Wanderlust 108: Los Angeles
When deciding to purchase my Wanderlust 108 ticket for the Los Angeles event, I considered a few things. How much do I like yoga? Do I $50 like it? Do I want to wake up at 6:15 am on a Saturday, run/walk a 5k, do 75 minutes of yoga and meditate?
Sure! I bought my ticket about a month in advance and awaited the date. Saturday (4/29/17) rolled around and it was time for Wanderlust 108 at the Santa Monica Pier. I picked up my friend and Brittany and we were off. After paying $12 to park, we walked to the event.
I immediately expected to have my ticket scanned and my bags searched but that didn’t happen. In fact, you did not have to show ticket at all. The lady at the 5k check-in window only wanted my last name. I paid $50 for someone to be able to walk up and use anyone’s last name to gain access to this event??? Furthermore, I realized immediately that if you did not want to participate in the 5k, you didn’t have to check-in at all. Meaning, you technically didn’t need to buy a ticket. You technically could have showed up, dressed in work out gear, yoga mat in hand and secured your spot on the artificial grass. This was odd to me! A nice woman who worked for Wanderlust 108 helped us find a spot for our yoga mats.
We stretched and waited for some sort of instruction. A man appeared on stage and told the audience that the pre-race stretch was taking place on the sand, as was the 5k. WHAT??? There were groans throughout the entire festival, as attendees started freaking out about now knowing it was in the sand and not wanting to run in their sneakers in the sand. Brittany and I were also annoyed but we were determined to finish the 5k! We checked in our bags (again, you only need to do this if you are running the 5k) and headed to the sand. An instructor was stretching in the front but nobody in the back could see or hear anything. Everyone in the back was just talking and taking selfies.
The run started and we began our journey up and down the beach. We finished the 5k and to be honest, for $50, I was sure we were going to get a celebratory Wanderlust 108 medal. NOPE. I must say that I never thought I would finish a 5k ever, as I never wanted to pay for a 5k only event. I am not a confident runner but I am insanely proud of myself for finishing my first 5k at Wanderlust 108. I really did appreciate that there was no pressure on the 5k. Some attendees opted not to do it, some ran the entire way and some walked. It was just great to finish and I thank Wanderlust 108 for giving me the confidence to complete a 5k. We headed back to bag check, got our stuff and made our way to the yoga mats.
The sun was BEATING DOWN NOW and I wondered how everyone was going to manage doing yoga for 75 minutes in the direct sun. A man was on stage with a microphone and apparently, he was our first yoga instructor. I believe they called him MC Yogi. Anyways, he is the least relaxing and soothing yoga instructor. After some stretches and positions, he urged everyone to RUSH TO THE STAGE TO CATCH SOME T-SHIRTS. I am not making this up. Mind you, everyone’s yoga mats, purses and belongings are laid out on the floor. Now, everyone is just running on everyone’s yoga mats and running over people’s purses to CATCH A T-SHIRT FROM A MAN ON STAGE. The music started to get louder and all of a sudden, not only were shirts being thrown at us but we were instructed to dance to the loud music. Fine, an impromptu dance party is not an issue but it is an issue to see people’s personal belongings getting trampled on.
After MC Yogi left the stage, an instructor named Chelsey Korus took the stage and began instructing us. Chelsey was a good instructor, although I saw a lot of people discouraged by how fast she was moving and the complexity of some of her yoga positions. Wanderlust 108 was advertised as being for all levels of yoga but some of Chelsey’s moves were not for beginners. It is just a fact that some people cannot put their entire leg on their shoulder.
The worst part of the yoga portion? The fact that anyone could walk by us, stop, watch men and women (mostly women) do various yoga positions (particularly ones that require raising your butt in the air) and take our photos or take video. I know for a fact there were underage girls at this event and I found that to be cringe-worthy. I literally saw a man sitting on the side, just watching us for about 20 minutes. For $50, you don’t even get to practice yoga in a private space? That feels wrong to me.
Anyways, after Chelsey, it was time to meditate. I was super tired from the 5k, yoga and sun so mediating sounded perfect. I was wrong. JoAnna Harper took the stage. She began her conversation with us by speaking about how angry she was about current events, pointing out the lack of “brown people” at the festival and the abundance of “vaginas and breasts” at the festival. WAIT A SECOND. I paid $50 for someone to get on stage, talk about politics, race and gender??? As an African-American woman attending the festival with my White best friend, I was horrified. I witnessed “white women” completely turning bright red from the embarrassment of being singled out on stage by our “meditation teacher.” Wanderlust 108 is advertised as being all-inclusive and bringing people together. I love that message and it is one of the reasons I wanted to attend the event but I believe that Wanderlust 108 fell short of this.
As soon as JoAnna started actually instructing us on meditating, A DRONE WAS SENT UP IN THE AIR TO TAKE AERIAL FOOTAGE OF THE FESTIVAL. A DRONE THAT MAKES A TON OF WHIRRING NOISES. Brittany and I looked at each other in the middle of the class, rolled up our yoga mats and walked away to explore the rest of the festival.
There is nothing to do at this event. Seriously, once you finish the 5k, yoga and meditation, there is no real schedule of events. Everyone was allowed to sign up for one other extra course. The funniest part? YOU DID NOT NEED TO SIGN UP AS THE CLASSES WERE BEING FILLED ON A FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE BASIS. What the heck? Brittany and I were determined to make the most of the event so we shook off the terrible meditation instructor and visited every vendor. There were lots of expensive jewelry and clothes being sold, as well as some freebies from some of the sponsors like Samsung and Ford. Wanderlust 108 did not give us any freebies, which is insane since my ticket was $50 and I left the event without a medal or simple t-shirt.
Wanderlust 108 is not for everyone and I wish it had been advertised that way. If you really want to run a 5k, do yoga, meditate, wait in line for a free tote bag at the Ford tent and buy $100 necklaces, this is the event for you. If you want to relax whilst doing yoga in a private space, this is not the event for you.