Spiritual Tourism


There are certain places on the planet I feel like I have been called to, where I deeply resonate with the land, the energy and the people-  Rio was never one of those places. I land here en route to John of God to meet up with a dear friend, a friend that I would call a soul brother – someone who I resonate with both spiritually, intellectually and philosophically. I have been curious about John of God since meeting someone at a Thanksgiving party over two years ago who was on her way and ended up spending 6 weeks. I like to call myself a spiritual tourist. I have had the good fortune to travel to some amazing spiritual centers around the world, Rishikesh India perhaps being the most profound. Join me in India November 15-28, 2018 with YogaFit

Once a year I try and give myself a spiritual vacation. Last year it was a week in Costa Rica doing plant medicine, I did not write or blog about it as it was a deeply personal experience and while I thought for a second about bringing it to the YogaFit network I was warned against it for other people’s fear that it might be too controversial. Left to my own devices I would be highly controversial very often.


Anyway back to Rio, as I am landing I get a text from my soul brother (who has been enjoying his time greatly for 9 days before my arrival – San Paulo, Rio – I was getting pictures of beautiful people on the beach, costume parades and parties. Making me wish that I did not have as many work commitments and that I could have joined sooner) anyway his text tells me he was jumped by 8 men at 4 am outside our residence, kicked, hit and they stole his US phone so I better text on his German one and to make sure that the taxi brings me all the way into the compound – past the gate. 


Welcome to Rio! When I arrive he is sleeping but his dear childhood friend takes me to the beach – Ipanema where we swim among the crowds and walk a bit on the sand. There are what feels like millions of people on this beach.  I want to say it’s lovely but that would be a lie. 


That night functioning on barely any sleep as I flew all night, we go to SambaDrone – A stadium that is miles long built just for this once a year event where dancers and floats parade by competing for top prize. We are in a lovely box with food and beverages, to be honest I have never seen anything like it. It’s truly amazing and I stay until 3 am – fortunately our guide from the small tour bus takes me back, walks me upstairs and makes sure I am safe. It’s rare I feel scared in a city but I do here … even as a native New Yorker I am completely out of my element. My friends don’t arrive home until 7 am.


We leave for Brasilia (the capital of Brazil) and spend a few hours touring around the city center admiring all the Mid Century architecture as the city was built and planned by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1956 and it was chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its modernist architecture and artistic urban planning.  I love Mid Century architecture so this was a real treat (Check this link out for more information!) from Brasilia we journey another hour and a half to Abadiania Brazil. Home to Casa De Dom Inacio de Loyola  - John of God. Millions of people have travelled from around the world to get healed by John of God, and while I have no major physical issues to be healed – a toe, a little knee thing ( but certainly some emotional ones ) I am here because I am curious, hopeful but have NO expectations. The only thing I have watched online is an Oprah special …. I usually don’t do my research on a place until after I have arrived. My philosophy is that I don’t want to taint my experience with too much forethought. In my opinion to have a clean experience means you need to show up clear of any preconceived notions or expectations. By the time we arrive it’s dark and after checking into my posada I walk around and check out the town, actually it’s a street filled with gem stone shops, cafes and an ayurvedic healing center. I feel at home in these little spiritual villages.


More to be continued over the next couple of days... Stay tuned! 

Beth Shaw