Downward Dogs, yoga tights, naturally flavoured water and Budda Bowls are to be expected when you attend a wellness festival. But discovering your purpose, learning a few important life lessons and connecting with like-minded people are not exactly a given.
To tell you the truth, I had never heard of Wanderlust until my friend, Amber, asked me to join her when it was scheduled to come to Toronto. And the timing couldn’t have been better. Recently, I set an intention to try new things and to get uncomfortable more often. So I said “yes!” And looking back, I’m so grateful she included me in this incredible day. There was so much I learned about myself, community, contribution, wellness and sisterhood.
Life Lesson 1: Finding my purpose by trying something new
The event organizers describe the one-day event as the “world’s only mindful triathlon”. Now do I have your attention?! You’re probably wondering what that means. Don’t worry — I was too! The only triathlon I had ever done included swimming, biking and running. So naturally, I was very curious about what this entailed.
Basically, when you sign up for Wanderlust, you are signing yourself up for an incredible day designed to help you find your “true north” or “purpose” by incorporating movement, music, mindfulness, healthy food and the opportunity to give back to non-profit organizations.
Life Lesson 2: The joy is in the journey
The day started off with a run. But it wasn’t your typical race. In fact, it wasn’t a race at all. Although you’re encouraged to run or walk at any pace you choose, the idea is to support each other to the finish line and get in some purposeful exercise at the same time. This was the first mistake I made. As someone who is quite competitive, I automatically went into to race mode, setting my Apple Watch and monitoring my heart rate and pace the entire time. Would I have done this part differently? Absolutely! Sometimes it’s not about how fast you get to the finish line, but what you take away from the experience itself.
At the end of the run, we were given a bottle of water and a good amount of time to refuel, hydrate and catch our breath before the next segment of the triathlon. For me, this was the best part of the event. Once I reunited with my friends at the finish line, we spent our downtime getting to know each other on a deeper level through meaningful conversation. When I allowed myself to be open and vulnerable, I realized just how much I had in common with these incredible women. Although we were from different cities, had different careers and we were all different ages, we had one thing in common. We were all obsessed with becoming the best version of ourselves and reaching our fullest potential.
Life Lesson 3: True leadership is showing up as yourself no matter what…
Next, we spent a full hour on our mats in downward dog, crow’s pose, child’s pose, warrior etc. The sun was beating down, but it felt amazing. There were literally hundreds of yoga mats scattered across the lawn. It was incredible. Definitely the biggest yoga class I had every been a part of. Honestly, there really is nothing more empowering than this. Some people were amazing at yoga and some were happy to stay in Child’s Pose the entire time. I realize that we were all leaders that day because we simply decided to show up.
Life Lesson 4: Learning to let go of expectations
Looking back, although I didn’t set any expectations for the day, I did set an intention. And that was to allow myself to be open to this incredible experience.
I knew I would make it through the day as I have some experience running, I’ve done yoga many times and I do regular meditations from my Smart Phone App.
But what I took away from the actual experience was so much more than I ever imagined. And it had nothing to do with exercise. When we give up on expectations, we make room for new experiences, friendships and opportunities.
Life Lesson 5: It’s all about connection, community and sisterhood
For me, the best part about Wanderlust was the opportunity to connect with so many like-minded women. I didn’t realize how much I crave sisterhood, community and friendship. We laughed a lot, hugged and took a lot of Instagram-worthy photos. Although it felt like of one of the hottest days of the entire summer, we made the best of it by drinking a lot of water (thanks to Flow), while hanging out together in any shaded area we could find.
BONUS Life Lesson 6: Bliss is the moment you realize no one is watching you, and if they are you simply smile…
I especially loved the fact that Wanderlust is a judgment-free space. When I looked across the grassy area during yoga, I was amazed by how unique we all were. It was incredible to see so many different shapes, sizes and fitness levels come together. The best part of all was that everyone was focused on their own
practice — basically trying not to fall while in tree pose! When you surround yourself with the right people, there is no fear that others are watching or judging. It’s simply pure bliss as we are there to support and lift each other up — sometimes literally!
My final thoughts
So did I find my “True North” or purpose? I think I’m definitely on the right track. I believe our purpose comes from knowing who we are and by sharing life experiences with others, while remaining present as often as possible. For me, I’ve always known what makes me feel good. And to me, when I’m doing what I love, I’m on the right path. Wanderlust was a wonderful reminder to embrace the things that I love to do more often!
So if you’re lucky enough to have a Wanderlust Festival pop up in your city, be sure to sign up. You won’t regret it.
To find out if an event is coming to you, click here for the locations