story from everywhere i’ve been. Each place has a special place in my heart. An adventure to cherish forever. You can read them in my previous blog posts. I usually title them with name of the country or the city. I’d never forget the people I met along the way. I made some promises I haven’t kept yet. But i’m working on it. In Maldives i promised a man named Russell to send him some money for his daughters medicine. In Indonesia I promised a man named Harry to open up a coffee shop for him. These are people who work for less than $100 a month. Harry works for 3 meals a day.
I’d go, come back, get bored and text my mom again. “Mom I wanna go.” “Okay Eser, now where do you wanna go?” “I don’t know, let me check.” I’d go open google earth and spin the world. Sometimes i’d know where to go and what to do, but sometimes i’d be clueless. There were days where i’d just spin the world, close my eyes and click the mouse. Wherever it lands, thats where I go. That’s how I ended up in Singapore. http://www.paykassa.com
This went on for a while. Until I realized the brutal truth. That even traveling gets boring after a certain point. I’d look at the map of the world and i’d have no interest or reason to go anywhere anymore. Mind the fact that I was always traveling alone and I loved it. Best thing ever, traveling alone. But i got tired. After traveling for 6 months literally around the world, left and right, up and down; I was lost. I thought I could do this for the rest of my life and never get bored. I’d hate to tell you this but too much of even the best thing is not good. So now what?
At one point I was so lost, I was starting to get depressed. Even after all that traveling and having the privilege to travel literally anywhere in the world. Once you get what you want to do and where you wanna go out of your system, you start looking for that next thing. It’s just human nature. We are programmed to progress. For me, I felt as if the world was coming to an end. I went everywhere. I did everything. Now even traveling is not doing it for me anymore. You have no idea how bad I felt. I mean here is a guy who’s done everything he’s ever wanted and still can do everything he ever wants yet he’s still sad and depressed. I felt like the biggest asshole in the world. Though I was always thankful, i didn’t understand why I was feeling so lost, confused and down when I could do anything I wanted. But there was nothing left that I really wanted to do.
One day I was sitting with a friend having Turkish tea. I was telling him about the emotional distress I was going through. He said “Sounds like you need to do Ayahuasca.” I said, “What the fuck is Ayahuasca?” It’s a plant with DMT, he said. “What the fuck is DMT?” “It’s the chemical released in your brain when you’re born and when you die.” Now I never had heard of such a thing. So I looked deeper into the Ayahuasca. It wasn’t something that I particularly believed in. Not in the sense that it would help my current state of mind. How is a plant from the Amazon gonna help me with me decide what i wanna do in life and ease my depression? And who the fuck in their right mind would go into the Amazon? So this wasn’t an idea that really appealed to me. There were too many question marks and doubts in my mind.
Months later nothing changed. I was still lost and confused with my mental state deteriorating day after day. I didn’t wanna be in Turkey teaching English for 6 bucks an hour. I didn’t wanna go back to America working in a kitchen for $12 an hour. At one point I thought about moving to Thailand or some shit. Yeah, I was a clueless ass motherfucker. Nothing appealed to me, nothing interested me. I’d just wake up, work out, eat and shit. There was nothing I wanted so bad. Hopelessness is a terrible thing. Not having a reason to wake up or live for puts you in the middle of depression. I needed a reason. I needed a goal, a dream.
So I called my friend. I said “listen I need a favor.” I asked him to put me in touch with a friend of his in Ecuador who knew where to get the Ayahuasca. I saw this as my last option. I’ve read and heard about this plant but never really felt the need to try it. This was new territory for me. I had never done psychedelics before. I popped a pill here and there, smoked some weed but never really fucked with anything like DMT. But i felt as if this was my last choice before I give in to anti-depressants. I thought “Fuck it”. I have nothing to lose. If it’s really anything like i’ve read or heard about then it could only help. But to be honest, I had zero expectations. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I liked that. Adventure!
So I booked a ticket to Ecuador. There I met the guy who would take me into the jungle for the Ayahuasca. He was nice at first, we became very good friends. Until he stabbed me in the back. But I’ll tell you all about that in the next few chapters.
