Episode Seven: How to Travel the World on Nothing but Guidance and Donations — with Maria Terese
Since June of 2015, the American-born mystic Maria Terese been traveling around the world at the behest of her spiritual guidance. And she’s been doing it entirely on a donation basis. Maria Terese’s story is both a testament to extreme faith and the courage, and humility, that comes with it.
Her story is a remarkable one.
In 2015, acting on her guidance, she let go of all attachment to belongings, packed her life up in a suitcase and became a minimalist. The first place she went was Bali, having no idea where she would live or how she would even survive when she got there.
A 7 day fast in Bali with no food and water taught her to be okay with this plan of Spirit’s – no matter what happens. And she has learned is a long, graceful lesson in non-attachment. To anything.
While some might call her a medium or a spiritual healer, Maria Terese eschews all titles, preferring the more general phrase, “a divine vessel of love and light.”
She does not charge a set amount for her services, but instead accepts whatever people feel moved to pay her. Including nothing. Not only has it worked out well for Maria Terese, she has no plans to live any differently in the foreseeable future.
As she puts it, “As long as you have the faith and the trust and follow those inner steps, it will always work out.”
In this episode we discuss
– The striking story of how she found her spiritual awareness at age six
– How she receives clairaudient messages …. And what she did to start that process
– How clairvoyance shows up for her … and what she uses it for in readings for others
– What it takes to choose a good, solid, reliable medium or healer
– How it’s worked to accept only donations for her work
– How Spirit guided her travels to 25 countries … on a donation basis …and what happened when she got there
– How it was to get along on only a few dollars a day
– How has her personality evolved as a result of this experience
– What we can draw from observing her experiences … and how this relates to all of us
Maria Terese, a divine vessel of light and love, travels the world on donation base helping humanity heal and ascend. It is through energy work, meditation, and the raising of Self-awareness that she is able to make such a global impact – using her vessel to lead, guide, and inspire. After touching 25 countries and hundreds of Souls while living out of her suitcase, she is now moving throughout America sharing her story, speaking at events, guiding meditations, and co-creating spiritual retreats.
To connect with Maria Terese, please visit her website www.iammariaterese.com and/or connect with her on
Transcript of Interview with Maria Terese
Suzanne: This is Before the Afterlife, all about healing, spiritual growth and how to be happy before you go. I’m your host, Suzanne Falter. We are coming to you from Oakland, California, and points beyond.
Suzanne: Hi, it’s Suzanne. And, one night recently, I found a program on Netflix called “The Kindness Diaries”. In it, a curious British philosopher travels the world on his cute little yellow motorbike, asking pretty much for nothing but handouts. His goal is to prove that people are essentially kind, and occasionally, when warranted, he gives back generously. Now, this is a great idea, if a slightly flawed premise, because coming along for the ride is also his three-person camera and sound crew. I mean, who wouldn’t want to help out if it means you get to be on international TV, right?
Still, the idea stayed with me. I kept thinking, “Wow, it would be very cool to interview that guy on my podcast.” Now, evidently, Spirit was listening because my guest for this episode is not “The Kindness Diaries” man, but someone even better. Maria Terese is a spiritual intuitive who has also traveled the world on a donation basis. But, unlike “The Kindness Diaries” guy, for her, this means giving away her spiritual guidance on a strictly donation basis. So, you can book a session with her and pay her whatever you want, even if it’s nothing at all.
Now, I love this idea because of its spiritual purity. There is no desire here to get rich or stand in front of millions of people as a mega-superstar. Instead, this simple soul just wants to help people, one person at a time, and she wants to make that possible for as many people as she can, even if it means she really may not know, from one day to the next, where her next meal is coming from.
So, I think there’s something really pure and cleansing about living with little or nothing, and I know this because, after my daughter’s death, that’s how I lived for almost two years. I couldn’t work, I didn’t have disability insurance, and yet, at the same time, I really feel I was delivered. That’s how I think of it because this was a supremely simple life I lived. I stayed with my dear friends, I cooked for them, I walked in the parks, I swam in the public pool, I didn’t buy much of anything, and I practiced something my daughter, herself, revered highly, which is just being.
