Wanderlust Oahu Was Amazing!
Last weekend the Turtle Bay Resort & Spa hosted one of the most unique and incredible events ever come to Hawaii. From musical performances and guest speakers to renown gurus and stand up paddle yoga, Wanderlust Oahu was a whirlpool of positive energy and excitement.
Wanderlust Oahu highlightsThis is the first time Wanderlust Festival has come held in Hawaii and it couldn’t have been more spectacular! Here’s a look at the festival’s biggest events from the weekend. Michael Franti gave a stellar performance on Friday night and gave an even better encore Saturday afternoon on the lawn. (He was onstage at first and decided to sing in the middle of the cheering crowd.) ALO followed up and had the crowd singing and dancing on Saturday night. Famed surfer, Mr. Pipeline himself, Gerry Lopez gave an inspiring speakeasy. Conversational, candid, and even intimate at times, it felt like you were just sitting in your living room with him talking story about life and the lessons learned through surfing and yoga. Wanderlust co-creator Schuyler Grant shared her special “Honey Flow” style of Kula Flow Yoga. Filling Turtle Bay’s Kuilima Ballroom, her invigorating and “stealthily challenging” class had locals taking their yoga to new levels. On Saturday afternoon before Michael Franti had the stage to himself, he provided the soundtrack what was probably Hawaii’s largest ‘trance dance’ ever. Led by yoga guru Shiva Rea, the crowd transformed into a tribe and lost themselves to the collective for what was one of the most anticipated yoga events of the festival. Pouring his heart out and sharing his soul Sunday morning was Eoin Finn. His refreshing class came to a close with a touching story about the loss of a beloved friend and everyone being asked to hug the person next to them. So moved by his story and emotion, the crowd transformed his simple request into a giant group hug that I have ever been a part of and had strangers from across oceans embracing each other and sharing their emotion in the healing moment.
More than the first Wanderlust OahuWanderlust Oahu was the first time a festival like this has come to Hawaii and for many others it was first for something. First time to Hawaii, first time surfing, first time hearing a certain band, first time shaking a hero’s hand, and for many local yogis it was a first Wanderlust. Wanderlust Oahu was also more of a participatory event. With activities and demonstrations like hula hooping, “slacklining” (which is like tightrope walking, except well, with slack in the rope), hiking, surf lessons, yoga classes, nutritional tips, beauty bar, and access to all of the hotel’s amenities, it was hard not to get involved in doing something.
Sitting down with the Wanderlust foundersI was lucky enough to attend a speakeasy with Wanderlust founders. They spoke of the festival’s history, roots, and about how Wanderlust Oahu came to be. The Wanderlust Festival started 5 years ago in Squaw Valley by Jeff Kranso & Sean Hoess with wanting to grow the roots of community and strengthen the values of local, sustainable, and organic lifestyles. Their goal was to “build a community through mindful living” and they have certainly done that. Wanderlust Oahu was born out of the need for a winter event. Usually held ski resorts in the summer, Jeff & Sean wanted a winter event where the weather was as nice as summer with a venue too desirable to miss. In recent years the connection and benefits between surfing and yoga has really been explored. With the recent emergence of stand up paddle yoga, Hawaii seemed to be an obvious choice for the festival’s first winter event. The Turtle Bay Resort & Spa made a great partner and venue for Wanderlust Oahu. The resort kitchens created a special menu just for the event, adopted the “mindful living” mantra of the festival, and welcomed the festival’s attendees with great sincerity. A big part of Wanderlust Oahu was to make a connection with the land and the natural energy this beautiful island has. With activities like nature hikes, beach cleanups and surf lessons, the event gave people from all around the world a chance to connect with Hawaii, and discover the Aloha spirit resting within their hearts. Jeff & Sean were thrilled with the event and would love to bring Wanderlust back to the Turtle Bay Resort & Spa next year!
My Wanderlust OahuI arrived Saturday morning, right in the middle of the four day festival. The drive up through the Oahu countryside in the morning was pleasant and much of the local crowd was beginning to arrive for the weekend’s events. Michael Franti had rocked the crowd the night before and the early morning yoga classes had just finished and the grounds of Turtle Bay were bustling. I checked in to the press room and headed out to see what the event was all about. Huge conference rooms were transformed into spiritual oases complete with lighting to enlighten and music to meditate to. The Turtle Bay lawn lawn was set with a concert stage, booths with crafts, clothing, causes, and cuisine that was both healthy and (more importantly) delicious. LYFE Kitchen was on hand to provide food for the event and spread the word about their restaurants and line of frozen entrees. With healthy portions, quality ingredients and delicious recipes, LYFE Kitchen foods are a convenient way to eat healthy without sacrificing flavor, especially for a life on the go. Everywhere you went people were smiling and you couldn’t help from feeling like everyone there was already your friend. Positivity radiated through the halls and you could see the excitement for the day’s events on everyone’s face. I could just tell this was going to be an amazing experience.
A first time yogiWanderlust Oahu was my first yoga experience. I signed up for an afternoon class on Saturday called Kula Flow. It sounded mellow and relaxing. I was wrong. It turned out to be pretty much power yoga. One of the event organizers (who was very experienced in yoga) was nice enough to attend with me, and bless her heart, did her best not to laugh at my struggle. I powered through doing my best to copy my neighbors, who I was thankful for having because I had no idea what the instructor Schuyler was saying. And I fell asleep during the meditation at the end of the class. It totally kicked my butt! It was way harder than I imagined it to be and I definitely felt sore, but I also felt the benefits inside and out in the following days.
Wandering for moreWanderlust Oahu was amazing. The event delighted yogis from around the islands and world, and the event was such a smash there will probably be one next year! To get a full idea of what the event was like, visit their Wanderlust Oahu homepage. Stay connected with Wanderlust events throughout the year and to see if there’s one happening soon near you, check out the Wanderlust Festival Facebook page. Mahalo Nui Loa for reading our coverage of this wanderful event. With so much fun and excitement over 2 days, there was so much to say!
Written By: Alex Kite