So we packed our bags and took the bus from Guayaquil 8 hours to a small town in the mountains called Banos. Banos is one of the nearest towns that borders the beginning of the Amazon. The Amazon begins in Ecuador and extends into several South American countries with a large chunk of it making up the western part of Brazil. From Banos we hopped on the back of a truck that took us through the man made roads into the Amazon.
After 2 hours riding through the forest there I was, for the first time in the jungle. Not just any jungle. The Amazonia. We were 3 people. Me, the asshole that stabbed me in the back and another guy. We stayed in wooden barracks with the very basic needs covered. At night, forget about all the stars, you can see the milky way! Yes, the Milky Way. And not the chocolate bar either, the real shit.
The night of the Ayahuasca, I was very anxious. I’m not gonna go into too much detail because it’s a lot to explain and take in. Ayahuasca is a brew of 2 plants that surround the Ayahuasca tree. They boil the plants for 13 hours to extract the DMT from it. So what comes out is a disgusting, thick, smelly liquid that makes you wanna puke before you’ve even had a sip.
At 10 o’clock at night, we took out the Ayahuasca and drank half a cup each. What happens is you wanna puke immediately. But you have to resist the urge to regurgitate because you have to give time for the DMT to mix with your bloodstream.
After drinking, within 45 minutes you should start puking. The two other guys started puking and tripping but I was still very normal. I didn’t have the urge to puke nor did I feel the Ayahuasca in any way. That night nothing happened. I had to force myself to puke and still didn’t feel the effects of DMT. Usually the Ayahuasca kicks in after regurgitation. That night, nothing happened.
I got very discouraged because I was looking for the Ayahuasca to help me in some way. So the fact that the other two guys were on the Ayahuasca with the same dose was a let off. The second night I tried it again. This time the guy gave me double the dose. An entire cup. He said he has never seen anyone drink this much Ayahuasca before and that there was no way this was not going to work. I took his word for it and downed the disgusting brew.
Thirty minutes passed, nothing. One hour went by, nothing. The guy was in shock. And so was I because I had given him a thousand dollars. I started to think if this guy was playing me for a fool. Then I got up and started walking around. After 12 steps I stopped and started throwing up like never before. I threw up so much, even though I hadn’t eaten anything for 24 hours. But that’s what the Ayahuasca does. It cleans you inside. I kept throwing up. Felt like I was about to throw up my organs. After throwing up 7 times I sat back in exhaustion. There, my Ayahuasca journey began.
I’m not gonna go into too much detail. You could never understand me until you do it. I was in another dimension. I was in contact with all the universe at once. Trying to figure out the reason for my existence. Did I? You bet your ass I did! But i’ll stick to the point. I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I wanted the Ayahuasca to guide me as to what path I should follow in life. For me, it was either going back to Miami to work, or go follow my dream of becoming an Actor in Turkey. The dream I have always been afraid of. After asking that question, what happened next was the most surreal thing that had ever happened to me up until that point in my life.
I had a vision. Not a dream, not a hallucination, not a thought. A vision. I saw this. I felt it. As if I had lived it. I saw myself on a talk show in Turkey called “Beyaz Show”. This guy is like the Jimmy Fallon of Turkey. I saw myself there, wearing a plain black shirt, blue jeans, black shoes and talking about the Ayahuasca and how I have seen this in my vision.
I saw myself becoming very famous. More than just seeing this, I felt it in the most surreal way. As I was having this vision I remember me saying “Yeah, why not”. Why not go and tell the world about this. Why not go be everything that I ever wanted to be. After all, what was stopping me? Fear! But, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
After that day I knew what I had to do. Not what I wanted to do, but what I had to do. There was a path drawn out for me and I knew had to walk it. Fearlessly, without any questions or doubts. I made the decision to stop traveling, stop teaching, stop everything and return to Turkey to realize my vision of becoming an Actor. Put all my energy into making it happen. And nothing could stand in my way. I was determined to see out any difficulties or challenges that awaited me. Now, I had a dream to work towards. A goal, a purpose. A purpose much bigger than me. So I left the Amazon. Went back to the city and booked to first flight to Istanbul, Turkey. Little did I know of what awaited me on my new journey and the events that followed.
…My life as I knew, would never be the same.