While the super-car or the SUV has replaced the camel as the most popular means of transportation in the modern Emirates, the animal retains an important place in the nation’s heart. “Beautiful camel” may strike you as something of an oxymoron. But many a bedouin or sheikh will think nothing of dropping up to $3 million dollars on a so-called prized beauty, in the hope that she’ll bring home the coveted Bayraq—the fairest camel in the land. In this episode of The VICE Guide to Travel, Charlet finds herself the only woman in the desert, looking for the elusive beauty in the beast.
Sedona, Arizona is believed by many to be the “energy capital of the United States,” as it is surrounded by several energy vortexes.
For the uneducated, “energy vortexes” are swirling centers of mystical energy that come from the center of the Earth (duh). Because of this, Sedona has a booming new age tourist industry (pictured above).
I’m not a very spiritual person, and am frequently jealous of those who are, so I decided to head to the desert to explore these vortexes and try to have a spiritual awakening. Luckily for me, there are multiple companies in Sedona willing to take your money in exchange for guiding you on a vision quest.
I went with a company called Red Rock Tours, because they were the first thing that came up when I googled “vortex tour.” For just $105 (+ tax), they will take you for a three hour tour of Sedona’s most sacred mystical spots.
This is my tour guide, Mark, who is trained in both matrix energetics AND reconnection therapy. I don’t know what either of those things are, but they definitely sound pretty cool.
As we drove to our first location, Mark gave us a little bit of history on Sedona and the vortexes. Which was pretty TLDR, but the gist of it is: the Earth is covered in these things called “ley lines,” which are lines that energy moves in. When two lines cross each other, they create an “energy center,” which in the case of Sedona, manifests itself as a series of swirling “vortexes.”
Mark drove us out to the first vortex on our agenda, which was located by Sedona’s airport. He warned us, “you’ve gotta promise me you won’t do any levitating! The pilots really don’t like that.” Which was promising.
He told us that a minor miracle once happened here. He was taking a tour group that included a man from Texas whose arm had been crippled for seven years due to a stroke. (That’s Mark showing you what a crippled hand looks like. Just in case you were unsure.) After just a few minutes at the vortex site, the man was able to feel his arm tingling. A couple of hours later, he was able to raise it all the way above his head. Mark thinks it was DEFINITELY because of the energy, ”I do not believe in coincidence at all. In no way,” he told us.
Can you imagine how weird life must be if you don’t believe in coincidences, BTW? Like, a couple of days ago, I was walking in LA with my iPod on random, and the song “Stay” by Lisa Loeb came on, which was featured on the Reality Bites soundtrack, and I thought to myself, huh, I wonder what Janeane Garofalo is up to these days? at which point I realized I was standing directly outside the building where they filmed the opening of Romi and Michele’s High School Reunion, and I was like “woooooah,” because Janeane Garofalo is also in that movie. AND THEN, when I got home, I looked on the Daily Mail website, and there was a story about Garofalo, right there on the homepage. I don’t hear anything about JG for ten years, and then she’s there three times in one day. I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I were Mark, what the fuck would I think that meant?
Anyway. This is where the vortex is. Which was super nice. It looked like a desktop background, but IRL.
We were told that a lot of people feel a tingling when they’re there, or the hair stands up on the back of their neck.
I felt nothing, but Mark told us to go off and take some time by ourselves to try and connect with the energy. He told us, “It’s really about opening your chakras and being present and getting out of your left brain. Breathe and be in the moment.”
This is me breathing in the moment, trying super hard to get out of my left-brain. Turned out to be pretty tough. Mainly because I couldn’t remember which one was the right brain and which was the left brain. Based on the general hippie vibes, I guessed that it was the non-arsty one. So I tried to get way outta there.