Postcard From Wanderlust O'ahu
Combining world-class yogis, crowd-loving musical acts like Michael Franti and ALO, local Hawaiian surf legends like Gerry Lopez and Rochelle Ballard and organic wining and dining, this feel-good festival was the ultimate in mindful-living fun.
This one-of-a-kind festival is the largest multi-day yoga event in the world, with annual events in Squaw Valley, CA; Stratton Mountain, VT; Copper Mountain, CO, and Whistler, British Columbia. And now in 2013, it’s expanded to Chile and O’ahu.
I went here to: Escape the East Coast winter doldrums and get a dose of sunshine and “aloha spirit.”
The best way to travel here is: Fly into Honolulu and take an hour scenic shuttle through the rural part of the island to the North Shore. Or for more freedom, rent a car to explore stops along the way like the Dole Plantation (don’t miss the pineapple ice cream) and the beautiful Buddhist temple, Valley of the Temples.
I stayed at: Wanderlust was held at Turtle Bay Resort, an 880-acre paradise that sits on the northernmost tip of O’ahu’s North Shore. Used as the backdrop in films such as Hunger Games and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the resort’s surrounding acres of remote beaches and banyan trees is literally right out of a movie.
When it comes to packing, be sure to bring: Your yoga mat, a rash guard for standup paddleboard yoga and surfing, hiking shoes and a hoodie for the windy and always changing weather on the North Shore. You’ll live in Lycra for 4 days here, so pack a few pairs of yoga pants and go!
The best thing I ate was: Local vegetarian fare from Beet Box Café – this North Shore favorite was on site serving up burritos and smoothies for quick energy boosts between yoga classes. Also, the delicious tastings from new health food company LYFE Kitchen has me excited to see their products hitting supermarkets nationwide soon.
I wish I hadn't: Thought I could see all the beauty on the North Shore and take advantage of everything at Wanderlust in just 4 days.
Don't miss: Exploring the acres of beauty that make up Turtle Bay. There are beautiful trails alongside the beach that wind through a forest of banyan trees. Perhaps you’ll even be lucky enough to have a turtle spotting on the beach – Hawaiians believe seeing a “hano” is a sign of good luck. And you can’t take a trip to the North Shore without seeing the famous surf breaks at Pipeline and Sunset Beach.
Next time I will definitely: Explore more of the North Shore. I missed trying the legendary shrimp trucks outside Turtle Bay. Also, I didn’t get a chance to see the mammoth waves (except for a quick drive-by) at Sunset Beach and Pipeline. And next time I definitely need to get up my nerve to cliff jump off Waimea Bay (one of the best things I’m told to do on the North Shore).
My favorite part of the festival was: The spontaneous “trance dance” party led by yoga goddess Shiva Rea and Wanderlust musical alum Michael Franti. Picture over a thousand people jumping to the infectious beats of Michael Franti (in comfy yoga pants, of course) under the Hawaiian sunshine with 15-foot waves breaking nearby. Pure happiness.
My advice would be: Take some time during the festival to just sit back and soak it all up. Sure, you want to take advantage of all the amazing yoga teachers on site, but you also need to take in the beauty while you’re here. And every Wanderlust has a main stage lawn that during the day is a great place to people watch … and perhaps perfect your handstand.
Check out images of the magic at Wanderlust O'ahu in our slideshow.