In time, money and opportunity returned, but I’ll never forget the incredible privilege it was to live on very little. I had my needs met abundantly, and again and again, people showed up to support me when I needed it, even when I didn’t ask. The entire experience taught me that this is a benevolent universe, and it is safe to relax, stop worrying, and just receive.
You know, when I tried to buck that trend, I was soundly castigated. Twice, I tried to restart my former business, and twice it completely crashed and burned. The message was just so clear. In the end, just being turned out to be an excellent plan. In fact, it was the only plan.
My guest today is an expert at this, and so it has led her to a deeper and deeper level of real transcendence. This way, she can help more and more people. So, take a listen now to my interview with the woman who calls herself ‘a divine vessel of light and love’. Welcome to Maria Terese.
Maria Terese: So, I started deeply connecting to Spirit and the higher realms when I was about six years old. I had lost a couple people in my life, my grandparents, and after they had passed, they showed themselves to me as bright white figures, like light figures. So, I saw them with my eyes when I was six years old, and it really struck a chord in my heart as to, “Okay, there’s more to life than just what we can see here in the physical world.”
So, when I was growing up, I was always wanting to know kind of what was on that other side. You know, when soul and spirit left the body, where does it go? What happens? So, my entire life, I’ve just been really consciously building my connection to Spirit and the higher realms, and my higher self, and angels and guides, and really just wanting to understand who I am and kind of where we come from, and what is this whole experience about.
Suzanne: Yes, well, I can really relate to this concept, as can a lot of these listeners, to seeing figures, feeling figures. Do you consider yourself a person who sees, or hears, or smells? You know, how do you generally witness spiritual presence?
Maria Terese: So, for me, at this particular point in my life, it’s a knowing and a feeling. So, I just know and feel if someone is present in a room, but then, aside from that, I also receive through my clairaudience. So, a lot of things come to me verbally through my audient channel.
Suzanne: Can you share with us, a story or an example of that, so people kind of get what you mean?
Maria Terese: Yeah, absolutely. So, when I was really, like I said, building my spiritual channels, at this point, I wasn’t really hearing Spirit, but I was asking to hear because I heard when I was a kid, but I didn’t really understand. So, maybe about six years ago or so, I was sitting outside in nature and I was meditating, and I was talking to my angels and guides, and I said, “Speak to me. Speak to me. I want to hear. I want to hear what you have to say. Give me a message. Give me a word. Give me something.”
And I must have said this repeatedly in my mind about 20 times, and then finally, I received this message and it said, “We are with you. We are protecting you. Use us.” And it was clear as day, and it was just that one sentence. It came, it went, and so, from that point on, when I heard the voice, I just kept wanting more and wanting to build more. So, over the years now, my audient channel is very strong, very powerful. You know, I’m always connected. It is now a piece of me.
Suzanne: And how has it been? I mean, from your website, it appears that this is your work, to connect with Spirit, to channel, to guide people. Can you kind of talk about what it is that you do with this spiritual guidance that you receive so beautifully?
Maria Terese: Yes. So, for me, aside from just the clairaudient channel, my third eye is also very open, so my clairvoyance. So, when someone comes to me seeking guidance, I use my channels, I use my audience, I use my clairvoyance, to look into that person’s path, to see, maybe, even into their past, you know, where are they holding on to emotions or traumas, or anything of that sort, what is kind of coming up to the surface. So, I really kind of go into the blueprint of their soul and Spirit shows me what they need to know in that moment to move forward on their path.
So, you know, I can do mediumship type work, as well, if someone’s passed on and they want to receive a message from a loved one. I used to do that. I don’t really do that so much anymore. But, yeah, it’s just more of like really guiding people on their path moving forward, using my channels to Spirit.
Suzanne: So, it really sounds like you’re a spiritual healer. I mean, I get what you’re saying about being a medium, and I’m sure that there’s sometimes a healing reason that people need to speak to a medium. Would you call yourself a spiritual healer? Is that a fair thing to say?
Maria Terese: You know, I used to, Suzanne. I used to. You know, I’ve done the Reiki course. Technically, if you want to say I’m Reiki master/teacher, I am an energy healer, but you know, as I have evolved and become more on a higher level of consciousness, I really let go of those titles, and that’s why in my bio, ‘a divine vessel of light and love’, because I just feel I am Maria Terese. I am just who I am, and this is my opening, I guess, and what I have to offer to people.
