My Life in the Amazon Rainforest (and Why I Came Back to the City)

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This post is also available in: Portuguese

Inhaling the fumes of nature whilst making my documentary in the Amazon was much preferred to inhaling the fumes of pollution. Life in the Amazon is a simple story of survival, finding yourself and being at one with the world whilst emerging your senses in nature’s blessings. No currency. No buildings. No politics. No problems. I experienced life like it was in the beginning of time with one of the most primitive tribes. Then I realised that the world was split into two and we were actually worlds and times apart. The natural jungles have been replaced by urban jungles and futurism is taking over mother earth.

My experience began as a volunteer teaching English to the children of the Amazon schools before travelling deeper into the jungle to live, learn and experience the way of the life with the Waorani tribe. They welcomed me as one of their own, showing the most beautiful things in the world and giving me the most breathtaking of moments. A step back from life in a primitive time capsule can transform one’s perspective on the world. I spent my time understanding the tribe, getting involved with their daily duties, listening to their stories and even helping on their hunts for food and making the hammocks they sleep in. Followed by a series of humbled visions whilst facing many physical and mental challenges along the way, I was deeply stirred by awareness upon my return to London.

Remembering my first step back into the city, I saw a civilised mayhem overcrowded by urban slaves. I had been unplugged from the matrix, aware of a man made illusion that we all call, ‘the world’. Where had all the trees gone? They were replaced by buildings; urban nature. Why does everyone look fake? Robots within masks fuelled by the media. Their souls were hidden deep in their unconscious and these city people were my biggest fear. The buildings were controlling humans. That suggests who or what sits on a golden pot of power. A serious panic attacked the conscience and I was forced to accept that this is reality as well as what I had been calling for years, ‘life’.

The thirst for power in this urban jungle can be blinding. Some have no idea whilst working in their offices 9 to 5, living a normal life oblivious to how they are being controlled. It is a difficult battle. Nature versus urbanism. Where do you stand in this big city? Inside of it? Outside of it? Hanging from a bridge, somewhere in between?

My mind wanders back to the time when I was with some members of the tribe who may be slowly losing their culture through western influences. It began by wearing clothes, introducing western tools and slowly all else followed. Futurism is literally taking over the jungles as we speak. The elders are fighting and struggling to keep their primitive culture alive, rather than letting it turn into a mythical illusion of what once was. The Waorani tribe are very special and so is everything they live and fight for. I want to help them save their rainforest so that they can live the peaceful life they are known for.

My return to the city was for a purpose, even though I struggled to convince myself to get back on that plane to a place for so long I have known as home. The cord that separated us from mother nature, released us into a mass metallic universe was cut a very long time ago. But this mass metallica can cleverly control minds. For that reason, I had to come back and finish making my documentary. It didn’t feel like home at first. The truth is, until the message injects you with a detoxified perspective on reality, you have no real idea. Caught in a matrix. More people need to be aware of what is going on in the world. I had to dive into the heart of nature and back to try and achieve this realisation. That is why I returned to this urban jungle. Even though most of nature has been stripped down for buildings, there is something about this urban world that allows us to effectively communicate powerful messages to each other. I am still here to experience what I have and to write the words you read at this very moment.

Sarah Begum is a documentary filmmaker with a passion for travel, adventure, stories and helping people along the way. Her first documentary - Amazon Souls - was made in the Amazon Rainforest.

  • Aleteixido

    I posted in Nexos´s twitter, 
    Lots of love
    Ale

  • Aleteixido

    I posted in Nexos´s twitter, 
    Lots of love
    Ale

  • Aronnopasha

    wow! awoesome sarah….. i am proud for you. because you are my bangladeshi girl…….
        by……..aronnopasha2@yahoo.com

  • Shah Momin

    Sarah, its my life long dream to do something like this in challanging place. If I had a opportunity to do this type of work I would be there. I wish you all the best. If you want some assistants call me please.
    my email is napd2009@gmail.com
    @gmail:disqus 

  • Sarah Begum

    If you have any dreams, don’t lock them up in the dark until it’s too late…go out and live them!

