HIGH NOTES: People Share the Most Bonkers Things That Happened to Them in Ibiza

If you’re looking for an adventure involving music, drugs, or (ideally) both, there’s no place like Ibiza. The Spanish island is known for its collection of famous DJs and, thanks to the Mike Posner song “I Took a Pill in Ibiza,” its abundant supply of recreational drugs. Largely for this reason, many people have had some of the wildest times of their lives there.

With the island’s clubbing season in full swing, I asked people about their most memorable Ibiza moments. Some are terrifying, others are hilarious, and others still are charmingly tame. Here are some stories that might inspire your next Ibiza vacation.

“When I was 19 years old, I moved to Spain to work and travel a bit. After working in the Canary Islands as an activity organizer/entertainer in hotel resorts, I quit my job and flew to Ibiza. I was planning on finding a job but found a guy instead who was 17 years older than me. He lied that he was 30 and I lied that I was 20. We hung out around the island for a week and a half, partied, took drugs, and I spent all of my money. When he left, I was in my hostel with about 100 euros in my bank account, no job, and clueless what to do next. So, I went to a Go-Go dancer casting (it’s not stripping — I had all my clothes on!). It went fine, except I slipped and fell while dancing on the stage. I did not go back there anymore. I bought plane tickets to Barcelona with the last of money and left the island.” – Lana, 27, Israel

“I stayed in the room that Jean Paul Gaultier and Madonna stayed in when they went. I went to a foam party and got felt up by ten trillion hidden hands. Woke up on a beach octopussed up between two beautiful naked German girls. I was fully clothed. That was a wild weekend.” – Dutch, 43, Houston

“I was playing poker with a guy when his girlfriend undressed, masturbated, came, and got up to sit with us while were discussing US politics.” – Anonymous, 43, New York

“I was best woman in a gay wedding in Ibiza, and the grooms rented a gorgeous mansion with an infinity pool that overlooked the Mediterranean and mountains. Their friends rented rooms in the villa, so it was a big party house. There was one very desirable, studly, cool guy that everyone was trying to sleep with. And one morning, my friend, the groom, innocently walked in his room and saw four naked legs entwined and two bare asses. He gasped, ran out, and told everyone. We were speculating like crazy on who it was. I even snuck by the window to get a peek. We were nosy! Turned out it was the groom’s other best friend, Paul. We were all thrilled for him. The night after the wedding, Paul and I chugged wine until who knows when, because in the summer in Spain the sun is up at like 4 a.m., and when we finished our second individual bottles of (affordable, local) wine, the sun had been up for a while. So there was one straight guy at the wedding and back home he was screwing some other girl who came to the wedding who was, get this, married. But I’m such an alpha dog when I’m single. I got him to ditch her in Ibiza and come home to the villa with us. After Paul went to bed, the one straight guy and I ended up very not romantically and not otherwise memorably boning on the deck overlooking the sea and mountains and infinity pool. My groom friend’s new husband was just then getting up bright and early to do morning yoga and caught us. He gasped and ran in to ask my friend who it was. He knew it was me. His two best pals were the hoes of the trip. We had a good laugh.” – Anonymous, 38, Boston
“My only really mad story is when I thought I was going to die in Space watching Disclosure after smashing some mental pills. Then walking back to the hotel and having really bizarre hallucinations for about 10 hours. I was so hot and twitchy and couldn’t sleep. Dreams were all weird. I was eaten by a snake with a kaleidoscopic throat. And there were these weird depictions of the devil chained to the earth by big concrete slabs — the sort of stuff that freaks you out big time. Funny day actually. Wouldn’t like to repeat it.” – Anonymous, 29, London
“I once saw a prostitute chasing a guy around Playa den Bossa. That was funny. At like 8 a.m. opposite Pizza Piadina.” – Anonymous, 29, London

“I studied abroad in Barcelona when I was in college and we went to Ibiza. Basically, I ended up getting my nipple pierced (just one, no money for the second one) and there is still a photo of it — along with my friend, who bet me that if I got a nipple pierced he would get a bull ring — grinning like idiots in the tattoo shop. Which, if I ever go again, I will take down.” – Michelle, 28, Atlanta

