Vision Quest Q & A
Find the answers here to some commonly asked, practical questions you may have as you explore participating in a Sacred Vision Quest.
Q: How physically demanding is your vision quest? Do I need to be in top shape to attend?
Our vision quests are not necessarily physically demanding. You don’t need to be
in top shape. However, you should be able to hike with your full backpack for up to a mile on level ground without becoming completely out of breath or experiencing any pain in your chest or legs. Typically, the challenge is more mental (psychological) and emotional. The vision quest is an invitation to step outside of your comfort zone. It’s an opportunity to experience being on your edge without the distractions of companionship, food, and shelter. The vision quest brings you face to face with yourself – your shadows, your beauty, and your power.
Q: What kinds of changes and growth have people experienced as a result of going on a vision quest? Are the changes lasting ones?
The benefits of personal transformation are many and are as varied as the individuals attending a vision quest. Participants report discovering a profound degree of self-confidence, empowerment, clarity and illumination, inner stability, freedom, and awakening. We’ve found that many questers receive exactly what they need at that particular juncture in their lives.
As with any personal transformation, you may have a profound opening to how you want to change your life. In some cases this manifests as a dramatic change in career direction or relationship status; in others it may show itself as a more subtle (but very significant) shift into a more sacred, holistic way of living and loving. However, it’s up to you to either embrace this transformation or allow yourself to step back into old familiar ways. During the final phase of the quest, the group acknowledges and honors the changes you’ve undergone, which helps to solidify and integrate these newly discovered aspects of yourself into your new life.
Q: If something undesirable happens to me during my solo days out in the wilderness, is help readily available? Will I be safe?
Your safety is always our primary concern. Before going out on your solo, you will be instructed in how to be alone in the wilderness, the possible effects of fasting, as well as what to do if an emergency should occur.
Although our wilderness activities are primarily low-risk and group camp-based (in contrast to high-risk adventures such as rafting or mountaineering, for instance), any foray into the wilderness is bound by some degree of risk, due to the environment and exposure. Our guides are fully qualified to handle situations that may arise, from extensive experience in group risk management, wilderness medicine and education, and vision quests. In addition to training with premier outdoor leadership organizations, they stay up to date with current risk management awareness regulations and practices.
While you are alone on your solo, there will always be an experienced guide at base camp to provide emotional and/or medical support. Each of our guides is also a certified Wilderness First Aid/First Responder. In addition, we incorporate a ‘Buddy System’ that allows you and your buddy to have daily check-ins with each other. This check-in is done through a ‘Buddy Circle’, that allows each of you to maintain your private solo time.
Since the essence of a vision quest is to stretch you beyond your comfort zone, there is risk. However, this risk is what makes the vision quest such a powerful tool for personal transformation.
Q: What if I get light-headed from hunger? What’s the experience like for most people?
The overall effects of fasting are fairly consistent–hunger pangs, light-headedness, headache, and changes in elimination–with each individual experiencing some degree of discomfort. You may experience an empty, growling feeling in your stomach, or a mild headache from your body beginning to purify. For the most part, by the end of the first day you will have felt your share of missing the experience of eating.
If you are conscious about drinking an adequate amount (at least ¾ of a gallon) of water throughout the day, you should be fine. It’s surprising how quickly sipping some water will remove the pang of hunger. Even though most participants are a bit concerned about fasting, that tends to be one of the easier aspects of the solo time.
Q: What happens if there’s bad weather? Will I be out in it alone?
As long as the weather isn’t extreme, the weather is part of your experience. Again, the essence of a vision quest is to stretch you. You are on a spiritual journey, a rite of passage. This isn’t a vacation. So expect to have moments of discomfort.
Q: What does the course fee include?
The course fee covers participation in the course led by up to two experienced, trained vision quest guides. It covers administrative expenses including program/site coordination, certifications, insurance, permits, first aid supplies, travel expenses for the guides, etc.
The course fee does NOT include the participant's travel expenses, food/water, camping equipment/supplies, and personal clothing/items. Participants are asked to be self-sufficient regarding their equipment, food and water (1 gallon per day); however, we will provide the break-fast meal when you come off your solo time. We will also provide a central kitchen area with a few extra cooking stoves, some general cooking equipment (such as pots and pans), a basic dishwashing area, and a few large containers of water for our time together.
In addition, the course fee does not include campground and vehicle permits for national or state parks.
Q: What kinds of training have the guides completed?
Every guide at Sacred Vision Quests has been trained at The School of Lost Borders, is a member of the Wilderness Guides Council, is a certified NOLS Wilderness First Aid/First Responder (National Outdoor Leadership School), is a Leave No Trace Trainer, and is intimately experienced with every aspect of the vision quest ceremony.
Q: I like the idea of signing up for one of your journeys, but it seems personally challenging and a bit expensive. How will I know if it’s the right time to do this?
I’m sure you’ve had times in your life when you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone. Was it challenging? Most likely. Was it worth the cost? In most cases, I’m sure it was. With a vision quest, you’ll be choosing to be alone in the wilderness, without food, without companionship, and with minimum shelter for up to four days and four nights. That can definitely be challenging. But keep in mind, you’ll be with a group of fellow fasters. Before going out on your solo, you will be instructed in how to be alone in the wilderness, the possible effects of fasting, as well as what to do in case of an emergency. And as we mentioned earlier, there will always be a trained guide at base camp to provide emotional and/or medical support. You also have your buddy who will be checking in on you each day.
Is it worth the cost? It's always difficult to place a value on personal transformation. Our experience has been that participants become deeply passionate and thrilled about the adventure their lives can become, simply from getting in touch with such deep reservoirs of creativity and inner knowingness. It’s not that the guides “make” this happen or magically draw it out – it’s the result of the beautiful process of one’s self finding one’s larger Self through the quest. For most, it's a pivotal point in their lives.
As for knowing if it’s the right time, you really have to answer that yourself. However, if you’re full of curiosity, feeling a strong desire, or just know intuitively that it’s time to take the plunge, then go with it! We refer to this as hearing the ‘Call of the Quest’. The ‘call’ is that inner voice that inspires you to step out of your familiar life to explore your edge, the world outside your comfort zone. It’s that place where you truly come alive and can reflect on yourself and your life with great clarity. Tapping into that special zone is what the vision quest is all about – it’s what brings about the powerful transformation.