My time in Portugal was a bit of an unconventional one. I spent the first ten days helping on a small farm before heading down to a little community called Tribador to attend their annual Tribojam festival.
Tribador is a small sustainable community project with a few permanent residents and various guests passing through working together toward getting a permaculture project off the ground and getting as much off the grid as possible.
Tribojam festival is a little eco, music, sustainability and dance festival held on the property. There were lots of interesting talks and workshops throughout the day, and as part of the ticket we all had to help out a couple of hours a day.Our ticket also included all our meals and we all took turns to prepare and cook meals and we all ate together. That, along with the fact there were only a couple of hundred people at the festival, gave it a real sense of community.
There was a real mixed bag of different workshops and talks. I went to a few on permaculture, alternative currency systems, the global food system and a really interesting talk on UFOs! There were also yoga, massage and dance workshops to keep everyone occupied throughout the day. At night musicians got up on stage for a jam session while the rest of us hung-out and drank and talked.
There were also a few workshops and sessions around healing and energy and stuff like that. I am a massive skeptic and I’m not really into feeling around someone’s aura and holding hands while we open our chakras together type stuff, but I figured while I was at the festival I might as well have a go.
I got right in there and on the first morning joined the Welcome Circle.
“I can get on board with this stuff”, I told myself, “look at me bonding with strangers.”
The Welcome Circle involved myself and thirty or so of my fellow Tribojamers forming two lines, with a gap down the middle. This gap formed a kind of aisle that we had to take turns walking down, while everyone else in the lines touched the person walking and smiled and gave out love vibes.
I’m an affectionate person with people I want to be affectionate to. I have an endless supply of hugs and kisses for my friends and family and people I care about but I am really not into being all touchy-feely with people I don’t know well. While everyone else seemed to walk down the love-tunnel with a serene look on their faces, some crying with the emotion of it all, I walked down at a speed that was closer to a jog. Everyone was looking at me with love and patting me and I tried to look serene so I could fit in, but I ended up looking more like this
And just to confirm to me how kind of bullshit it all was, for me at least, one guy at the very end hugged me close and rested his head on my shoulder for 30 awkward seconds. Then, my time in the middle over, it was time for me to join the line again and I stood right next to him. Later that day he looked at me and smiled and said, “Oh hi, did you just arrive? I haven’t seen you before.”
Just in case that experience wasn’t enough to confirm that I am just not on board with that kind of shiz, I decided to attended a shamanic healing ceremony.
“No one can leave once the ceremony has begun.” The Sharman said. “If you leave to go to the toilet, you must come back, if you don’t come back I cannot be held responsible for what happens and everyone here is my witness.”
I threw my cynicism aside and told myself I was going to focus and really try and get into it. We were all instructed to close our eyes and breathe fast and put ourselves into a trance. Soon the room was filled with hyperventilating hippies. The Sharman moved around the room. When he got to me he said,
“You are not deep enough! Deeper!”
Then he dug his thumb really, really hard into my tummy. I cried out in pain and he dug his thumb in harder. It really bloody hurt! My friend later told me she heard my cry out and thought I was getting really into it. No. I was just in pain.
After that I just sort of felt pissed off. I tried getting back into it but I realised I was just laying around panting on a concrete floor with not even an inkling of a trance coming my way. People around me were now starting to moan and groan in addition to huffing and puffing and I was not down with laying around listening to it all for another hour. Not heading the Sharman’s warning about leaving, I peaked my eyes open. He was over in the corner doing something about someone’s chakra or what-not. His back was to me and the door, and I realised this was my chance. Quickly, quietly I stood up and made my way to the exit, dodging over people that were now starting to shake as well as moan and huff.
“Stuff that for a joke,” I thought to myself as I walked off, “I’m going to get a beer.”
While some of the more esoteric stuff clearly wasn’t for me I did have a really great week. I met a lot of wonderful, funny and kind people and it was just a great experience. By the end though I was ready to go, if for no other reason than after a week of camping without any kind of mattress and using just a stack of my clothes as a make-shift pillow, I was ready for a real bed.
I’m sort of on the last leg of my trip now. I’m in Germany catching up with some people, before a few weeks in Asia, then home! See you all soon xxxxxxxx