“My friends and I met an undercover drug cop at the airport and crashed at his fancy apartment instead of our Airbnb, and my friend hooked up with him!” – Anonymous, LA
“There was one night I went to Ushuaia, and I don’t think I was planning on doing molly, but a friend gave it to me. I was like, Oh, why not? So I’m frolicking, I’m dancing, I’m also on my period. I personally don’t really like tampons because something about them itch my vagina, but I put in a tampon because I was wearing this tight-ass dress and I didn’t want to wear a pad. It was starting to irritate and itch me, and I’m on drugs, and I don’t understand what it means when I rip out my tampon. I think I threw it in this guy’s patio area. And I don’t give a shit and I just dance. Then I meet this super cute guy and I’m walking around, my teeth are chattering, and I look like a crazy person. We were dancing and talking and then you lose track of time, you’re going to a bunch of different places and bars around Ibiza, and I think we were making out, and then we get to the time when we’re like, OK, let’s have sex. It’s at that moment that I realize I had taken out my tampon hours ago and my entire underwear is soaked red with blood and it’s running down my leg. And he’s like, I don’t care. And then we have sex anyway, and I think we were in public.” – Anonymous, 26, Chicago

“Dalt Vila at sunset… watching the white-washed homes that dot the landscape fall asleep as the Mediterranean sun goes down while you’re standing in a walled city from the 15th century. It’s not what people think of Ibiza and it surprised me.” – Andrea, 42, Canada

How EDM Helped Me Heal from Anxiety

It’s June 2016 and I’m testing how low I can get before breaking down. I’ve worked until midnight and gotten up at four to churn out more writing assignments. Seeking comfort from the stress, I reach for the chips in my cupboard, eat more than I intended, panic, and make myself throw up. Unable to focus on an empty stomach, I do it all over again. I move my laptop to Starbucks and order iced cold brew after iced cold brew, telling myself to focus until I’ve finished my 18th article of the day. My stomach feels like negative space.

I write a resignation email for my most stressful job and fantasize about sending it, knowing I’ll never have the courage. I don’t need the money, but the thought of turning down work makes me recoil. I must be successful and success means more bylines and more money.

This is a pattern I’ve become all too familiar with. But at least this time, I have something to look forward to. After another four hours of sleep and 15 articles, I’m headed to Vegas for Electronic Daisy Carnival, an electronic music festival I’d never heard of until the press trip invitation arrived in my inbox.

To accommodate my crazy work hours, I fly in the night before and pull an all-nighter. I sign in for my shift at 3 a.m. from a casino cafe and churn out 7 articles until it ends at 11. Just when I think I’m done, my editor keeps me late to post an update on the Orlando alligator attack.

Meanwhile, a college friend’s blowing up my Facebook chat, begging me to join her in Ibiza in two weeks. I can’t because of this goddamn job. Getting time off is impossible.

Skrillex and Diplo’s “Where Are U Now” wakes me up from a three-second, sitting-up nap. Emboldened by the catchy riff punctuating Justin Bieber’s refrain and fantasies of Ibiza opening parties, I write another resignation email. This time, I type my supervisor’s email address in the “recipients” box.

I still can’t hit “send,” but getting close makes me feel wild. I pack up, put on a tiny $3 romper, and walk along Las Vegas strip. As I pass Serendipity and hum along to Calvin Harris’s “This Is What You Came for,” I visualize myself lounging by the fountain, eating over-priced, calorie-packed ice cream. That would be self-indulgent. Unproductive. Bad. Glorious. Free. How freeing it would be to be bad. I don’t dare enter, but the thought alone loosens my mental shackles.

Something has to change this weekend. Either life as I know it will be destroyed, or I will. Either the part of me that forbids eating ice cream and dropping work will die, or the part of me that wants it will. I secretly root for the former.

As I enter the Las Vegas Motor Speedway that night with a parade of EDM heads in wings, animal faces, and bathing suits, that little voice in me that wants to fuck work and go be an ice cream eating fairy kitten princess says, “Hey, there. I missed you.” I pass giant glowing flowers, foreboding owl statues, and a tiny schoolhouse where people are coloring. This is the closest thing adults have to Disney World.

My pace picks up. I don’t know where I’m running, only what I’m running from: everything outside this land over the rainbow the Nevada dust had dropped me in.

In a pavilion where Russian DJ Julia Govor is playing, I make timid, barely detectable movements, flashing back to middle school dances. Then, I see a dude doing a little catwalk in a floor-length fur coat and bull horns.

Oh, OK, so nobody gives a fuck. This is not middle school. This is not a networking event. Toto, we’re not in New York City anymore. No matter what I do, someone next to me will be crazier.

But nobody’s judging the crazy person either. I want to be the crazy person. The one people compare themselves to so they can shed their misdirected shame. I run from stage to stage doing exaggerated moves I learned in zumba class or ballet or wherever the hell I picked them up. I smile at everyone, not caring if they smile back, but they do.

A cute guy intercepts me to ask where the bathrooms are. I tell him I don’t know, and his glance lingers on me. “Can I kiss you?” he asks.

