Over the weekend of June 21st, my friends Glenna, Sharon and I took a road trip up to Stratton Mountain in Vermont to attend the Wanderlust Festival. Wanderlust is a four day yoga festival that features lots of yoga classes, lectures, concerts, and a lot of crazy hippie stuff.
I’ve always considered myself to be more of an “urbanite with hippie tenancies”. For example:
- I’m vegan.
- If I can’t eat it, I don’t put it on my face or skin. This includes cosmetics, skincare and haircare products, or even household cleaning products.
- I really, really enjoy yoga.
- I make everything from scratch. From my almond milk to body scrubs.
This trip completely and utterly proved I am no where near the hippie I thought I was. While we girls had an absolutely fabulous time, we experienced some weird shit while up on that mountain. Here’s some of the highlights, and weirdest points of my Wanderlust experience.
Vermont is Gorgeous!
This was a perfect, relaxing weekend getaway not only because of the yoga, but the actual venue. Stratton Resort was adorable, and check out all the amazing views. It’s no wonder why they call them the Green Mountains here, everything was so lush and green!
In between all the classes and hiking, we had a lot of time to just chillax on the grass lawns and take it all in. Oooooohhhmmm!
There Are Some Bizarre Offshoots of Yoga Nowadays
One thing I learned on this trip is I like my yoga simple and stripped down to it’s original roots. My favorite schools of yoga are Ashtanga and Anusara, and I learned this trip I don’t like anyone screwing with it’s traditional format.
Some interesting classes I participated in included Hip Hop Yoga and Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga. While Hip Hop Yoga was fun, it wasn’t for me. I like to relax during my yoga sessions and with the thump thumping music I found it really difficult to find my flow.
SUP Yoga was unique, but I had more fun just straight up Paddleboarding! My Crossfit training has served me well, because even though it was my first time trying the sport, I discovered I’m a SUP beast. The owner of the SUP company that took us out after a while asked me if I’d rather work on SUP technique instead of the yoga, so while everyone else was in shavanasa I was doing laps around the island in the lake at warp speed. I’m not going to lie, I was really dreading this class because I have OCD dirty-lake water issues, but it wound up being one of my favorite parts of the trip!
There were also a ton of classes that were freaking bizarre that we didn’t participate in, the weirdest one being Yoga on Horses. Yes, you read that right. Not sure how I felt about that one, but it was fun to watch!
The Acroyogi’s were also entertaining as well. Acroyoga is a form of partner yoga which is you guessed it, acrobatic.
While watching the Acroyoga class, we tried out another yoga offshoot, tight-rope yoga. We miserably failed at even walking the rope, but it was fun nonetheless!
Oh, and somehow hula hooping fit into all of this. Behold the hula hoop yoga class. Glenna was really into the hula hoops.
Yogi’s Have to Shop Too
There was no shortage of crunchy shopping at Wanderlust.
There were lots of apparel vendors, including Lululemon there selling their goods to the yoga pant wearing masses. At Lululemon’s D’Ohm store, I couldn’t resist purchasing a gorgeous white, draped yoga hoodie. It cost an arm and a leg, but I’d get a lot of fitness and non-fitness use out of it. Plus, it really came in handy later on during our hikes. More details on that in a second.
In addition to apparel, there were a lot of jewelery, face/skin care, yoga accessory and video vendors. Both Glenna and Sharon got some beautiful, unique jewelery pieces. I upgraded my yoga mat and got a mat bag. I didn’t realize how essential it was to have one during these sorts of events. It became such a pain carrying my old mat around and having it unfurl into a mess everywhere I went.
Needless to say, we did our fair share of shopping!
Wanderlust is Vegan Gluten-Free Heaven
Of course, the absolute highlight of the trip for me was the food. It was literally a gluten-free vegan paradise. Check out this pizza from Pizza for the People.
Granted, the pizza was $18 but worth every penny.
Another meal I had on repeat was this bowl from Wok in Roll. You pick and choose what grains, protein, veggies and sauce you wanted and I always went for quinoa, tofu, veggies and a green curry sauce. It was off the hook! I wanted to stuff my face with it after every hike.
And those are just the highlights of food you actually paid for. Wanderlust had tons of food vendors giving out near full size samples. Best part was they were a lot of my favorite vegan brands. So Delicious gave out greek coconut yogurts, ice cream sandwiches and ice cream bars, while Nature’s Balance had popcorn and vegan cheesy poofs! I omnommed my way through the vendor section several times a day and was never really hungry.
My only real complaint on the food front is for dinner, the local restaurants although they had vegan and vegetarian options seemed to price gouge these dishes like crazy. I had a $21 tofu and vegetable noodle stir-fry. That’s NYC prices! I totally wasn’t expecting that in Vermont, especially when their beer and wine was in the $4-$6 range.
Hiking is Hard… and My Fire Ceremony is Better than Your Fire Ceremony
This city girl usually loves to hike, and we hiked two days while at the festival. The hikes at Wanderlust were way different than I was expecting though. For starters:
They categorized an “easy” or “all-levels” hike as pretty much headed straight up the diamond runs on the mountain. I’m not even making this up. It was HARD. It really reminded me how much my cardiovascular endurance sucks because it was like being on a stepmill at warp speed the entire way.
The only thing that made our first hike somewhat bearable is that we hydrated prior to going up. Our own way that is.
If you have never experienced being bit by a black fly, you don’t want to. They look like little harmless gnats but they swarm all over you once you’re at the summit of the mountain. I got bit up pretty horribly and that was even with me using bug repellent. And the bites start out as little red dots and swell up to looking like you have a horrible disease. An oh, the itching!
To try to keep ourselves protected from the flies, we pulled out our hoodies and scarves and rocked it zero dark thirty style. I think all the local Vermonters thought we were nuts. From what I read though, if you’re from New England you have a somewhat natural immunity to them, so they don’t bother you. They feasted on us. I’m really glad I dropped bank the Lululemon yoga hoodie, because without it I would have been in much worse shape after the festival than I am.
Instead of just enjoying the view when you get to the top, the hike guides instead will make you do weird meditation ceremonies. On our first hike, we had an over 30 minute digeridoo complimented meditation. Normally I’d enjoy this, but I was getting eaten alive the entire 30 minutes.
After the 30 minutes, the guide wanted to stay up there rocking the digeridoo so we headed off the mountain by ourselves. Along the way, these three city girls encountered a bear and a dead badger.
See that black dot in the middle of the ski trail? That’s the bear that was following us!
The hike on the second day we thought would be a little more “normal”. Once we got to the top, we were informed that it was time for our guided meditation and burning ceremony. We were all instructed to write something we need to let go, along with something we want to welcome in it’s place on two strips of birch bark, and then BURN the one we want to let go.
Again, I enjoyed the sentiment but I was being eaten alive by those damn black flies. So I can’t say it was fun. Lucky for us, we didn’t have to worry about being escorted off the mountain this time around because we just took the gondola down.
When we finally got to the base, we headed straight to the local sushi restaurant and had our own burning ceremony. It was something I really needed to welcome into my life at that moment.
If you enjoy yoga and live in the Northeast (or on the West Coast where they have sister events), I highly recommend checking out Wanderlust. Not only does it make for a great girls trip, but it was very couple and family friendly as well. Lots of folks with their kids and even dogs got to enjoy the festival along with a bit of yoga.
Vermont is absolutely gorgeous during summer, and I can’t wait to visit again. I also had the BEST time hanging out with these two girls here. Can’t wait to start planning our next fitness-oriented girls trip with them!