It’s a new year in the form of 2015. Living in Istanbul with my sweet sweet 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 I knew 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 about people. All the rejections made me even hungrier. At times, I would get discouraged. I’d wake up, put on my khaki pants with a white shirt and tie. A Steve Jobs style New Balance shoe to top it along with my teacher glasses on and go to class to teach the wonderful language of English. I never put my head down. I know one day, if I keep trying, I will make it. There is no other way. If you are persistent, hard working, patient and never EVER fucking stop, life will eventually have to give you what you want and what you deserve. It just fucking has to! You can never change God’s will, but hey; Nobody ever said anything about not trying. Getting rejected from a part was like getting rejected by a hot girl, you just have to move on to the next one.
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 everywhere. Anywhere! Without a map or a damn clue. I’d text my mom the destination with a date, and she’d reply with a confirmation of the 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, and always but always ate amazing food. 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 I will cherish forever. You can read about all of 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 Rasel to send him some money for his daughters medicine. In Indonesia I told a man named Harry to open up a coffee shop together. Rasel, works for less than $100 a month. Harry, works for 3 meals a day.
I’d go, come back, get bored, and “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 most of the time i’d be clueless. There were days where i’d close my eyes and spin google earth and click the mouse. Wherever that mouse lands, that’s where I go. That’s how I ended up in Singapore. Malaysia. Maldives.http://www.paykassa.com
This went on for a while. Until I realized the brutal truth. That traveling non-stop gets boring after a while. I’d look at the map of the world and i’d have no interest or a reason to go anywhere. Mind the fact that I was always traveling alone and I loved it. Best thing ever, traveling alone. But it got tiring. 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 of things is not good. So what now?
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 I wanted 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 to do. There was nothing left that I really wanted to do.
One day I was sitting with a friend having some 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. Not in the sense that it would help my current situation. 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? This wasn’t an idea that really appealed to me much. There were too many question marks and doubts in my mind.
Months later nothing changed. I was still lost and confused. 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 the United States working minimum wage. At one point I thought about moving to Thailand. I was a clueless. Nothing appealed to me, nothing interested me. I’d just wake up, work out, eat and shit. There was nothing I wanted. Nothing like not knowing what you want. Hopelessness is a terrible thing. Not having a reason to wake up or live for puts you in depression. I needed a reason. I needed a goal. A dream.
I called my friend and said I needed a favor. I asked him to put me in touch with a friend of his in Ecuador who knew where to get Ayahuasca. I saw this as last ditch 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 smoked some weed but never really fucked with anything like DMT. I felt as if this was my last hope 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 went to Ecuador. There I met the guy who would take me into the jungle for the Ayahuasca. He was a good guy, we became very good friends. Until he stabbed me in the back later on in life. But I’ll tell you all about that in the next chapters.
So we packed our bags and took the bus from Guayaquil for 8 hours to a small town in the mountains called Banos. Banos is one of the nearest towns that border 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 fucking Amazon. We were 3 people. Me, the asshole that stabbed me in the back and another cool dude. We stayed in wooden barracks with the very basic needs covered. In the Amazon when darkness falls, forget about all the stars, you can see the milky way, Yes, the milky way.
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 separate 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. Just writing about it makes me wanna throw up!
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 Ayahuasca to work. After 45 minutes normally you would 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 after a while just to get it out and still didn’t feel anything. Usually the Ayahuasca kicks in after regurgitation. That night, absolutely 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 and warmed it up. He has never given anyone 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. Ugh, Yuck!
Thirty minutes passed, nothing. One hour went by, nothing. The guy was in shock. So was I, because I had given this guy a thousand bucks for this shit. I started to think if this guy was playing me for a fool. Then I got up and started walking around. After literally 12 steps I stopped and started throwing up like I never have before. I threw up so much, even though I hadn’t eaten anything for 24 hours. That’s what the Ayahuasca does. It cleans you inside. I kept throwing up. It felt like I was about to throw up my entire stomach. After throwing up 7 times I finally sat back in exhaustion. My Ayahuasca journey had begun.
I’m not gonna go into too much detail. Even if I did, you could never understand me until you do it yourself. It’s another dimension. I was in contact with all the universe at once. Trying to figure out the reasons of 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. 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 chasing. After asking that question, what happened next was surreal.
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.
I saw myself becoming a famous figure. More than just seeing this, I felt it in the most surreal way. Why not go and tell the world about Ayahuasca. Why not go be everything that I ever wanted to be. After all, what was stopping me? I’m a Jaguar. Fear? I eat fear.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
After that day I knew what I had to do. There was a path drawn out for me and I knew had to walk it. Fearlessly. I made the decision to stop traveling, stop teaching, stop everything and return to Turkey to realize my vision of becoming an Actor. Putting all my energy into MAKING IT HAPPEN! Nothing could stand in my way. I was determined to see out any difficulties or challenges that awaited me. I had a dream to work towards. A goal, a purpose. A purpose much bigger than me. I left the Amazon. Went back to New York City and booked to first flight to Istanbul, Turkey.
Little would 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.