So, I do do energy work. You know, if I do see people in front of me in the physical, or even at a distance, I’m able to use my vessel to facilitate channeling energy through their chakras to release blockages, all of that kind of stuff, as well as when I do meditation events and stuff, I allow my vessel to be used for energy healing, as well. So, yeah, in terms, I would say ‘a healer’, but for those of us who really do know healing work, we know that it is not us who’s doing the healing, it’s just flowing through our vessel.
Suzanne: Yeah. Thank you for clarifying that because I think one of the things that makes this… I’m not sure what I can say about it, but there are elements in the metaphysical world that are controlled by ego, you know?
Maria Terese: Yes.
Suzanne: And there are others that are really clean and pure, and just feel really, really simple, but profound at the same time. And I’m always gravitating towards that, particularly in developing this podcast and choosing the people I want to speak to, and I’m kind of going with my own guidance on that. You know, it’s a bit of a danger to what’s out there, to assess when, say, you want to hire a medium or somebody who will help you connect to the other side. It’s hard for people to really know kind of how to buy these services because we aren’t trained for this. All we can do is sort of know and trust.
And I’ve hired a lot of different mediums and healers, particularly since my daughter died in 2012, and what I really know is that it doesn’t serve me to not really check somebody out, but then, it’s not always possible to really check somebody out. You know, sometimes the most connected people are the most ethereal, and their online presence is so ethereal that it’s kind of hard to tell what they do, you know. So, it’s like a tricky thing, isn’t it? I mean, do you have any advice about that whole subject?
Maria Terese: Well, you know, to be honest, and you saw this in my bio, as well, I have been now, for the past two years, doing my work solely off of faith, solely off of trust, solely off of donations. I do not have any services with a price tag, and I haven’t for two years. And in those two years with not having a price tag, I’ve been to 25 countries and I’ve touched hundreds of souls with the light and love that flows through my vessel. And that is as pure as you can go, you know. I really take pride in choosing to step up to the plate in that way of complete surrender, of complete faith and trust.
Because it is hard, you know. It is hard with these energy healers and spiritual guides, and all of that thing, who are doing this work with those price tags. I do understand that people have to survive and pay their bills and stuff, as well, but you know, some of the people who are like $300 for an hour Skype session, I mean, there just has to be a fine line. Or, these retreats where it’s like thousands of dollars for the week to go to this spiritual retreat, it’s like, why does it have to be so businessy, you know. It kind of takes away from that purity when the people are charging these outlandish prices.
Suzanne: This is very fascinating to me because one of the things I’ve struggled with in my own work is really being super-ethical. And I used to be a person who, I did spiritual marketing consulting for awhile before my business ended in 2012, and I charged a lot of money, and I never felt great about it. In fact, I felt kind of bad about it. And, as I recreated myself, and redid my business, and grieved my daughter’s death, and so forth, I really got in touch with my values and my desire to serve all people, and I can really respect what you’re doing.
So, tell me, how is it to do this? I mean, how does it work? Is it difficult to get along? Is it surprising? Share with us, this experience.
Maria Terese: Yes, absolutely. You know, it’s a combination of all of it, of course, everything across the spectrum. There is that fear and worry that comes in sometimes because, yeah, you don’t know where the next $5 is going to come from, or you don’t know how you’re going to get from point A to point B. But, when my higher guidance says, “Okay, Maria, you have to go here and do this,” it’s part of my path, so I have to listen, I have to trust. I just have to keep following.
So, in the past two years, that’s how my path has been. Everything has been very divinely guided for me. So, my higher self will come through and say, exactly in this way, very direct, will say, “Maria, you are to go here on Tuesday. You are to do this tomorrow,” or, “Today, do this.” And so, everything that I do is very, very directed, and with that very directed guidance, it really gives me more clarity and faith, actually, to trust.
So, in the beginning, it was a little difficult, but as I kept going and saw those miracles, right, saw those manifestations after listening, I just kept going, and I just kept trusting because while the fear comes up, the miracle happens, as long as you just keep that faith. And I’ve met so many beautiful people along my path who have helped me and supported me out of the goodness of their heart and their spirit because they just knew that my work was important and that I needed to be supported so that I could continue to keep going and continue reaching mass amounts of people.
