Below are frequently asked questions and answers. If you have a question that’s not on the list, please contact us and we’ll be happy to share more details.
How many people will be on my Lead Feather journey? Our journeys usually have a maximum of 10 participants, in order to ensure that the groups stay intimate and connected. The exception is Canyon de Chelly, since we try to include anyone who would like to learn more about Dine (Navajo) culture. In all cases we have a basecamp team to support everyone, with 2-4 guides and support staff.
What kind of people go on Lead Feather journeys? That’s a tough one, since there’s no particular profile of a typical Lead Feather journeyer. Some are business people, some are writers, others stay-at-home mothers, some are artists while others are entrepreneurs. A key thing that they have in common, though, is a desire to connect — to themselves, to each other, to new cultures, to mother Earth. They enjoy creating a community of support and friendship and have an interest in going deeper, whether it’s personally, spiritually, or in their relationships with others.
Do you have any journeys just for women? Yes, this year Mother-Daughter journey and the Inspired by Nature journey are women’s journeys. We also offer mixed-gender journeys, based on the important belief of our Ojibwa teachers — one which we share — is that we are all one. Male, female, tree, wind, rock, water. There is no “other,” and working with this concept is a key part of our journeys. The men who are our guides, as well as the men who choose to come on a journey, tend to be sensitive, loving and introspective men. And a lot of the personal growth we see for both men and women on the journeys comes from that interplay between the genders. That said, we offer both types of journeys since we recognize that sometimes women feel most comfortable sharing within a group of other women.
Where will we sleep? All of Lead Feather’s journeys help us get closer to nature. To accomplish that, we camp in tents (or if desired, you can sleep out under the stars…especially under the vast, high desert southwestern skies). Occasionally our basecamp is at a cabin in the Santa Fe National Forest. We can provide camping gear for each person, or you can bring your own.
Where do I fly into for the Southwest journeys? Albuquerque (ABQ) and Santa Fe (SAF) are the closest airports, with ABQ having the most flights of the two. If you fly into ABQ you can easily take the Sandia Shuttle from the airport to downtown Santa Fe. The Canyon de Chelly journey will leave from ABQ and drive through the gorgeous high desert into Navajoland.
I don’t have any camping or hiking experience, is that okay? Yes! Our Lead Feather guides will help you at every step of the way. Being in reasonably good shape is helpful, as is having a sense of adventure and an openness to your new surrounding. The journeys aren’t meant to be a great physical challenge…they nurture and heal through our connection to nature.
What preparation will I need to do for the journey? Not much preparation is required, though we will send out readings and thought-pieces in advance, for anyone who would like to start thinking about what they’d like to get out of the journey. In addition, we will have a group Skype or phone call a few weeks prior to the journey so participants can meet each other. We’ll walk through the various elements of the journey, answering questions and providing advice on all matters, practical and philosophical.
How about at the end of the journey — will we stay in touch? Yes, one of the unique offerings of our journeys is that we include three monthly group Skype calls as part of our participant fee. As one participant commented, “the calls were a way to reconnect to whatever got set in motion on the trip itself.” Another said that the calls were a really important part of the trip: “you can do an amazing trip but then life takes over and you can lose touch with it. The calls help keep it front and center.”
The wilderness solo sounds scary — is it safe? Definitely — and in addition to being safe, it’s actually a deeply powerful experience. Our team has supported hundreds of people in doing wilderness solos — most of whom had never done one before. What they often say when they walk into basecamp? “I wish the solo had been longer.” We know it can sound scary though, so call us and we can share more about how we support you before, during and after it.
I have specific food preferences. Can you accommodate them? In almost all cases the meals we cook can work for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free eaters. Just let us know your food preferences and we’ll figure out together how to best make it work. We use as much organic produce and food in our meals as we can, and mostly what people remember is how tasty and nourishing they were!
Do I need to bring my own tent or sleeping bag? While we encourage people to bring their own gear, since they’re familiar with it, Lead Feather will provide tents, sleeping bags and sleeping pads for anyone who needs them.