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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Wanderlust

It sometimes takes me a while these days to unpack my experience of a trip, the impressions, the things that changed me, and articulate it into a story.  And this blog, while it's been a chronicle of my time in New York City, has also allowed me an outlet for these kinds of stories.  The kinds of stories I've discovered that I love telling.  And perhaps that's why I started to travel again.  I've always had a bit of wanderlust ever since my parents dragged me (I say that lovingly...I was not really dragged) on a trip around the country at the tender yet excitable age of 8.  I've thirsted since to see more of the world.  When asked what I wanted for a graduation present from high school, without hesitation, I said a trip to Paris.

Fast forward to this year.  The fact that there is a festival called Wanderlust seemed like a no brainer. Yet, it was a friend who suggested we go and, therefore, not my idea.  A few months ago in the course of a twenty minute phone conversation, the plan was hatched.  This July, Snowmass Village, Colorado was hosting the festival.  I hadn't been to Colorado since that fateful trip as a wide-eyed eight year old. We rode the Durango to Silverton railroad and I gazed at canyons and roaring rivers out the window of the train, noticing only at the end of the trip how much soot had accumulated on my face.  In Silverton, I gestured toward snowy mountains and begged my parents to hike up so we could see snow in June.  My siblings laughed at my inability to judge distance. Here's me with the brakeman's hat on:



When my friend told me that the Wanderlust festival was in Colorado, I bit almost immediately.  A yoga festival? In Colorado? Of course!

So we began planning, reserved a rental car, and agreed on an AirBnb in Basalt, a town about thirty minutes away, to save money.  And I began getting excited about things like Acro Yoga and Stand-up Paddleboard Yoga (the classes were all full by the time we had bought out tickets unfortunately so I didn't get to try it) and Slackline Yoga, farm to table dinners, hiking and meditation in nature, as well as the fact that there would be music every night.  Outdoor music.  And then they sent out an email after we bought our tickets saying that freakin' Moby was headlining the festival!

Here's an album of photos from the festival.  There's so much to say about the festival so I'll just talk highlights and forego the blow by blow.  Probably one of the most inspiring moments of the festival for me was the meditation hike with Häana, a violinist who came to the festival as one of the performers. Her music was really awesome. She actually almost carpooled with us from Denver International Airport but her flight kept getting delayed. I had researched her when she answered my post on the Wanderlust Facebook page offering rides from Denver to other festival goers.

On the second day of the festival I got a chance to hear her play a full electronic set at one of the indoor meditation classes. That alone was amazing and really freaking cool.  But on this hike, she brought an old vintage violin that had this amazingly beautiful resonance.  We hiked a little ways into the Aspen groves where she led a brief meditation and while we continued to sit in the tall grasses, she improvised for about twenty minutes in a Norwegian influenced style. As the music swelled, the breeze tickled us and a small thunderstorm rolled in.  Just being out there in the open air, feeling the breeze, and hearing the haunting sounds of that violin.  It was so beautiful.  There are a couple good pics from the hike in that album as well as a video I took after hanging back on the hike down (you can hear the thunder in the background!)

Another spectacular moment was trying out Acro yoga for the first time and getting up in a handstand while balancing on another person's knees while they laid on the ground.  All the pics in that album where you see the dome tents set up is where we had all of those classes.  There were some other types of specialized yoga that happened there, but that I didn't get to try, like AiREAL yoga which has you balancing in fabric hammocks, doing moves meant to decompress the spine and strengthen your core.  There was also Slackline yoga which is essentially doing yoga on a tight rope.  The guy who did carpool with us from the airport was huge into this and my friend who came with me tried a few classes (she was also into the Hula classes which were a big thing).  My only attempt at slack-lining was after having a few drinks when it was late at night and dark out.  It did not go well.

Other highlights were of course all of the concerts, including Moby and the Wanderlust Spectacular, a full show of acrobatics and dancing that had my jaw dropping the whole time.  Then there was hanging out in Aspen on my last night with a local I'd met on my first night there and then having her show us around her town of Carbondale on our final day after the festival had ended.  Our AirBnb host even joined us at a local distillery there called Marble Distillery and then we all had dinner at a place called Town.  I tried rabbit tacos and they were excellent!

I gotta tell you, on a side note, the elevation up there did not kill me but it was certainly a bit harder to walk uphill while simultaneously making conversation with the new friends I was making.  And it took far fewer flights of stairs than normal for me to be winded.  But that was all okay because I've heard what altitude sickness can be like and I would much prefer just having a little difficulty breathing to that any day.

Anyway, now that I'm back, and I've made friends out there, I plan on going back in September and hiking one of the 14ers.  Because lately, I've been obsessed with tall mountains and the like.  See my previous trip to Nicaragua in February.  And I'm not worried about the elevation gain because I know I'll probably acclimate in the first few days and the peak my friend has recommended only has like a 4,200 ft. elevation gain.  Concepción was 5,200 ft. tall and I hiked that one from the bottom in 4 1/2 hours.

And before any of this I was planning on going to Peru to hike Huayna Picchu, the peak next to the Machu Picchu ruins.  But that trip may have to wait because my girlfriend and I are talking fairly seriously about hitting up Dominica in the Caribbean, an island I zeroed in on and then was sold on the moment I realized that it boasts one of the tallest mountain peaks in the Caribbean Islands.  Morne Diablotins at 4,700 ft.  So, there will be more stories of surmounting formidable peaks.

And speaking of which, metaphoric peaks are still in the works as well.  But it's a bit slower going on those.  I'll just say for now that I'm still working at doing voice over for CNN whenever they'll throw it my way and I have plans to build up a reel with that material.  Occasionally, my voice coach will throw me an audition or two.  And as for my most recent music outlet, I'm jamming with two new friends now.  Collaborating for the first time in a very long time.

The only other bit of news I got as far as music goes is that I got a statement in the mail from Medianet, showing that The Life has been generating me royalties.  The number is so low, though, I'm not even gonna tell you how much so far.  But hey.  Gotta start somewhere.