So, I’ve definitely had a lot of help come in many different forms, not even just monetary, but I’ve had people maybe donate some airline miles or hotel points, or house me in their home for a few weeks or something, or take me to eat, or give me a ride. And it’s just from my social media following, as well. You know, I’ve really been sharing my journey and all of that, too.
So, yeah, it comes, and I just keep telling myself, “I’m not going to charge people because what about the people who can’t afford that $100 Skype session healing? What about those people? They need healing, too.” And so, I do feel like my vessel is here to help those who can’t afford it, but also help those who could potentially afford it, too. So, I’m not limiting myself by placing a price tag. I look at it as being limitless, and allowing people to give from their heart whatever they feel and whatever they can do.
Suzanne: How does your ego stay out of that? Do you ever feel disappointed or annoyed? Or, I suppose, by the same token, you could feel delighted and inspired, you know, if somebody… I mean, how is the emotional experience of doing this?
Maria Terese: Yes. So, you know, that took some time to completely move through. I would say my ego is very much in line and in check when it comes to doing my work, still. It’s one of those things where I’m constantly reminded of just being of service. And, you know, there have been points where I’m like, “Okay, am I being taken advantage of?” You know, on my website it says: Make a Donation. Even if it’s $1. Even if I sat with you for 30 minutes on the phone, you could still donate $1, you know, that’s fine. At least, you gave something, right. But, there are people who don’t give anything or who say, “Hey, yeah, I’m going to donate to you,” and then they never do.
Maria Terese: So, it’s those instances where, yes, my ego has come in and I’m like, “Can I keep doing this? Can I survive?” But then, my spirit comes through and it’s just like, “Maria, you are here to help them. They just can’t. That’s their ego, that’s their energy. Just keep going. You’re going to be okay. You’re going to be provided for. It’s going to come back to you tenfold.”
So, I just keep focusing on that aspect, you know, where maybe somewhere down the line, I get a $1,000 donation out of the blue. And those types of things have happened, where I’ve gotten larger amounts from people, completely unexpected, and then that just kind of shows that blessing and makes up for the little ones who couldn’t. So, it definitely all comes back around.
Suzanne: That’s very great. That’s great.
So, what about these 25 countries? What has led you to do this travel?
Maria Terese: So, I started in June of 2015, and I was living in Los Angeles at the time. I was in a four-year partnership, and he and I were just kind of energetically moving in different directions at the time, so my higher guidance said, “Maria, you’re going to Bali, mid to end of June. Listen to this message.” And I was a little freaked out at first because it was like the end of April, and I was just like, “Oh my God, I’m going to Bali? What is this? What’s happening?” I didn’t know, but Spirit was talking to me.
So, after I sat with it for awhile, I answered the call and I bought that one-way ticket to Bali with no idea as to what was going to happen. I didn’t know how long I was going to be gone. And Spirit literally guided my every move. So, every country that I went to, my higher guidance showed me or told me to go there through my meditations. So, sometimes, I was guided to get on a plane with only enough money for that plane ticket and maybe a couple night’s stay when I got to that other country, and I had no idea what was on the other side. So, it was this constant unknown, and it took me, yeah, through a year and a half and 25 countries – amazing, amazing experience.
Suzanne: So, Spirit is guiding you in meditation and saying things like, “Go to Chiang Mai,” or, “Go to Paris,” and what do you do when you get off the plane? Do you sit down and meditate, and kind of look for the next thing?
Maria Terese: So, that has happened on occasion, yes, where I wouldn’t be given the guidance until I got off of the plane, so it really was testing me to live in the now, as well. And so, when I would get off the plane, if for some reason, like I said, I didn’t have anything lined up, then yes, in the airport, I would go and I would sit, and I would tap in, and my guidance would say, “Okay, you’re here. Congratulations,” sort of thing. “Now, we want you to retreat into nature. Find somewhere connected to nature,” or, “Go into the center of the town.” You know, it would be kind of those things.
