A Tripper’s Guide to the Galaxy

Seven Principles to Optimize your Psychedelic Expeditions

Banner AJ Korkidakis

Set your intention

Before taking a psychedelic, you should take the time to reflect on your intention for doing so.

If you’re dipping your toes for the first time, your intention might be as simple as curiosity or exploration.

If it’s not your first rodeo, you might have more specific intentions, such as working through a personal issue or exploring your creative abilities through music, art, or poetry.

In life it’s often the case that we don’t get what we don’t ask for. Harnessing your mind’s power by setting your intention will help you derive some benefit from the experience.

Shed your expectations

The range of possible experiences on a psychedelic are enormous; each trip is different from the last.

Bringing expectations into the experience, even something as general as wanting a really positive trip, can leave you disappointed and prevent you from focusing elsewhere.

Especially if you’ve been reading trip reports or have past experiences that you still feel attached to, you’d do well to acknowledge any expectations you have and then release them.

This is a little harder than it sounds—sometimes you’ll go into an experience thinking you have no expectations and come out of it realizing you totally did. It’s a learning curve.

If you find yourself unable to shake an expectation, consider holding off tripping until another time.

Select an optimal setting

You’ll want to trip somewhere that is comfortable and private, where unexpected situations and interactions are kept to a minimum.

If you live in the city, this will likely be your apartment or that of a friend.

Psychedelic experiences in a natural, outdoor setting can be pretty profound, but it’s hard to find a suitable place in the city that doesn’t simultaneously put you at risk of running into people that won’t be sensitive to your state of mind and might influence your experience for the worst. Also, tidy up and clean the setting before tripping!

A cluttered environment is a cluttered mind.

Pick your dose and stick to it

The last thing you should be doing is trying to decide whether or not take more drugs while already on drugs. Only bad decisions can come of this.

Pick how much you are going to take and have that experience. If this is your first time with a substance, you’re better off starting with a lower dose to get a feel for it; you can work your way up in the future once you’re more comfortable.

Look within, don’t distract yourself

For the most part, this is an inner experience. Moving around a lot or being in a place where there’s a lot going on around you can be distracting.

Instead, try things like meditating or lying down and closing your eyes; you’ll be surprised what you can see when your eyes are closed.

I’m not saying to not talk with the people you’re with, but definitely don’t distract yourself with things like video games or movies.

Relinquish control

There might appear to be a sort of paradox in setting your intention while simultaneously not having expectations about the experience.

The key here is the recognition that the lessons we need often come to us in unexpected ways.

It’s a little like taking a rollercoaster in the dark. You can’t see where it’ll take you, but once you’re strapped in, you need to give up the need to control the experience and let it take you where it will.

Find comfort in knowing that psychedelics often give you the trip you need, not the one you want.

Give yourself time for integration

Ideally, the day following a trip should be free from responsibilities and commitments.

Use that time to reflect on your experience, and to write about it or talk about it with someone.

The psychedelic experience is very rich in content and you could forget significant components of it if you don’t give yourself time for reflection.