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Welcome to Bud Voyage, the Emerald‘s monthly column by Ashley Laderer discussing all things travel, cannabis, and how combining the two can make your adventures that much better. Wanderlust may ensue…so pack your bags, prepare for takeoff, and get ready to join the other mile high club.
Laderer is an avid traveller, and writer who splits most of her time between New York and Los Angeles.
*Editor’s note: Cannabis is still illegal in most countries throughout the world, and can result in harsh penalties for foreigners. Last names have been removed for privacy.
Traveling isn’t just about where you go, it’s about what you do once there, how you immerse yourself in the culture, and who you meet along the way. Consuming cannabis while traveling is one way to enhance every aspect of your adventures and high-ten your senses—no matter where you jet off to. It’s an excellent travel companion; it’s as useful as your best carry-on, and as comforting as your favorite travel pillow.
We spoke to four travelers about their favorite memories where cannabis and travel intersected.
Spirituality and cannabis are often intertwined. Megan, who hails from New York City, had one of the most magical experiences of her life when visiting Stonehenge, the famous prehistoric monument in England.
Much about this site remains a mystery, including why it seemingly emits a special energy today.
“My friend and I did the half hour hike to the monuments and walked around for a bit. My friend remembered that she had packed her pen and whipped it out,” Megan remembers. “We took a few hits—discreetly of course—and it really got us into feeling the spiritual vibe of the place.”
The cannabis allowed her to tap into the ancient holiness of the World Heritage Site in a way she wouldn’t have been able to without weed, she explains.
“We had taken the time to learn about the importance and significance of Stonehenge to Druids [religious leaders in ancient Celtic religion] and contemporary groups. Stonehenge has so many connections to the celestial, like the way it aligns with the solstice,” she continues. “I felt that [cannabis] helped connect me to those who built Stonehenge—to understand our connection within time and the universe.”
“We also couldn’t help but giggle over the fact that we got stoned at Stonehenge,” Megan jokes.
Weed has a way of getting us in touch with our spiritual side; but it can also help us get more in tune with nature, too.
John, from Ithaca, New York, recalls a cold January day when he and his friends decided to do an early morning hike in Massachusetts. A winter wake and bake ensued, beginning with hot coffee spiked with THC and CBD tinctures.
“We hopped in the car and drove to the trail head. In the warmth of the car we packed a few bowls and took some hits from a small bowl a friend had,” he says. “After that, we grabbed our packs and started hiking through the quiet stillness of the winter forest.”
They hiked for an hour or so until they reached the summit, where there happened to be a fire tower.
“We climbed to the top of the tower, strung up our hammocks and laid in them as we watched the sun rise up over the trees,” he recalls. “Being high and just laying there in the sky was a calming and unreal time.”
John says being baked heightened his senses on this hike in the best way possible—from the sensation of inhaling cold fresh air into his lungs, to the burn in his calves signaling that his body was working hard, to the feeling of the wind cutting through his layers of clothing.
“[Cannabis] gives you more awareness and keeps you centered and more mindful of what’s going on,” he says.
Jake from New York City also had a magical experience with nature while on a mother-son trip to Cinque Terre, Italy, which is located along the Italian Riviera and overlooks the Mediterranean sea and colorful, cliffside villages.
“My mom was literally crying from the beauty and the fact we were finally visiting our homeland together,” he says. “I can specifically remember how much more I appreciated the colors, sounds, and texture of this land that was so foreign to us.”
Jake suffers from anxiety, and was extremely stressed about the trip. Smoking his handy dandy pen allowed his worries to melt away. Better mental health=better trip.
“My anxiety about planning the perfect trip quickly went away,” he says. “When I wouldn’t smoke, I felt like a tourist, kind of lost and not really knowing where I was going—uncomfortable, almost.”
When he smoked, “it was the complete opposite,” Jake continues. “I embraced being ‘lost’ and gladly wandered around, taking in all of the beauty that was around me.”
Cannabis allowed Jake to be in the moment, something that we should strive for when we travel, but isn’t always easy. Sometimes, we get too caught up trying to hit all the “must see” tourist destinations, or stuck on our phones.
“Any free time I had, I’d step out of the hotel, smoke my pen with absolutely no plan and just wander,” Jake explains. “In doing so, I discovered landmarks I never would have seen because they weren’t the general tourist locations, and met new people on the streets and in bars as well.”
Cannabis has a way of bringing people together here in the U.S., and the same goes it Italy.
“When [locals would] see I had a pen, it was almost a form of camaraderie,” he says. “They’d smoke with me after meeting just minutes before and we would almost always talk about how cool it is that a tourist from the U.S. and a local from Italy could build trust so quickly and enjoy one another’s company through the use of my smoking device.”
Jake isn’t the only one who’s made new friends during his travels thanks to the herb. Alex from Long Beach, New York, was on the hunt for weed in Tulum, Mexico, where she was staying solo to relax and recuperate after a three day long bachelorette party.
“Spending so much time with that many people I barely knew required an energy recharge before and after,” she admits. “Luckily, I got some bud from a local who has been living in a hut on the beach for the last 30 years.”
“We smoked and laughed and he sent me home with a handful,” she says. “Nothing brought me back into myself and my body quite like smoking those joints every day.”
Cannabis helped Alex feel like her normal zen self again, and to truly enjoy the chill beach lifestyle Tulum offers. “I’d post up in a beach cabana with my book and some music, and openly smoke my weed amongst the tourists,” she says. “Locals approached me offering me free coconuts in exchange for a puff, and it made my experience super mellow and enjoyable.”
She made friends who she vibed with, and the solo trip ended up not being so solo after all.
“The weed actually worked as a catalyst to introduce me to new, local friends […],” she says. “It made me stay present in the very chill moments of that trip. I might have had a lonelier experience had I not had it.”
Next time you travel near or far, consider taking your friend Mary Jane along with you. You never know what kind of experiences or connections cannabis might open you up to, whether you’re amidst mysterious prehistoric rocks or pristine white sand Carribean beaches. As Dr. Seuss said, “Oh, the places you’ll