5 Tips To Finding Weed When Traveling Abroad: Loud’s Travels
So, I’ve finally done it – I left the United States for the first time ever. As I type this, I’m in an AirB&B in Lima, Peru. I’m sipping a cold beer, blissfully stoned, facing a window that overlooks San Isidro. My fiancee and I have spent months preparing and planning for this trip, and I spent many hours working the overnight shift at my job, daydreaming about traveling abroad and finally leaving the states, which has been something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember.
I love traveling so much that I’ve hitchhiked around the states purely driven by a love for, well, getting lost. In various parts of my twenties, I wandered around, homeless with very little money and possessions. As strange as it sounds, it was some of the happiest times of my life. I built a knack for finding myself in a new place and being able to make new friends. I somehow always managed to find a job to take care of my basic needs, and because I was always on the move I was in the best shape of my life. I was fine with very little, as long as I could find a good time, some kind of new experience, and, of course, some good bud.
Now that I just turned 32, and became a first time father a little more than a year ago, my life looks a lot different than it did back then. And while I sometimes long for the days of drinking and smoking with hobo hippies and old-school Rastas under freeways, I am digging the more structured (and safe) path my life is currently on. But those early days of wandering aimlessly did teach me a lot about life and arm me with some pretty dope skills.
One such skill is how to find bud when you arrive in a new and foreign place. Until now, I’ve never had the opportunity to put this into practice in another country, and while we were planning the trip it was heavily on my mind. Luckily, I was able to find some magic herb after only 5 days of being here and even better – it’s actually some damn good bud. So how did I do it exactly? Read on and I’ll give you 5 things you need to know and keep in mind to help you find Mary Jane when traveling abroad.
Tip 1 – Know The Laws Where Ever You Travel
This rule easily applies to anywhere you travel, even within the United States, because unfortunately, smoking reefer is still a crime in most states of the U.S. and in the majority of the world. And even in places with more relaxed laws or penalties, the social view of weed is still coming around and will take a long time to get to an even reasonable place. I still believe there’s a Karen somewhere in Colorado who calls the cops every time she thinks her “ethnic” neighbors are burning the devil’s lettuce… actually, I don’t believe it, I KNOW that Karen still exists.
So, it sounds cliche, but KNOW YOUR RIGHTS, especially if you plan to have bud on your persons at all in public. It also serves you in figuring out exactly how and where you can buy cannabis. Sometimes you’ll be surprised to find that the place you’re heading to looks down upon recreational use but may offer some sort of medicinal program you may qualify for. But above everything, it will prepare you mentally for how to deal with the law if, god forbid, you have to deal with them.
Now in my situation, I gathered all of this information through a quick Google search, and it turned out that Peru legalized medicinal marijuana and possession of under 8 grams for recreational use back in 2017. This gave me a bit of peace of mind before going about this, but reading a bit more into it reveals that police in Peru can be sketchy as all hell, which pretty much nulls all of this if you come across a cop crooked enough to try and get a bribe out of you. Selling or even intent can catch you hell from the law, so I decided to always remain on the side of caution.
But either way, I wasn’t coming to Peru to become the Walter White of cannabis, I just really wanted to enjoy a good high while doing all the dope shit I had planned for my trip.
Tip 2 – Don’t Stay at a Hotel
Now that we are a bit familiar with some of the dangers that finding some herbals may present, we can get into the truly fun part – the planning. But before really getting into everything, I have to advise you to not stay at a hotel. Now, by all means, if you have the money to shell out for a nice place, that’s dope. And you may even be able to find a hotel that allows you to puff up securely in the comfort of your own room.
But to truly learn about the people and experience the heart of any place when traveling abroad, you should try using a service like AirB&B or something similar. I’ve had a handful of experiences using AirB&B, all of which gave me something memorable. I once stayed in Washington D.C. and the man that owned the property gave me and my fiancee free tickets to the African American Museum that had just opened up at the time.
My experience with this Peru trip has me staying in an apartment building, a place that has given me the experience of what it would be like to live here. My fiancee and I have done our own grocery shopping, avoided drinking the tap water, used public transit and been forced to learn our way around the city. And being in the building we are surrounded by actual local Peruvians instead of wealthy tourists. It’s given a bit of insight into the social and cultural fabric of the place we are in, and that’s something you won’t learn from staying at a Hyatt.
Tip 3 – Curb Your Expectations
If you live in a legal state in the U.S. like Colorado or California, access to good bud is probably really good for you. But when you travel outside the U.S., especially to a place like Peru where a strong negative social stigma still exists in regards to Mary Jane, you have to keep in mind that it might not be easy to find bud and even if you do, it might not compare to what you’re used to.
Now there is a silver lining here – people have been smoking weed for centuries, all across the world. Even when you think you’re in a place where you couldn’t possibly find another stoner, I bet they are right around the corner and you wouldn’t even know it. Also, while the huge grow operations that supply the legal cannabis industry here in the states have us all convinced that indoor and hydro setups are the way to go, I still believe outdoor and alternative methods can be effective in yielding some fire.
