My Strange Adventure With the Devoted Followers of Dr. Lovewisdom
I always thought my mother's spiritual seeking was silly. So I almost couldn't believe it when a wacky new age community helped me cope with her death.
Illustrations by Iris Monahan
“Go all the way down this road,” the driver said as he pulled my giant backpack from the combi, a hybrid van-taxi, before chugging off and leaving me at the gated entrance to Vilcabamba, Ecuador’s southernmost village. As I squinted toward the glowing lights in the distance, a warm wind lashed my face and spun dust around my feet in small flurries.
It was 9 o’clock on a Sunday night, and I’d broken my first rule of traveling alone in South America: I was arriving in a new town after dark.
But as I walked the wide dirt lane into town, the darkness lifted. In its place were pools of silvery light gleaming under swinging iron lamps. Down a cobbled side street, an Ecuadorian man in a cowboy hat jumped off his horse and guided it to a tie-off post. In the center of a tidy plaza up ahead was an illuminated fountain that bathed everything in an eerie glow. I laughed to myself, wondering if this was the fountain of youth the locals had talked about.