If there was one word that could describe what I feel at any given moment, it’d be “wanderlust.” Anyone who shares a close relationship to me can tell you how much I think and dream of exploring the world. The thought of an airplane alone gives me a rush, because to me, it symbolizes a journey. A new experience. Chasing these experiences is what fuels almost everything I do. When I accidentally stumbled across a colorful, full-page magazine advertisement reading “Los Angeles Wanderlust Festival: Yoga in the City” my interest was instantly piqued.
I’ve had so many cool things happen that have resulted from pure coincidence. I was going about my normal daily tasks at my desk one day when my manager handed me a stack of magazines. She asked me to look through them, find, and scan our company’s ads.
Browse through a bunch of luxury travel mags? No problem! I never mind being seriously inspired by a little upscale wanderlust.
Now, this isn’t one of my normal responsibilities at all, but I’m so glad it was assigned to me on that particular Friday morning. I came across the LA Wanderlust Festival displayed on a magazine page just in time -- the festival was to take place the very next day. Even more perfect? It was all going down at the Santa Monica Pier, aka my neck of the woods! With the pier a mere 4 miles from my house (have I mentioned how much I love living here?) and a free Saturday agenda, I had no reason not to sign myself up.
“Embark on an adventure of the Mind, Body, and Soul. Wanderlust Festivals are all-out, ecstatic celebrations...Wanderlust events are an opportunity to unplug from the ordinary and discover the extraordinary.” Sounded like a plan to me.
I’ve always fantasized about becoming a yogi and being able to practice flexible poses in obscure locations, as opposed to a local indoor studio. On top of a cliff in Hawaii overlooking the brilliant turquoise sea or on a rooftop among the Singapore skyline at sunset, perhaps. Wanderlust Fest definitely sounded like it would introduce me to something out of my ordinary, which at the moment was characterized by ‘exercising’ in my room with a yoga Youtube tutorial in front of me. The more I read about the Wanderlust Festival, the more intrigued I became.
I couldn’t have predicted the true impact the festival would impress until I arrived at the pier, though, where I witnessed the event’s magnetic atmosphere as soon as I stepped foot on the bridge that leads down to the pier.
It was a gorgeous, cloudless, Santa Monica-sunny afternoon, and the beach was vibrantly buzzing with hundreds of people. Seeing tons of happy spirits, both men and women alike, toting their yoga mats, I knew I was in the right place.
I arrived to the yogi scene, just next to Pacific Park & the pier’s roller coaster, amazed by all the people and kaleidoscope of life & color. A soft-voiced instructor stood on stage before an astoundingly grand assemblage of Festival-goers, stretched in-sync on their mats over a seemingly endless artificial grass spread. I unrolled my own mat and joined right in.
The energy was insaaane. One minute everyone was in complete zen mode, downward-dogging and warrior-posing, the next thing I knew, the instructor’s session was ending with an all-out dance party. It was so much fun! The next session was led by another renowned yoga teacher, backed by an amazing DJ who played the perfect combination of both dynamic and serene tunes for us to vibe to as one big happy yoga family. I released all the tension from my week into relaxing and restoring stretches -- while also taking quick breaks to snap pictures of the memorable experience.
There were plenty of standers-by who also stopped by to take pics of us, likely unaware of what Wanderlust was all about and surprised by the mass of people who were presently getting their yoga on. I would have been caught by surprise too had I just happened to come across the festival whilst leisurely visiting the Pier on a Saturday.
Witnessing all these life- and yoga-passionate people centering their energies and soaking in the day’s enjoyable mood was truly one of my favorite moments as a brand new Cali girl. The best part about it? It was completely free to register and attend.
If you are a yoga and/or 5k enthusiast, or even if you are very novice in the yoga game like myself, I highly suggest checking out some of the Wanderlust events if they come to your city. Wanderlust will be in Brooklyn and Atlanta this September (their 5k events are not free, however), so I encourage all of our New Yorkers and Georgia Peaches to partake -- I have a feeling that you won't go wrong with the type of energetic crowd Wanderlust attracts!