“Sure,” I shrug, because why not, and we make out amid the blending cacophony of DJ sets. He gives me his number and tells me to let him know if I come to LA.

I can’t believe this is actually a way to live, I think. This is a world where I don’t have to prove anything to be accepted. Where I don’t need a pretentious OKCupid profile to get a kiss. Where don’t need a job to feel good about myself. Where my only job is to have fun.

The next morning, I hit “send.” Three minutes later, my boss asks if she can change my schedule to keep me. Maybe, I think, but not if that rules out Ibiza. “I’ll come,” I Facebook chat my friend.

On the bus to the next day’s festival, I spot a woman with rainbow hair. I see something in her I want to bring out in myself, so I sit beside her and recount my spontaneous makeout sesh.

After flirting with a new guy in line, I see her again at Anna Lunoe’s show. Then, as the neon lights glow against the blackening sky, she gives me molly on a rooftop overlooking the ferris wheel.

On my way back to the stage, the guy from the line asks why I didn’t answer his text. I hug him and walk on, throwing off my shirt. I can do better.

I meet the LA guy by the bathrooms, and we make out again. After chugging his water bottle, I say with honesty I didn’t know was in me that I’d like to go off by myself again. Stupid boys. I’ll have more fun alone because I’m fun. I’m a fairy kitten princess, dammit.

I merge with a crowd jumping and shouting through JAUZ’s mix of System of a Down’s “BYOB.” This is the best moment of my year, I think, and then I think about how contrary that is to everything I believed. The thing that made me happiest was not when my income hit six figures or when I published 20 articles in a day or when I lost five pounds or even when Whoopi Goldberg discussed my writing on The View. It was when I was was doing something so incredibly unimpressive (unless screaming “why do they always send the poor?!” louder than anyone else is impressive). Maybe you don’t have to suffer for the best things in life.

The next day, I realize that in an attempt to film the festival, I accidentally recorded my trip. “The themes in my life,” I listen to myself telling my rainbow-haired friend, “are discipline and deprivation. Whether it’s food or work, it’s all the same.”

When I hear that, I know hanging onto that job would be just as destructive as hanging onto my disordered eating. As Anna Lunoe and Chris Lake’s “Stomper” fills my hotel room, I tell my boss that if she wants me to stay, she has to pay me more. As I anticipated, she can’t.

I panic with the urge to go work on other jobs to make up for that one’s loss. Instead, I return to Serendipity, get an ice cream sundae, and don’t throw it up or keep eating after I’m full. I chuck the half-empty cup in the trash and call up a guy I’ve been crushing on as I walk along the strip. Then, I stop inside Sephora and buy makeup, something I’d always considered too indulgent. On the way, a guy sees my arm band, says “EDC fam!”, and hugs me like we’re long-lost relatives.

Over the next two weeks, I jog around my neighborhood listening to Elliphant’s “Not Ready”:

“I guess I’m not ready for reality / A young woman in a new world / I have a big responsibility / to live life wild and free like a bird / Now is the time to be dancing.”

My first night in Ibiza, as Chris Liebing fills the Amnesia opening party, I ask a German guy I would’ve deemed too hot for me before if I can bite him. We fall in love in just two days, and I leave in tears. But on the plane home, I realize New York and I are over anyway. I’m going to travel the world like I’ve always told myself I couldn’t, and Germany’s my first stop. I spend my flight to Dusseldorf transcribing an interview with Mexican DJ Jessica Audiffred, who told me,

“People want to experience a festival. People want to get crazy. They just want a place where they can let their emotions go. They just want to have fun. They just want to get wild and electronic music can give that and a lot of other things. Just to be in the festival scene, you realize why people go. You realize why people are interested. I think electronic music is a way for people just to be free and just to be themselves and have fun and let everything go.”

Slowly, my inner fairy kitten princess takes power back from the workaholic, money-driven person I never wanted to be. Now, nine months since EDC, I’m partying in a new country practically every month, I haven’t made myself throw up since last summer, and am still with the guy from Amnesia. And I’ve got rainbow hair.

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The right photo was taken the week before EDC; the left was taken the week I arrived in Germany.

My world used to extend from the Kips Bay studio apartment where I worked myself to the bone and stuffed my face to the 28th Street Starbucks where I filled my empty stomach and heart with cold brews. Now, it’s expanded through the beaches of Ibiza, the nightclubs of Berlin, the casinos of Vegas, and the Brooklyn clubs I used to pass by because I was “too busy.”

But there’s much more fairy kitten princess left in me, telling me to chuck it all and be a DJ, and she grows louder every time I hear “Stomper.”