Nothing about my engagement has been traditional (read about our relationship here), so the idea of a traditional bridal shower didn’t thrill me. We already have a fully-equipped home, and have been practicing our version of minimalism for the past five years, so I wanted no gifts. What I did want was to spend time with the wise and strong women in my life.
As yoga enthusiasts, my sister-in-law and I had been talking about attending Wanderlust Yoga Festival for a few years; when we found out it was coming to Tampa this Fall, I just knew this would be a great opportunity to get my tribe together and celebrate loooove. Then D.Still, one of the festival’s sponsors, reached out to partner with me for the event, and it just felt like it all fell into place!
Here are some reasons why I loved my ‘alternative’ bridal shower, and why you should consider it too:
Wan·der·lust: A strong desire to travel. I have been writing about this a lot lately: not every adventure needs to include a pricey plane ticket to an exotic faraway country. Maybe you’re not financially ready or feel anxious about taking a big travel leap. There are many creative ways to have new experiences and find fulfillment nearby! Wanderlust festivals happen all over the country, and depending on your budget, you could do either a four-day yoga festival/retreat, with instructors, musicians, speakers, and chefs (which I still want to attend one day!) or a single-day festival, Wanderlust 108.
2. Bonding Life Experiences
Wanderlust 108 combines three mindful activities—running, yoga, and meditation—in your local park. Here in Tampa, it happened at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. I was so excited that so many of my gals could attend! To be honest, none of us are runners, so we walked part of the 5K, while warming up and catching up with one another. (Some of them traveled from out of town!) We were excited for the yoga portion, which was led by badass yogi Chelsey Korus. She left me with my new favorite mindfulness mantra:
“Now it’s like this.”
Ninety minutes of yoga under the hot Florida sun was intense, so we did what we could. Next came the 30 minutes of meditation led by Noah Levine of AgainsttheStream.org. Again, it was challenging to focus and be still because of the heat, but I learned a great deal from hearing him speak.
3. Less stuff
You might be sick of hearing about minimalism by now, but the idea that “less is more” has been so valuable in my life. Within the last five years we’ve had five big moves, have downsized, donated, sold, and traded so many of our belongings. We already own a fully-equipped modest-sized home together, so we don’t need (nor can we store) more things. I loved that my girls could have a unique experience for the same amount of money a gift would cost.
4. Giving Back
Wanderlust 108 will donate $1.08 of each ticket sold in 2017 to the Tampa Bay Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. This fund provides a trusted and reliable way to make tax-deductible donations to local storm recovery efforts. D.Still, a Seattle-based new line of active, reusable water bottles and thermal containers, also donates a portion from each purchase to Water.org (a non-profit that provides people around the world with access to safe water and sanitation).
5. The Environment
Speaking of reusable bottles, the festival provided hydration stations where everyone could refill theirs for free. There were composting and recycling bins throughout the park, and we could bring our own food. Some of the vendors even distributed recycled paper cartons with seeds for us to plant!
Overall I had a great time but if you are going to attend such a festival, do consider the weather. Early fall in Florida means 90 degrees and high humidity. It would perhaps make more sense for the Tampa festival to happen during the cooler months, or at least to provide more shaded areas. We had our sunglasses, sunscreen, and water, but the heat was so intense that we didn’t even feel like taking workshops. We left feeling exhausted but also recharged, grounded, and inspired by the energy from our local community. It was beyond cool to be a part of this event, and to know there are so many like-minded people in the Tampa Bay area.
“Wanderlust’s mission is to help you find your true north, and that’s a journey that’s best shared with friends.”