And, even in regards to the type of accommodation or the place I would stay, all of that was very guided, as well. So, let’s say, for example, I hop online and I’m looking at Airbnb or booking.com, my guidance would say, “No, not that one. No, not that one. No, not that one,” as I was going through the list. And so, there was always a reason for every place that I stayed, every place that I went, whether I was being guided to that specific hotel because I was supposed to meet someone or… You know what I mean? So, everything was just very direct.
Suzanne: It’s bringing to mind a phrase I just heard last night. A friend was talking about how she follows Spirit and, occasionally, she gets a ‘full-body yes’. And I just love that phrase because, you know, you’re really demonstrating what a ‘full-body yes’ is because you wouldn’t get on a plane and fly to Paris, presumably, if you were kind of murky. I mean, it sounds like you’re extremely clear in your guidance.
Maria Terese: Exactly. Yes. Yes, absolutely.
Suzanne: That’s so interesting.
So, have three been times when it just didn’t work out and there wasn’t a way to get some food or find some lodging, or whatever you needed?
Maria Terese: Honestly, no.
Suzanne: Wow. Wow.
Maria Terese: There was never a time where I was left in the dark. There have been close calls. So, let’s say, for example, I had maybe a couple dollars to my name, and that day, I didn’t know if I was going to eat or not, or if I was going to be able to eat the following day, or something like that. I’ve been through many fasting experiences, so I’ve detached myself completely from food and water. When I was in Bali, I went into a seven-day meditation with no food and no water. I completely detached. And so, by having that experience, I carried that with me through my travels. If I didn’t have the resources, I would be okay without food and water.
So, it was, yeah, a true test. And so, yeah, there was this day where, as I said, I only had a couple dollars, and I didn’t know, and I was starting to get a little stressed out because I didn’t know what to do, and I was guided to retreat to this nature place in Bali. And I went there, and I kind of reconnected with my highest self, and just let go and surrendered, and knew it was going to work out, as opposed to staying in that stressful, worried vibration.
Well, when I got back from being in this nature, I looked at my phone, and I’d got a $40 donation when I came back, and it was from a person who I didn’t even know. They had just found me on Instagram. And so, it was just those little tests of staying in that high vibration of faith and trust, and just, yeah, knowing it’s always going to work out.
I did have a few moments where I had to ask for assistance, or maybe I did a video online. It wasn’t very often that I would do that, but I did a video one time where I kind of broke down into tears and I just said, “I need people’s help. I’m on this path and Spirit’s asking me to ask for help. Who can help?” So, I’ve had a couple of those moments, too, but that was a test, as well. It’s okay to ask for help, you know?
Suzanne: Yeah, of course. Of course.
So, what do you think is the big overarching lesson that people can take away from listening to this remarkable story of yours?
Maria Terese: You know, hands down, it’s definitely faith and trust. It’s also showing people that whatever your dream is, whatever you want to do, don’t let money stop you. My journey, my story just goes to show that. You know, I let go of that attachment to money, and all of it, even my belongings. I just had a suitcase, and I’m a minimalist.
So, people think that their dreams are impossible to reach, or they feel that they can’t do something because they don’t have the money to do it. Well, I’m here to tell you, nothing is impossible. And, as long as you have the faith and the trust, and you follow that inner voice or that inner feeling, and you take those steps towards your dream, it’s always going to come. It’s always going to be okay. You’re going to live that dream or manifest whatever it is that you would like. Don’t let anything stop you. Just keep going.
Suzanne: That’s just… That is great. That is great. I mean, your story… You know, it’s really interesting because I knew you lived on a donation basis, but I didn’t know you really lived on a donation basis. This is the thing nobody ever wants to do because even, like, I’ve known people who have led workshops on a donation basis, but they’re still charging a set fee for, say, their coaching or their healing, or whatever. This is like Jesus going into the desert. I mean, this is a total let-go.
Maria Terese: Yes.
Suzanne: So, gosh, I mean, how has this changed you? What do you feel your personality has evolved as a result of this?
Maria Terese: You know, just complete unconditional love, unconditional love and a oneness for everyone and everything, a complete non-attachment, because that’s what unconditional love is, right, loving with no attachment, and not being attached to the physical world, to this experience, to people, to places, to things, just complete non-attachment, just really loving the moment and the experience that’s happening in that now. I have so much compassion for the world, for humanity, for animals, life, the other side, just really realizing that we are all one, here on this planet, yes, and also one with our higher dimension. So, our multi-dimensionality, it is all one.
