Words and photos: Lisa Markuson
If you’ve ever considered attending Wanderlust Festival–they take place all summer long around the U.S. and Canada, and if you like music, yoga, or being outdoors in any capacity, you really should–there is no better time to also consider becoming a hitchhiker.
I feel like hitchhiking has fallen out of style in recent years- why is that? Is it perhaps that we are rushing too much, don’t trust each other enough? Or is it because we can’t bear to be a bit vulnerable, or expose ourselves to uncertain environs? In any case, I’m bringing it back, dammit.
I waited for a total of 13 seconds to travel the 85 miles between Brattleboro, Vermont and the loveliest mountaintop festival I have ever attended. If you aren’t a yogi yourself, you may not know how many different cliques of yogi there actually are, or all of the cool shit that goes along with the “yoga lifestyle” or whatever you want to call it. The great thing about Wanderlust is that you can experience it ALL in one beautiful place where everyone is nice and looks you directly in the eye when they meet you. I must have made eye contact with more people last weekend than I had in the entire year leading up to it.
At Wanderlust, I got to hang out with the AcroYogis and the YogaSlackers, who are the crunchiest and most likely to have dreadlocks and offer to give you a foot massage as a way of saying hello to you for the first time. I tried “5 Rhythms,” which is a primal dance meditation akin to something you’d experience at Burning Man, led by a 7-foot-tall New Zealander with an enormous didgeridoo. I kid you not.
I did kundalini yoga with Gabrielle Bernstein, an ex drug-addict who now wears a white turban and brings people to tears with her miraculous teaching and inspirational speaking. I struggled through yoga activist/goddess Seane Corn’s famous Detox Flow, that squeezes your pathetic body into so many strategic poses that you feel like a really clean rubber band afterward. I took a class and attended a lecture by the razor sharp Elena Brower, who impressed me so much that I bought her book, which is saying something because I generally buy nothing ever if I can help it. I took yoga for cyclists with Malaika DosRemedios, after which I could feel parts of my hips that I never new were there. I did singing yoga with Suzanne Sterling and wasn’t even embarrassed.
My Hitchhiking must-haves: Sign, popcorn, and honey wine
I’m sure I did other yoga classes too, but I can’t remember now what they were, because in addition to yoga there were also huge dance parties and live music with Caravan Palace and Femi Kuti and the Positive Force and various DJs and hot tub experiences which will remain un-recounted, and I slept from 4:00am to 7:30am each night so as to not miss a second.
I consumed little more than astoundingly generous amounts of samples of TumericALIVE, Runa Tea, KINDsnacks, some sort of green juice, and more little bottles of kefir and tiny almond milk ice cream bars than are fit to put into writing. At one point, an adorable farmer named Oliver started roaming the festival grounds selling epic platters of three-day fermented sourdough bread, nut paté, pesto, and quinoa, giving lectures on old world baking techniques. He and his vegan feastings instantly became the talk of the whole Wanderlust citizenry.
That’s the thing about these isolated, tight knit groups; trends become allencompassing in a second, and word travels like wildfire. A similar phenomenon happened with the wares of D.C.’s own Cameron Archer. Yogi ladies can be fickle, I must say, so it was particularly interesting to see the daily increase in lovely young people prancing through the fields and forest wearing her sortof industrial, sortof woodsy, sortof pagan, pieces. I myself was also susceptible to their charms.
I couldn’t help myself. The other big hit was the free haikus being offered by two increasingly sunburned young men stationed on a grassy hill, each equipped with their own typewriter on which to compose. Of course, I wasn’t content with just receiving this haiku; I ended up joining them and writing haiku for strangers, and then tricking them into driving me back to Brooklyn with them.
Does that count as hitchhiking?
But the body bending classes, cold pressed fairy juices, and ethically sanded products were really just a framework bringing together a bunch of totally different weirdos who all have some ethereal thing in common. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I think it might have to do with electromagnetic waves, or crystals, or the neurons that fire when you look a stranger in the eyes for more than 45 seconds straight.
The best gluten-free bread to ever cross my lips, from Earth Sky Time in Manchester Vermont
I found a unicorn. Typical.
The view from the back of the five rhythms class. Primal.