What's Wonderful About Wanderlust and Why I'd Go Back Again
The Wanderlust Festival Turned 5 This Summer (2013)
It was finally my time to go. So I headed out to the festival in Copper Mountain, Colorado. Not gonna lie, I was fresh off a breakup, looking to jet far out of town for some air and space. Sometimes you just need to get away. But I wasn't expecting the weekend I ended up having. You can walk through life or you can flow through it. Check out Wanderlust through my lens in case you're thinking about going next year...
So Just A Little Background...
It was the start of July and I was coming off a relationship that had been doomed since February. I was tired and sick...sick of not being happy. I figured a work-trip mixed with a little forced romance would soothe my soul. Doesn't it always? I set off to report on the "fitness fashion happening at Wanderlust" with my press pass and a former ex-boyfriend turned friend (with benefits) in tow. What can I say? He was game.
We arrived to Copper Mountain as star-crossed lovers and left as 2 people estranged . But this isn't a sad story. It was actually a good thing (for both of us). I became aware of myself at Wanderlust, and what I needed more of in my life. Yes, really. By the time I left, I was ready to break free of old patterns. Crazy...I just expected to do some yoga, hear live music and make out. You could say Wanderlust far exceeded my expectations!
The Wonderful Side Of Wanderlust
- Wanderlust is the new generation of festivals. It's set up in a very open, roam-free way. There are no fences or corrals. No long lines, pushing or drunken idiots. But it's not entirely a hippy-fest either.
- At the festival at Copper Mtn, 2000 people showed up. Not too many or too little. It was just right. About 70% were between the ages of 25-34.
- It wasn't all chicks. There were actually guys there (and not just the gays). Lots of straight men wearing cool yoga gear thanks to yogi Matt Giordano showing them how to pull it off with sexy swagger.
- There's no stereotypical attendee at Wanderlust. The people who come love yoga, spirituality, meditation, homeopathy, fitness, food, the outdoors and music. You basically get a range of mature, educated and outgoing people who are plugged into a healthy lifestyle and are curious to learn more. You'll find people who value fashion, community and life inspiration. No one's there to be shy or judge--they want to connect!
- The range of yoga classes offered are incredible, from power yoga to kundalini. Yoga Sculpt was my favorite because it included cardio & strength training. That sh*t was super hard! If you live in Denver you have to check Jessica Kos Birney's class at CorePowerYoga. She blew me away with her yoga sequence!
- Highly sought out yoga teachers like Seane Corn and Elena Brower teach classes. I'm lucky enough in NYC to have access to celebrity yogis, so I like finding the lesser known ones at Wanderlust and experiencing alternative forms of yoga like Outlaw Yoga. It was so weird, taught by tatted up muscle dudes...I kind of loved it.
- There's a sense of community that builds over the weekend as you get to know the people in your mind-body-fitness sessions, the vendors and the Wanderlust staff at hand. Everyone is so easy going.
- Beyond the yoga that everyone expects at Wanderlust, there are outdoor activities like SUP boarding, hiking, biking, and running. You could also just sit and lounge in the sun at the base of the mountain.
- I got to meet co-Founders Jeff Krasno and Sean Hoess who told me that Wanderlust was created out of a ""societal thirst for ways to gather that aren't on Facebook." AMEN! That's them below.
- Wanderlust is decorated with booths of credible wellness companies generously handing out samples of their product. I tried almost everything but the winners in my opinion were Evolution Fresh cold-pressed juices, Kind's new Gluten Free Clusters and Navitas Naturals Superfood Power Snacks. It's nice to find new healthy food options that I can stock my kitchen with instead of boxed food with a suspiciously long shelf-life. And who doesn't like sampling?
- Many restaurants partnering with Wanderlust over the festival weekend offered special vegetarian and gluten free menus! Since I'm gluten free, this was exciting and I had a lot of entrees to choose from which isn't always the case. I must plug The Alpinista Mountain Bistro because it's one of the best restaurants I've ever eaten at and you must go there next time you hit Copper!
- A lot of women who go to Wanderlust are just hitting their creative stride in life. The Wanderlust co-founders say they're inundated with emails of transformational stories from people who found new careers or true callings just by attending.