You know, when people talk about consciousness, I just say, “I’m super-conscious.” Like, I’m very much kind of on the other side, looking down. I’m always coming from that higher perspective with everything, from that zero point of nothingness and everything, you know, no duality, just everything is. So, that’s why, in the beginning, when you asked me if I’m a healer, I don’t have a title. I don’t know what to tell people because I just am, you know?
Suzanne: Yes. So, let me ask you something else. Will you stop living like this at any point in the future?
Maria Terese: As of now, I don’t foresee that. I feel that I cannot go backwards. I feel I’ve reached this highest state that I can reach at this point, and I can’t go back. I had even thought of, like you just said, there are some spiritual people who do certain things on a donation basis and have prices for other things. That has crossed my mind, but Spirit won’t allow me to even do that. So, yeah, I do feel like I’m here and I just have to keep going. It’s just kind of like, yeah, keep walking the path and up the staircase.
I’m 29 years old. I’m going to be 30 this year. I don’t have kids, I’m not married, I don’t have any of that, so in terms of being able to live like this, I’ve been able to because I don’t have the materials or others to necessarily take care of at this particular point in time. So, something could change in the future, but as of now, yeah, this is it.
Suzanne: You know, it’s so interesting because it isn’t super-obvious from your website that this is what you’re doing, and, I mean, to me, I didn’t get the full picture until we spoke in this conversation, and I’ve been praying and asking Spirit to bring me a guest who could talk about this experience, a minimalist sort of a transcendence, really.
My daughter, who was a healer before her death, which was from a medically unexplainable cardiac arrest, was, in fact, a minimalist herself, living on about $12,000 a year in San Francisco, which is very hard to do. And she was an educated person. She could really do whatever she wanted, but she chose this because this was what her guidance taught her to do. And after her death, I really got into living in a much, much simpler way, and it returned me to a true state of happiness. Life was so much less complicated, you know.
I mean, if you’re not making any money, you’re not paying any taxes. If you don’t have a home, you’re not worrying about its upkeep. If you don’t have a car, you’re not buying gas and paying for insurance. It’s like all of your expenses just disappear, and then it’s really about survival. It’s really about, you know, how am I going to get along day-to-day, and then, you’re extremely focused on the moment, and there is a spiritual grace in that because you don’t have a choice.
I mean, it’s different, I think, when I look at the homeless population. I live in a city, Oakland, California. It has a large homeless population, and there’s a lot of mental illness, there’s a lot of addiction, there’s a lot of deep suffering. I mean, it really brings out your empathy to be around these folks, and I’m always wondering, what is it that drives this and where does this come from? So, there’s a dark side to being untethered, but that’s a different experience than what we’re talking about here.
Maria Terese: Exactly.
Suzanne: You know, that’s… That’s… I don’t even know how I would classify that or describe it. I think people, and you, probably get what I’m talking about here.
What else can we take away from this in the final moments of our conversation here? What is it that you would like people to know about you and how you’ve moved forward with this choice?
Maria Terese: That’s kind of a tough question. You know, I really feel that I am just a living example of effortless flow of divine source energy, and to really kind of let go of those thoughts and feelings, and worries and stresses that hold people down, to really open up their divinity within. We hear this all the time – we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Well, I think people, they’ve gotten so far away from their divinity, from their pure essence of who they are as a being of light and love.
And so, I really just encourage people to look at me, Maria Terese, as an example and a potential of who they truly are at the core, and to go into this space. It does take conscious effort and dedication to understand who we are and why we’re even having this experience.
Suzanne: Hey, how can people do a session with you, or can you talk a little bit about what you do for folks?
Maria Terese: Yeah. So, currently, I just, actually in the recent month, opened myself up to taking appointments, so they can go to my website. It’s iammariaterese.com, and there’s a link that has appointments on there, and they can schedule a 30-minute phone call with me or a 30-minute distant meditation healing with me. So, basically, whoever is guided to me, they need some sort of clarity on their path, they need some sort of healing experience or maybe they just want to go deeper into themselves via meditation, and they’ve never meditated before and they just want to try and connect, and so, I assist with that. But, my main purpose is really helping people get the clarity to move forward on their path.
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