  • David

    I have always wanted to do what you’ve done. Never ever regret going. :D

    • Sarah Begum

      Don’t wait…do it! ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/earl.wood.9 Earl Wood

    I would really like to do this. Not make a documentary but live with a tribe in the Amazon Rain-forest. I’m tired of all this crap in our society. What I am saying is that I am a 20 year old American male, will I be accepted into this tribe as well? Thank you for your time.

  • SandyJeanie

    I’ve always wanted to disappear into the Amazon Rain Forest and live with a tribe, especially the Zoe. I’ve been following them and keeping track of individual members since the 80s. I am 57 yrs old now and I feel like my time to do something like this is running out. Any ideas on how to bring my dream to fruition, would be much appreciated. I am a nurse, and could help with medical issues. I know the one thing that tribes like to receive from the outside world is help with medical problems, so they don’t lose members of their tribe to issues that are easily resolved with the proper treatment.

    • Rick

      Sandy, If you will allow I would like to respond to your input. I am an ex american male, 62, naturalized Brasilian living in Ecuador. I trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine yet have years of medical experience. l was born and raised in the forests of Minnesota, USA. The natural life is normal to me and the urban is everything that this author is saying it is… an jungle of power of who controls what piece of concrete. The amazon is no different… just a different setting with different concepts in which humans inhabit themselves. I too have wanted to return to the natural life and leave all this urban illusion behind. I wanted to feel important that I could give my medical skills to others, who do not have them available. I would like to be taught what they know. Sharing… comunicating… being.

      Getting to the amazon and living is possible at our age… if you have the ability to see things and live things differently. Thanks… Rick raahrens@gmail.com

      • Sarah Begum

        Anything is possible still at your age :-) The mind never sleeps. Even when it sleeps, it is dreaming. x

    • Sarah Begum

      Hi Sandy, you have a beautiful and noble talent as a nurse, you can help save lives and cure people. It would be worth finding out how you can combine your strength, talent and interest with your passion to visit a tribe. Be aware that certain western medicines can have negative effects on them and some tribes use ancient ways to help themselves. If you can help enhance the tribes way of life by and IF they are in search of this, then it would be a good idea to do some research on which tribes would be happy to welcome you to their world. All the best, Sarah X

  • Onelifeoneuglyworld

    God, my heart. Sarah if you see this, how could you have went into the forests without being poisoned by snakes eaten by panthers, or tribes? How did you make it to forests, who and what did you take with you. A knowledge of tribes and survival?

  • Sarah Begum

    @97175d1e3f1190838043fbbfac150b02:disqus So true! Maybe you and Sandy should go together?

  • Sarah Begum

    @facebook-1305330439:disqus I’m sure you will be accepted into this tribe, they are very pleasant people. You never know what reception you will get until you actually get there. In my case, I got a lot more than I expected ;-) If it is your dream to go, do not let anyone stop you. Life is too short so live it with a smile on your face and no regrets :-) x

  • Sarah Begum

    Dear everyone for your lovely posts…if you have a dream, plan to make it into a reality then live it. It’s simple once you start. The journey may be touch and long but it is always worth it in the end. Fate calls you when you are on the path of your dreams. This journey defined the rest of my life and my career. Once you live your dream, post on here and let me know you’ve been to the Amazon or the Zoe tribe or whatever your dream may be. Time escapes with ever breath and I want to die knowing I wasted no time in doing all the things my heart sets to do. How is it you want to live?

