No path is linear, and with the ever-changing social and environmental landscape, it can be difficult to navigate our own personal growth. Wakeful Travel Founder Jenalle Dion is changing the way you engage your plant medicine journey and internal exploration, one page at a time. We spoke to Jenalle to learn about the Wakeful Travel Journals and what a career in the psychedelic space means to her.
Tell us about yourself and how you found psychedelics.
I grew up in an oil town of 700 people, where expressing creativity, being spiritual outside of a religious context, and caring about the environment were totally frowned upon. I’ve always been a curious soul and knew that I wanted to help people in some way. I originally went to college to be a hairstylist, but it wasn’t for me, so I booked a one-way ticket to Bangkok. Upon my return, I cooked pretty much only Asian cuisine, practiced yoga, took LSD for the first time, and became interested in meditation. I launched into studying holistic nutrition, and that’s where I fell in love with Michael Pollan’s literature about diet and the food industry. But just as he naturally gravitated towards plant medicines and psychedelics, so did I.
Where did you start your psychedelics industry journey?
I moved to the Kootenays and got a job working for a retreat startup, called Retreat Guru. They were primarily a software company that sold a booking management system to retreat centres. I started in social media and content management. We had these meetings called “all hearts” meetings, which were sharing circles where you just talked about your feelings. I had never really had a community to do this with, so it’s safe to say that this job not only grew me professionally, but it helped me transform in ways that I can’t describe.
In my role, I was an absorbent sponge, and soon I was holding a partnerships and affiliate marketing role, managing an editorial team, and onboarding software clients into the global retreat marketplace.
People in the company were so passionate about plant medicines that I knew it was time to sit in ceremony. I had a working opportunity to travel to Costa Rica to visit 20 different retreat centers, and I was also able to do my own “work” by attending a 7-day ayahuasca retreat.
After experiencing several more ayahuasca ceremonies with my teammates and the cofounders, I returned home and felt called to create something that I’d been thinking about for years. A Mindful Travel Journal. I worked countless hours on this project, got funding from Futurprenuer, lived in community with my coworkers in Peru for 6 months, worked remotely and traveled Central America for a few more months, came home, was about to launch the journal… and then… COVID happened.
I lost my dream job and had no idea what to do next. It was the worst time to launch a travel journal!!
What drew you to creating the Wakeful Integration Journal and the 6-Week Intention Journal (for microdosing)?
I now had extra space. I went inward and reflected on my plant medicine experiences. I realized that transformative travel didn’t have to be external. It could be internal, exploring the terrain of the heart and soul vs. mountains and oceans.
And after speaking with a variety of seekers, retreat centers, coaches, and facilitators in the space, I kept hearing the same thing: Journalling is the number one personal tool that people use to integrate life-changing psychedelic experiences.
I flashed back to my first experiences in the maloka. After the experience, I would try and remember all of the insights that came up, and I remember how difficult it was to organize my thoughts in a plain notebook.
When I spoke to others and found out they were struggling with the lack of structure of a blank notebook, I knew I needed to create a product that would meet this massive unmet need for organized, intentional psychedelic integration.
I became more vocal about psychedelics on the Wakeful Travel Blog and my personal and professional Instagram, and I started receiving all types of questions on microdosing. That’s why I created the 6-Week Intention Journal.
Do you feel there is an imbalance between male and womxn leaders in the psychedelic space?
There is a massive imbalance between male and female leaders in this space. For example, Psychedelic Invest put out a list of the top 100 most influential people in the space. Eighteen of these people were womxn.
If we truly want change to happen, then I encourage organizations to be more inclusive. If you host a conference, try to have an even split of speakers AND include non-binary folks as well. If you love sharing psychedelic podcasts, try exploring female-led podcasts and share them with your networks. The same goes for the art you purchase, the books you read, or the songs you listen to. It can be a difficult habit to shift! If someone sends you a list of resources or speaker suggestions, it’s simple to say: “Hey, can we add more womxn to this list?”
I think, oftentimes, more male-orientated organizations tend to hire more males and amplify male voices. They also receive more funding. I just read that less than 2.3% of capital went to women in 2020. I’m not looking to get investments yet, but I will be in the future, so that number scares me.
Yes, we have to be the change we wish to see… but we also need men to amplify and encompass the feminine as well. And I think that you truly experience the feminine energy in working with these sacred plants. Many of the male leaders who are in this space for the right reasons have felt this and have integrated inclusion into the work they do. If investors, facilitators of medicine, and the leaders in the space all worked with the medicines they are supporting (and capitalizing on), then I think we would have a lot more balance in this space.
Who should use the Wakeful Travel Integration Journal and the 6-Week Intention Journal?
The Wakeful Integration Journal is for those who’d like to be supported before, during, and after their 1-5+ night psychedelic experiences. There’s space to do your research, know what questions to ask facilitators, colour therapy pages, journey wisdom, integration pages, and more. The journal can assist you while on retreat, at a clinic, or even when you’re in the forest with friends.
The 6-Week Intention Journal is for those who want to document their microdosing journey. It helps you track your dose, notice patterns, and put tangible action steps in place for lasting change.
What do you hope to see for the future of psychedelics and the psychedelics industry?
That it’s not looked at like an “industry.” That we are acknowledging those who have been using the medicines for thousands of years before us. That decriminalization can happen in a sustainable way that doesn’t put the plants and other cultures’ traditions at harm.
That we can all co-elevate together by having relationships with the plants. That we see other organizations in the space as partnership opportunities, not competition. And that the organizations with money don’t try to shut the small, authentic businesses down, but rather they build them up and give back to those who may not have access to the medicine.
Do you have any advice for other women in or looking to enter psychedelics?
When searching for an organization that you want to align with, ask for roadmaps, OKRs, annual goals, team bonding experiences, how they give back, if they have an exit strategy, and what onboarding processes they have in place. Oftentimes start-ups don’t have these baked into their culture. It can be difficult to be constantly changing directions and wearing so many different hats. Some people thrive on this and just go with the flow, but if that’s not how you operate as a person–if you’re a structure fanatic– ask a lot of questions.
Who are 3 women in psychedelics you admire?
Dinny Lansdowne. She’s been mentoring me for three years and goes out of her way to support me not only on the business strategy side of things but on a mindset and spiritual level as well.
Terri Smith. She is so full of wisdom, and she really embodies the teachings of the mushrooms.
Salimeh Tabrizi. Listening to her speak is a joy. The plants really trust her, and you can tell she just wants to serve others in the best way possible.
Where can people find you?
We share stories of transformation and education on psychedelics on the Wakeful Travel Blog. You can follow my personal account or Wakeful Travel’s account on Instagram. And you can pick up a journal through our Kickstarter page.
Want to get your hands on your own Wakeful Integration Journal? Back their Kickstarter campaign and start mapping your plant medicine journey today.