When I started thinking about writing about Wanderlust Festival it was somewhat overwhelming.  At Wanderlust Festival Stratton, I went to over ten classes in two days and I took copious notes on many of them.  The classes ranged from running a 5k with the first female American to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days to Dharma Yoga with legendary yogi Sri Dharma Mittra to cooking classes on how to use fiber for detox.  And that’s not to mention the many informal, mind-opening, interactions in between with musicians, wellness vendors, and fellow Wanderlusters.

Wanderlust - The Greatest Place sign
Wanderlust really is one of the greatest places ever

I mentioned to Alexis, the friend I went to Wanderlust Festival with, that I didn’t know how I would remember all the amazing insights from the weekend.  She then reminded me of what Seane Corn told us during “The Yoga of Awakening.”  The inspirational and internationally celebrated yoga teacher told us during our practice to not worry about remembering every single piece of advice we receive during the weekend.  Instead she encouraged us to keep ourselves open, take it all in, and see what stays with us a few days later.

So, lucky for you, I won’t be writing a ten-page blog post on every detail of my amazing weekend at Wanderlust Festival.  Instead I’d like to share with you some of the thoughts that have resonated with me one week after Wanderlust Festival.  I can’t explain why these are the insights, ideas, and advice that have stuck with me, but here they are!


Laura Kay’s Wanderlust Festival Takeaways

Community is king.  My Wanderlust Festival started with an early morning run alongside Becca Pizzi, the first female American to complete the World Marathon Challenge.  There were just a handful of us so we really got to know Becca and learn about her incredible experiences.  (And don’t

Ultima Samples
Ultima electrolyte samples from Becca

worry, she slowed down the pace for us!)  After hearing Becca’s story about running 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days I couldn’t help but think that running must have been the easy part.  The logistics of making sure she arrived in each continent before the start of each race (no, she did not have a private charter plane), finding a place to shower after each race, and securing armed guards to run alongside her in unstable countries were overwhelming.  Luckily, it sounds like Becca had a fantastic team supporting her along the way and different family members met her in each country.  Becca’s community in Boston even stepped up to take care of her daughter whom she had to leave at home for ten days, the longest they had ever been apart.


Stop waiting on someone else to and give yourself a massage.  At the end of the first day, Alexis and I went to “Rolling in the Deep (Fascia): Full Body Surrender Self Bodywork.”  The class included live music by Ida Jo, instruction by David Vendetti, and self-body work tools.  The self-body work tools included magical balls and rollers that provided relief to my muscles from head to toe.  Imagine foam rolling, but more intense.  While I was definitely in a little pain after the class, my whole body felt lengthened and the idea of doing this every night was quite appealing.  And as David (one of the funniest yoga instructors I’ve ever had) said, “You’re not going to find someone that loves you enough to give you a massage every day, so go buy yourself some self-massage tools.”

Class in the Shala
Class in The Shala

Stretch every day.  This is so simple, and something I should already know given my obsession with stretching is one of the reasons I named my blog what I did.  And I do already recognize the importance of stretching, but Wanderlust Festival was a timely reinforcement of just that.  I had not been stretching as deeply the past few months and only had gone to a handful of yoga classes this year  After just two days and six yoga classes, I came home feeling rejuvenated.  My body was of course a little sore, but it was the kind of sore that felt good.  Not to mention I was much more flexible!

Don’t mix fruit with starch.  While showing us how to make Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding, Christa Orrechio shared a number of insights on how certain foods can affect your body.  She spoke about getting enough fiber, the right mix of omegas, etc., but the most surprising thing she shared was that you should never mix fruit with starch.  Did you immediately think of your banana on your peanut butter toast or the blueberries in your oatmeal?  I sure did!  Apparently when you mix starch with fruit the starch cuts off the fruit from digesting and the fruit begins to ferment.  This causes most people to think they have gas or IBS, but, in reality, they just need to keep starches and fruits 30 to 60 minutes apart (30 minutes if the fruit is first, 60 minutes if the starch is first).  Who knew!

Nicole Centeno Cooking Class
Nicole Ceneno leading “The Slow Down Meal”

Mindful eating can be a meditation.  Nicole Centeno really spoke to me.  It was pretty obvious why once she gave a little background on herself – a type-A, career focused woman that struggled with eating during college and then discovered mindfulness.  When she started feeling anxious again later in life she tried to go back to the traditional meditation she had learned as a coping mechanism in college, but this time it did not work for her.  Instead, she found meditation in cooking and eating.  I could already totally relate.  Today Nicole makes a conscious effort to eat one meal a day by herself in complete silence.  This reminded me of how much I love waking up before everyone else and having my breakfast in silence.  But Nicole takes it a step further – she turns her phone to airplane mode and puts in headphones.  The idea of trying to fit this into my life is a little daunting but I can totally see the benefits of it and would love to at least try doing it a few times week.  Not only would it allow me to meditate, but it would also allow me to really focus on my meal and how it makes me feel.

Yoga can still be tough without chaturangas.  On Saturday afternoon we went to a class called “Look, Ma—No  Hands” with Sara Clark.  Sara knew we’d be doing a lot of chaturangas and down dogs throughout the weekend so she designed an entire practice without any of those.  I suspected the class would be a little easier, a bit of a break, but Sara still found a way to lead us through a challenging Vinyasa flow.  I still got sweaty and it ended up being one of my favorite practices of the weekend! Note: there were so many amazing practices throughout the weekend that focused on different aspects of yoga – I’ll likely need a separate post to share the highlights of each of them!

Believe in your Gut sign at Wanderlust Stratton
Believe in your Gut sign at Wanderlust Stratton

Believe in your gut.  “Believe in your Gut” was the tagline on the chalkboard outside the “Find Your Food Fork” (or food demo) tent that was constantly serving up Tropicana’s new probiotic drink.  This theme was carried throughout many of the cooking demos and Speakeasy talks throughout the weekend.  The theme even carried into one of my yoga classes.  While we moved through one of the more intense Vinyasas I’d ever experienced, Lauren Imparato shared her story around how she learned to trust her gut after the book publisher she was feeling uneasy about ended up screwing her over.  It was ironic that this was the theme for Wanderlust Festival because it has also been a theme of my year.  2017 has been all about following my gut instinct – from starting this blog to choosing to leave my job and pursue my MBA in a new city.  This year I have also been more in-tune with what I am putting in my body and how it makes me feel (see my posts on giving up sugar for Lent and taking a break from caffeine).  Without going into too much detail, I’ve found that the better the food I put in my mouth moves through my body, the better I feel overall.

Okay, so this still ended up being a pretty long post, but I hope you learned something from it as well!  And final disclaimer – I can’t promise that I’m not also going to write separate posts about individual speakers and classes that moved me : )


  1. I’ve been meaning to sign up for the one near me in Louisville in October! This definitely gave me the kick in the butt I need to do it, because it sounds amazing!!!


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