    • Avani Jain

      Thanks for those inspiring lines
      I have always wanted to build a machine that could make viruses which could cure almost every disease a human suffers from (including psychological) and also to have a flying broomstick , sounds funny right?
      All the people laugh at it !
      But I live for it!
      For the Vedas, the mantras, the reality And its link to the dimensions and ofcourse my fire bolt (name for my broomstick)
      That’s why I want to be isolated into a world of my own and I will be!
      They want me to make a career but I will make a life!
      Perhaps….. cause I happen to be a socialist and a little gregarious
      But I will !
      I know I just will!
      And perhaps no one will know or everyone will ;-)

  • Rachel

    hi sarah, im doing a project… but i think ur writing and ur journey was awesome. but i need pics too, more pics… can u like maybe send more pics to me. oics wen u were there. BTW im in 6th. pinkrachellee@gmail.com

    thank you so much
    rachel

  • Rachel

    pics for my project

  • Rachel

    how old r u?

    • Sarah Begum

      24

      • Avani Jain

        Why did you leave amazon?
        And when and how did you go there?

  • Rachel

    i need info for my project

    • Sarah Begum

      What sort of info?

  • Sarah Begum

    Hi Everyone, for more pictures and info about this project and my other work, please see my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sarahbegumtv

    Also please visit my website: http://www.sarahbegum.tv

    Thank you!

    Sarah
    xx

  • shannon stalen

    could you help me with knowing what tasks the women do???

    • Sarah Begum

      Sure… What do you want to know exactly and why?

  • opu

    I am from Bangladesh too i am proud of u people. u did a great job i really appreciate Sarah for your excellent work. neway what is the name of the documentary of the above photos?

    • Sarah Begum

      Thank you. “Amazon Souls”

  • http://www.facebook.com/maxie526 Ivar Kuijt

    I’m so sick of this easy life we live today. How do you get water? You just go down the kitchen and get water from the water tap. How do you get food? You simply open the fridge and get the food you want. It’s so easy. Have you ever thought about why many people become depressed and feel that life is pointless? It’s because of society. Life in a society is so damn easy that life will at one point start to feel pointless. Sure, the idea is good for some people. Sadly society isn’t optional, unlike it used to be. Even if I move to a rain forest I’m still in a society where laws and rules apply, although there is no police to make sure people obey their laws.

    Laws are in some way a contract. They are a bargain.. you agree to not harm others, play by the rules and in return they will safeguard your liberty and life against harm from others – punishing those that transgress this arrangement. The contract then kind of extends outwards from there to fill hundreds of books of detailed rules about what you can and can’t do and what the state will do to you if you break them. But what if we wanted to exercise our ultimate liberty – the one a soul is born with – and simply not recognize that they have any legitimate authority over us? Can we opt out of society? Can we say “thanks but no thanks, it’s not for me”? I am not talking of revolution.. I am talking of opting out. If we benefit from the system, get health care, use roads, energy, get a passport etc.. If we participate in it its only reasonable that we play by it’s rules that come attached to that game. But if we don’t want to, where else can we go? Is it just to ask someone to play by a set of rules when they have no alternative? There isn’t anywhere on earth that I am aware of that isn’t officially owned or run by some state or another. I mean if you just decided one day “you know what, I think all these governments are complete twats and the lot of them can shove it. I’m just want to go and do my own thing somewhere, look after myself and recognize no authority other than nature” – then what can you do? You could go ‘off grid’ somewhere remote but technically you are still under someone’s influence or jurisdiction. If their army or police or whoever turn up at your door step then you have to deal with them.

