Amid the yoga classes and the musical acts, Wanderlust offers a number of “Speakeasy Talks”—presentations where smart people share their wisdom.
I haven’t been to any of those talks yet. (There’s just so much to do!) Still, even in the absence of polymaths, on this, my second and only full day at the fest, I managed to pick up some pretty solid life lessons. Here are a few of my new mantras.
Sometimes mistakes are little miracles.
I know that sounds cheesy—I blame the intoxicatingly sweet mountain air for my sappiness. See, I took the wrong hike this morning: I though I'd signed up for a walking meditation and found myself wandering up a trail led by a long-haired dude carrying a didgeridoo on his back. Before we’d walked far, the musician, AJ Block, picked a shady spot to have us lie on our backs while he wandered around us playing the horn.
I couldn’t believe so much haunting, resonant music came out of what’s literally nothing more than a hollow tube. The rich music was weirdly stirring, like when a group ohm sends shivers up my spine during yoga. It was my favorite Wanderlust experience thus far.
Distractions are optional.
While AJ played, some trucks drove by, rumbling so loud they drowned out the music. “Just keep coming back to your breathing,” he advised us. “If you’re really aware of your breath, you won’t be rattled by outside noises.” He was right—instead of cursing the cars as they drove by, I just let them pass, and then went back to enjoying the soundtrack of birds and breeze and didgeridoo without missing a beat.
Dance like nobody’s watching (because at the very least, nobody’s judging).
A dancer I am not—in high school musicals, the director always shunted me to the back for toe-tapping numbers, and I frequently injure myself during mundane activities like walking to the kitchen or stepping onto the curb. So I had low hopes for myself when I entered a burlesque dance class led by Gypsy Lane. But encouraged by its super friendly dancers and body positive message (the workshop leader, Cody, revealed that burlesque aided her recovery from an eating disorder), I was busting a move in no time. So what if I occasionally twirled the wrong way or was unsuccessful in my attempt to seductively pull a hanky out of my top?
I’m sure that’s on a bumper sticker somewhere. I had a little free time and learned that a ski lift was running about halfway up the mountain and a gondola would take you all the way to the top—both for free! I hopped into the latter without hesitation, figuring I’d get out, make my way down to the top of the lift and enjoy a ride back to the base. (The photo at left shows my view from the top.)
I picked a trail to begin the descent, quickly noting that ski runs do not good walking paths make. They’re steep, buggy, and entirely composed of loose rocks. I was making good progress (the gondolas far out of my sight) when I felt a drop of water on my arm. On cue, the winds gave a sudden whip. I turned around, away from the far-away base camp I’d been photographing merrily: the biggest, lowest, blackest cloud I’ve seen in recent memory.
I picked up my speed, praying with each jog that I wouldn’t wipe out (see: the bit about walking to the kitchen). Just as the skies opened up, the path curved and I spotted the base of a non-functional ski lift. I dove underneath as the thunder shook the mountain, vividly imagining the forestry service finding my lightning-charred body sometime the next morning.
I was so freaking scared! I had no idea where I was relative to the functional lift, and by now they’d probably shut it down anyway. (Check out the photo I snapped while I waited in terror!) After a few impressive thunderclaps, the rain slowed to a drizzle and I began picking my way back down. Thanks to the help of a few good Samaritans in a pick-up truck, I stepped onto the festival grounds just after the second sheet of rain rolled in.
Seriously, guys. No solo hikes in the mountains without first checking the weather. Period.