Mike Munter

mike munter in hawaii 2016Mike Munter was born in 1965 and grew up in Reisterstown, Maryland. His parents moved there in 1972 when his Dad got a new job at Westinghouse in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

Mike was raised there with his two younger sisters Michelle and Melanie, until later when he moved out and purchased his first home in Annapolis.

A self-proclaimed “workaholic,” Mike didn’t do much travelling until he was in his 40’s. Prior to that, he was focused on establishing himself in his careers as an IT technician and later as a front office executive in minor league baseball.

He recalls one trip taken with his family in the late 70’s:

“My Mom had an uncle in Roanoke and so we set out in my Dad’s 1973 Ford Maverick. Me and my sisters were in the back seat, each of us probably between the ages of 7 to 12. I remember we were stocked up with toys back there – we had “Etch-A-Sketch,” “Merlin,” and things to draw on. I’m sure Mom didn’t want us getting bored.

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“As you can see in the map here, the trip should take about 4 hours or so, but somewhere around the 6 hour mark, I remember Mom and Dad deciding they were lost. Who knows where they got off track, but I remember us not arriving at my Great Uncle’s house until the early evening. It took us 8 hours.”

Munter adds: “I didn’t know it then, but that would be the only family vacation we ever took.”

These days, Mike has taken two cross country road trips, the first in 1992 and the 2nd in 2007. He has travelled abroad to Mexico, Canada, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Australia.

He is a frequent visitor to Hawaii, as that is where his daughter and granddaughter currently live.

Tell us about a favorite trip you’ve taken.

I’d say my trip to Peru was my favorite.

What attracted you to Peru?

At the time I went to Peru, I was in the midst of what you might call a mid-life crisis. It was 2009, I wasn’t working, and I didn’t know what I would do next. I was spending all the money I’d save from prior careers, but now I had no idea what I wanted to do.

So, I went to Peru for a couple of reasons:

  1. I went to work with a shaman who I thought might help me find my purpose in life
  2. I wanted to overcome my fear of travelling alone to another country

Please share your memories from the trip.

The trip was 2 1/2 weeks along and it took place in January of ’09. I flew into Lima and then to Cuzco. From there, it was a 45 minute cab ride around the mountain to a little town called Pisac. This is where I was staying and this is where I met Javier, the shaman I’d setup to do work with.

The ‘work’ I’m speaking of is drinking ayahuasca. I did three ceremonies where I drank the awful tasting root and waited for healing visions. Of course, ayahuasca is referred to as “the purge,” so I got sick and had diarrhea, along with the others who were in the temple with me.

My first ceremony was difficult. I was shown how I tend to focus on the negative side of things. I was incredibly sick – I felt like I had food poisoning. I remember writhing in pain until about 3 or 4 in the morning. I was sick 3 times and felt like “Why did I come here? This is horrible?”

The next morning, I joined the other 5 or 6 people and we each shared our experience and what we learned from it. Javier, much like a therapist, gave us each feedback.

My second ceremony was the exact opposite. I went in with the intention of resolving my relationship with all 4 of my parents (two birth parents + two adopted parents). I had emotional visions of my birth mother and my Mom who raised me. These visions were powerful and still with me today. They helped me see that my birth mother put me up for adoption out of of love, not rejection. I saw how much my Mom who raised me loved me and how some of the things I did hurt her. I laughed and cried and had an amazing experience.

The third and final ceremony I have to admit, I sort of ‘went through the motions.’ I got sick twice and probably could’ve drinken more ayahuasca to try to deepen the experience, but I was done. I was exhausted. I had done 3 ceremonies in 7 days and I knew I had one more final ceremony to go.

The last ceremony was drinking San Pedro, which is a cactus. It’s called “the heart opener” and helps get you in touch with nature. And boy did it. I lay in a corn field for hours admiring the strength of the stalks. I felt at one in the garden.

As I look back, it’s no surprise I became a big gardener later that spring of 2009. I felt a strong urge to grow food and know where my food came from. That strong sense is still with me today.

After all the ceremonies were complete, I visited Machu Picchu, which was incredible.

So, I had a very memorable trip and in addition to all this, I made new friends who I’m still in touch with today. I got to go face to face with my fear of travelling alone, and I got to see one of the wonders of the world. So, it was a very spiritual and beautiful trip.

What other places have you visited? What’s next?

I’ve got a trip booked to Iceland in May of 2016. I’ll be travelling there with my friend Matt. We’re spending a couple days in Reykjavik to get acquainted and then we’ve rented a car and plan to see the island. I’m excited to see the landscape and look forward to learning more about the culture.

What advice would you give to a first time traveller?

For me, it’s important to know where I’m staying and to have a lose plan of what I’ll be doing. I don’t like “feeling” like a tourist. I yearn for a more authentic experience where I get a feel for the culture. I don’t like to be booked every minute, every day. Be safe and follow your gut, but be open to new experiences and new people!

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