My point with this tip – be realistic with your expectations. You might not find Deathstars or some OG Alien Kush, but you might just experience something better in a different way; but if you aren’t open to the idea, you might miss the opportunity to truly enjoy your high.
Tip 4 – Befriend a Local
No matter where you travel, you should try and know someone that lives at your destination, or make it a mission to make a new friend. Some people prefer the tourist thing. like going to New York City and jumping out one of those bus tours that show you Times Square, the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, and other shit you read about or see regularly on TV. What that same tour won’t show you are things like the Lower East Side and its bohemian music and bar scene, or the little local-owned shops that sell particular, and sometimes bizarre, things.
And this is where a local friend can make all the difference. Someone that actually lives in the place you are visiting can probably show you a world of things that make their hometown dope as hell. And if you and said friend are like-minded, they can probably point you in the general direction of things you both have interest in, like say finding some bomb loud and maybe a nice, safe place to enjoy it at. A local friend can navigate you in a way that nothing else really can.
Tip 5 – Hunt For Stoners
This final tip is the most important and probably the most challenging – you’ve got to think about where stoners hang, and then chill there. This can vary from place to place but there are some places that I imagine attract day-trippers regularly. The most obvious place is smoke shops. It takes a bit of shamelessness to pull it off, but it’s always the first place I go and I straight up will ask an employee where I can find weed at. The worst they can say is “I don’t know”, and given where they work, I imagine that type of question comes with the territory. If you are considering doing this, just don’t look like a pig; the more hippy you look, the better.
Another place I always frequent are skateparks. Most of the skateboarders I’ve known in my life were stoners, or, at the very least, had the open mind to have tried it and not judge others for indulging regularly. I know that the vast majority of you probably don’t skate, but think of something similar that you might have an interest in, and it wouldn’t be weird if you happen to meet someone there and casually asked about finding some herb. I hate dance clubs, but I’ve definitely smoked a blunt outside of one after meeting a fellow stoner at the bar.
The trick is to understand the context of the situation you are in and take advantage of it. Not everyone possesses that shamelessness you need to ask someone you don’t know about how to find an illegal drug and it can seem incredibly intimidating, but if you can strive to put yourself in a scenario where it can be easy, you might end up being very surprised by the results.
In Conclusion – My Story
When I got to Peru, I took all of these things into great consideration and planned out how to put myself in various situations that I could ask someone for advice. Unfortunately, I ended up spraining my ankle really bad about 3 days into the trip and that really put a dent in things. My mobility was shot to shit, I was in a lot of pain, and all I wanted to do was puff and watch Netflix while I stayed off my foot for a few days. So going to the skatepark was out of the question, and obviously, I’d be no use at a dance club.
I tried going to a few smoke shops with no luck. The strangest thing about Peru is that even though weed was legalized fairly recently, it felt as though no one knew about it. I actually had a woman at a CBD shop tell me flat out when I asked her about THC “you won’t find that here; it’s still very illegal.” I even tried hanging at bars, but could never find on that attracted people that might puff.
So one day, my fiancee and I are walking through JFK park in Lima, and we see this Peruvian with natty dreads selling handmade jewelry. I knew almost instantly that this was my opportunity based on a few factors. First, I also have natural dreads, and it was an easy way to strike up a conversation about a common interest, even though I knew nothing about this person. And second, this was a guy who was clearly “about that life” as I like to say; he was clearly a hippy, Peruvian Rasta man through and through, right down to the clothes he wore and his general positive energy.
So after my lady bought a bracelet and we sat around talking for a bit, I just came straight out and asked him. He pulled out his personal stash and offered to sell me more the following day. I ended up buying an eighth from him for like 30 soles, which came out to only $10. And on top of that, I made a friend and he offered to hook me up whenever I came back.
At first, I was a bit skeptical. The bud was a bit dry and seemed to me to look like it was grown outdoor. It had that ground-type scent to it and was a bit more brown than green. But once my fiancee and I hit a small bowel together, while hanging out the window of our Air B&B, sat down on the couch after and started talking about space aliens and the meaning of life, I knew I was truly ripped as hell. I think I would have made Jim Morrison proud because I felt like I had broken on through to the other side.
In conclusion, the biggest takeaway here is that you should always be smart and safe. Learn to read environments, social cues, and people you may meet while traveling abroad. A lot of us are afraid to simply ask for guidance because we have fear and paranoia that some undercover cop dressed like Snoop Dogg will sell you a dime bag and then immediately throw you on the ground to bust you for it. The chances of that actually happening are slim to none, so try and relax a bit. If you approach this with the proper perspective and throw a bit of caution to the wind, you might just get the herb you need, make a new friend, and go home with one hell of a story to tell.