    It seems a bit unfair doesn’t it? We’re all kinda trapped in that sense. It’s really just a case of one lot or another, there doesn’t seem to be any alternative. Is there? People say living in a prison is horrible. But there is one very large prison in this world: society. I’m so tired of this, society life is so complex and full of stress and easy ways to live. It’s full of worries about education, getting a job, family and also smaller things like PCs and other technical things. And the never ending list goes on. Face the truth, everyone in this world is brainwashed by what we call a society. Draw a world map and call a place Norway and put a uniform on a modern version of a monkey (because that’s what humans are) and it will fight other so-called countries who try to invade its homeland. That’s a simplified version of the truth. See how easily brainwashed we are? I don’t want to live in this society anymore, I wish I could just go out of this house tonight and just wander off into the wilds and live life the way we humans are meant to live it. I have woken up from this illusion we call a society. But many others have not. There are very few people who have. Back in the stone age or and before that every man was strong because the strength was needed to survive. Now look at us. We’re weak. We don’t need our instincts anymore and the strength to live in an easy life like this. In the far away future humans will most likely have become even weaker and maybe lost their instincts because we don’t need them. Imagine if something very bad was to happen then, like a huge asteroid ramming into the Earth. The human race will go extinct because we don’t have the necessary survival skills anymore because we don’t need them in our easy lives. That will mean the end of the human race. I will not go down as a weak man. I will live in the wilds and become a strong and skilled survivor. I do not want to become a weakling like the others are.

    Many people will call me a madman or mentally unstable because I think like this. Is it really that bad? We’re all still animals on the inside, just with clothes on and in a society because we are so easily brainwashed. People go to jail for killing someone for revenge, although that is very natural. Some people even get hanged because they are natural humans who live in this prison we call society where we have laws and rules to avoid letting us do what’s natural. We humans are not meant to live like this. One day I will take one final journey. I will go to South America into the rain forest and live there until my last day comes. I know that if something bad happens to me there no one will come to help me. For example, if I break both of my legs and can’t walk, I will die. But those are the laws of nature. The strong will survive and the weak will die. I respect that law, unlike this society does. Helping out others and slowing down the strong..

    • James

      Absolutely agreed, I’m only 28 and have come to this awakening!!! I wouldnt care if an asteroid hit the planet, or if I were to die, or anyone for that matter, as like you said it’s nature. Problem in the West is, everyone fears it!!

  • Ughhhh

    I can’t do this, I want to join a tribe and live in the jungle too.

  • Avani Jain

    My childhood dream and also a dream as a teenager when people are telling me to chose a career And make a life, is to live in a peaceful place, in a jungle where I can make my dreams come true
    Which are definitely not working a successful career….. but something which people call “impracticality”
    I am so waiting and working for the day I will collect all the knowledge that I need , that I want And swing into my dream place
    Where my soul belongs
    Nomore I will be , as Sarah Begum said, unplugged from the matrix!!!

  • Bluestonelett

    i would live in a tribe for few month in amazon, for sure when you come back home you are not the same person as before. an experience as this must change yourself

    • Sarah Begum

      It really does. Forever

      • James

        I am contemplating doing this, but I am also spiritual, and have been doing/researching plants for some time. It seems everyone over here needs a big dose of wake the F*** up also known as, DMT.

  • LaylaPaige101

    If you were going to write a fictional story about the Amazon Rainforest, what would you call it?

  • Liza

    TANKS GODZILLA

  • vfreezegoode

    Sarah, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I found your link while researching ethnobotany, ayahuasca, and meditating on how to best remove myself from an “urban” life-I am considering giving it all up, pledging my heart and remaining time here to betterment, and have experience with basic first aid/cpr, learn languages well, and have a loving soul. Thank you again for this posting which I view as a synchronous, time-capsule of timely motivation and hope.

  • ScubaSteve

    I had similiar revelations during (and reflecting after) my first fire fight while deployed with the US Army to Iraq. Humanity and nature, and how we seem to moving very far in the opposite direction of where I imagine the indigenous peoples of Central America are. Needless to say, I am out of the Army now, finishing up my TEFL course, and moving to Central America in a couple months to see what happens. Researching my trip is how I stumbled upon this article. I mainly just wanted to say that it’s nice to know I’m not alone in having some of these feelings. When I try to talk to people about it, they think say I’m crazy, then get in their lifted, V-8, 4 mpg getting trucks and drive off (I currently live in Arizona). It also provides me with a bit of relief knowing that others out there are going through what I’m going through. Thanks, and keep up the fight. p.s. I’m going to try to find “Amazon Souls” to watch.