Inspiration 8 Ways to Connect at a Wanderlust Festival My first Wanderlust—and the first Wanderlust—, I rolled out my mat at the back of the room, buried… By Andrea Manitsas Attend a Wanderlust Festival! My first Wanderlust—and the first Wanderlust—, I rolled out my mat at the back of the room, buried my nose deep into my notebook and hoped I’d make some yoga friends by virtue of my cute pants. Well, I didn’t. Now, a little older and a whole lot wiser, (not to mention more festival-adept), it’s clear to me, it’s all on me. I can feel alone in a crowd, introvert that I am, or I can take the great opportunity that festivals provide to connect with my brothers and sisters. Here are the ways you’ll see me meeting folks this year, and who knows, maybe I’ll find a soulmate or two and we’ll go on to create beautiful things together in this world. Camping at Wanderlands. Hotel rooms have a whole lot going for them. They’re comfy, convenient, and great for a bit of respite in otherwise craziness. They also happen to be isolating. And that damn TV. Camping will keep you out in the world cavorting with your neighbors and brushing your teeth side-by-side. And, if you’re going to camp anywhere, High Camp is certainly the place. Pool party anyone? Be seen. Arrive early to class and roll it out front and center. Don’t hide in the back or get lost in the middle. You’ll likely get some hands-on with the teacher this way, too. Introduce yourself to your neighbors. Whether it’s the folks next to your mat, your campsite, or space at the bar, say hello and strike up a conversation. Many people at Wanderlust are just as eager to connect as you are. Talking to strangers is part of the game. If social anxiety has got yours words in a twist, take a deep breath and meditate before diving. Trust us—it’ll be worth it! Bring an offering. I know someone who is lugging up her stash of tutus because she happens to have one. What do you have to share with others? Tarot, henna, homemade granola, kombucha? I’ve got the fixings for organic s’mores (yes, that’s a thing) that I’m happy to share with my neighbors. And while I’m not sure where I’m going to find a fire, I do know it will be fun figuring it out with y’all. Sign up for classes that involve partner work. Any class that has to do with inversions or assisting is going to require you teaming up with fellow ‘Lusters. AcroYoga and slacklining are also good bets to find unique opportunities for partner work. Dive in, despite your hesitation. Unplug. By God, put your phone away. Whenever you can, leave that security blanket anywhere but in your hand. Speak with the person beside you, instead of going numb into your news feed. There is no amount of likes on any selfie that will ever compare to the memories of connecting with real people. Seriously. Dance as if no one is watching you. Obviously. At the risk of sounding trite, what you put into Wanderlust (in terms of actions that either flirt with or totally obliterate your comfort zone) is surely what you will get out of this explosion of potential experiences. Let me remind you: I have squandered wonderful opportunities because I was moody or shy or stubborn or afraid, or just didn’t realize that I am the writer of my own life’s book—or at least a co-author. Making real-life connections with other Wanderlusters is what this is all about. It’s the vision of Wanderlust’s founders. Keep in mind: We are all humans just trying to connect and lead meaningful lives. Right? — Andrea Manitsas—affectionately called “Anj”—is a yoga teacher based in San Francisco and Berkeley, where her Oms resonate down the block and around the corner. She is known for a bhakti-filled class with a whole lotta soul and a fierce flow. Andrea also writes and edits. And travels—a lot. She takes her teaching on the road with yoga retreats around the warm world.