The Fitness Fashion I Scoped Out
That's what I was there for! And here's what I found adorning the most fashionable Wanderlusters:
- Colorado Love Clothing Company tanks & tees that make you want to wear your workout tops beyond the gym.
- Jellyfish yoga tights! So trippy and unique! I wanted to buy them off her.
- Printed fringe scarf over sportswear--so feminine and classy!
- Silky tie-dyed scarf used as hair-bun wrap. Funky and playful!
- Teysha's slip-on Kuna Kicks (made by Columbian artisans) which can be worn to and from yoga.
- Stackable yoga jewelry and prayer beads from Silver & Sage. I ended up buying a few made from fresh water pearls!
And yes, of course, Lululemon was in the house or rather in the D'om (a huge dome-like tent which was set up front and center on the festival grounds). By day the D'om was a bustling shop where everyone congregated. By night it was a fantastic projection screen for abstract art films--where true fashion came into play (at least for me).
What You Need For Wanderlust (since you're totally going)
- A travel-friendly yoga mat. They're basically lighter, thinner and cheaper. Look for one that's coated for outdoor surfaces and can get wet.
- Sneakers made for both light trail running and hiking. Make sure it's a lighter summer shoe and not meant for cold weather to avoid overheating your feet. The Ecco BIOM Argon was my choice and I hiked in them like a pro through mud, dirt, weeds and icy snow in the lower ranges of Copper Mountain.
- Durable, moisture-wicking leggings or tights that will get you through a full day of working out and walking around. I took my Heart Butt Leggings from Nina.B.Roze. They're purple, made for just about any workout you can imagine (not just yoga) and they have ventilated mesh panels along the lower leg. Plus they're shiny and the heart shaped lines in the back make everyone's butt look great!
- A water bottle, duh. Take one that's easy to refill and planet friendly or prepare for dirty looks.
- An umbrella in case it rains. 'Cause you know it always at least drizzles at a festival!
- A slim backpack. Since you'll be carrying it all day, you want something that goes around both shoulders that you can hike with or take to paddle board yoga without freaking out that it will get ruined. Meaning NO PURSES or totes! I took my Run From Work Backpack made by Lululemon and packed it with everything from antibacterial wipes to travel-sized deodorant, my wallet, ponytail holders and a towel.
- Comfortable flip flops. I heart Hari Mari's Scout line, designed for outdoor walking with earth-tone footbeds and bright straps.
- Stylish activewear you can layer on and strip off as needed.
Why I'd Go Back Again
I credit Wanderlust with helping me return to a sound mind and open heart. Everyone I met at the festival was unbelievably kind, generous, honest and ready to share their story or craft. It's a fence-less festival with a warm vibe and welcoming entrepreneurial spirit. Everyone who attends is on a path to peace and health, and either has or wants to put "the bullshit" behind them.
On my last day, I took off my protective coat of armor and made my way to the top of the mountain (with the boy). From 12,000 feet high, we saw the beauty of Copper, the craziness of our lives and the need to explore and be true to ourself. We also saw why we weren't right for each other and never were...even as a consensual fling.
The yoga, the meditation, the random nice people I met and the ridiculously beautiful nature all around me helped close a chapter in my life. I had taken a trip inward and I let go of everything I was running away from. I also let go of everything I came with (like the boy). The only thing that could fill the void I was so scared of acknowledging was ME. At the top of the mountain, I knew the boy would always hold a special place in my heart but the past belongs in the past. There would be no more looking backwards for me without the intention of moving forward...and I think he felt the same.
Wanderlust is organized as a travel-oriented mind-body festival but it's also a personal journey if you let it be. Just show up with a couple stones in your pocket and add to the spiritual rock garden (or whatever it was that I watched grow along the grounds of the festival).
It turned into something really beautiful made out of pieces of things the artists had collected. Everyone there was working on it, contributing to it and growing with it. I'm definitely going back to Wanderlust with my heart set on Oahu 2014!
Did I instill the wanderlust in you? Clearly you won't have my same experience but you will learn how to "flow" through your own.
I just know it!
Leave a comment or question for me below about the festival!
I'm happy to help or guide you in any way I can!