It’s Saturday morning. After a massive week of planning a disaster recovery activity at work with no available systems to print nearly 12 Million Newspapers, it’s an understatement to say I am exhausted. And then my alarm goes off at 5:55am. Can someone remind me why I am getting up so early? It’s festival time: Wanderlust Festival at Cockatoo Island time to be quite exact.
MEDITATION, YOGA, SPEAKEASY
A full day of meditation, yoga, motivational speakers, workshops and live music. Booked months in advance with great anticipation and the day is here. There is no backing out – it’s showing up time and making the most of the day hoping for divine presence by ‘moi’. It’s going to be tough and boy it’s particularly hard to get moving this morning.
The ferry ride alone is an adventure: I don’t own a Sydney public transport card called ‘Opal’ and unfortunately there are no friendly faces greeting me at the ticket office either. They are closed (too early for anything, really). The ticket machine is out of order. My ferry waiting to depart in 4 minutes. So I panic and with my massive day pack and heavy duty yoga mat I start running to the next ferry terminal hoping for a ticket purchase.
OK, I’ve got my ticket. Getting almost stuck through the gates I rush onto the ferry only to be greeted by fellow ‘Wanderlusters’ in their yoga outfits. It seems like I am on the right ferry. And off we go… somehow I am instantly feeling at ease. That rush of adrenalin slowly settling down into a feeling that says: ‘Just be present today and you will have a great time’. ”
If you’ve never been to Cockatoo Island I highly recommend it – amazing place that has a lot of history. Mind you I’ve never been before today (loud belly laughs inserted). So you can just imagine how lost I felt upon arrival. All these questions of: where do I register, where is my first class, do I follow the crowd, where is my ticket, gee, this bag is heavy (I’ve got my Canon DSLR in there with 2 liters of water).
My friend is on a later ferry so I need to do all the navigating myself. “Just breathe and follow your intuition” – I comfort myself. 15 minutes and a long registration line later I’ve got a fancy purple bracelet that says ‘Wanderlust’. I guess I am good to go…
I find the Quiet Place on top of the hill with a magnificent view of the city which is where my meditation class is getting underway. The session named ‘The Essence of Meditation’ is held by Buddhist Guru Swami Govindananda who delivers one of the most beautiful guided meditations I’ve ever been to.
My friend arrives about 5 minutes into the session and I feel like I can truly relax now… Ahhhhh, a big sigh.
An hour later I am feeling alive, invigorated, excited, present and ready to take on the day. We embark on a little discovery of stalls, venues and get into the groove with the crew from ‘Morning Gloryville’. Sparkles, tutus, head pieces, fairy dust, night club style music and palpable energy so early in the morning – I can’t say I’ve ever experienced that before but it was cool…
LOLA BERRY SPEAKEASY
Speaking about energy: I rock up to the Speakeasy venue in the old convict quarter and who is greeting me at the door if not the super inspiring Lola Berry. Also the speaker of my next event: ‘Living your Dharma (Bliss)’. Have you ever experienced this feeling of knowing someone who you’ve watched and cheered for from afar eventhough you have never met them before in person? Well, it does happen to me quite a lot and let me tell you the next thing I hear is me talking to Lola like she is my next door neighbour. No inhibitions, I even ask for permission to photograph her… Boom shakalaka, I am on cloud nine now anticipating her talk. Mind you, she is totally playing along like we’ve met in our previous lives or something and being a warm, kind and stunning human being. Just like I’ve ever imagined her to be in person. Lola, you’ve got some rocking vibes. Love your energy and what you’ve done to mine…
After an hour of ‘Lola Berry’ bliss, you could’ve asked me to do anything for you and I believe I would’ve done it. (smiles inserted)
VIOLET GRAY WORKSHOP
My friend in the meantime is off at a workshop so I end up walking around the island. I discover the ‘dome’ where Lululemon set up shop so I wonder inside and to my surprise I stumble upon the only vendor I was excited to leave my money with: the gorgeous jewellery brand ‘Violet Gray’. I photograph the jewellery making session and can’t help but start a conversation. It so happens that I do that with one of the gorgeous owners, Franny. At the end of it I feel like hugging her so I do (insert a huge smile here).
Next stop: the old sandstone building that now serves as a museum. There is food, coffee and wait, a familiar face or two, or three, actually hold on four. OMG, these are the guys from my yoga studio, InYoga. The owners and a couple of the yoga teachers…
YOGA WITH MY MELANIE MCLAUGHLIN
It’s funny how you get a rush of adrenaline when you are at a new place and run into someone you ‘sort of know’. Nicole Walsh was teaching yoga and Rod Galbraith meditating in the room. I have such respect for both of these individuals – what they have created at my local Surry Hills yoga studio is nothing short of magic. An amazing warehouse converted space with the nicest floor boards (important) you will ever see, zen energy and the most knowledgeable and kind yoga teachers I’ve ever had the pleasure doing yoga with. A true community hence I opted to become a member.
My next class: ‘Flying Dragon to Sleeping Swan’ with Melanie McLaughlin. I place my mat on the ground in this rather overcrowded tiny space, get settled and then look around to observe. Lola Berry is right next to me setting up so we have another chat (insert huge smile again). Amazing class – I am secretly wishing this sort of a yoga was available at my local yoga studio. Then I have a chat with Mel after class only to learn that she will be joining InYoga in a few weeks. Another ‘boom shakalaka moment’… A.m.a.z.i.n.g!
I thought to myself – this day can not get any better and I was proven wrong, a.g.a.i.n! After a gorgeous relax and lunch with my friend we’ve ended up attending this fully booked speakeasy event called ‘Be the artist of your life’ with Pete Longworth. Photographer, presenter and visual artist. Wow, someone who is truly living their dream talking about the importance of awareness, mindfulness, divine presence, living in the now, sharing his photography genius and concept of what we see effects how we feel. I laughed, I cried, I fell into deep thought, I was seeing with different eyes, I hugged my friend spontaneously and came out of that talk with an inspiration like no other. As someone who’s got such passion for visual story telling I’ve left with a perspective I am grateful for.
At this time it’s almost 5pm and we are craving some relaxation time. We set up on the grass and listen to some great live music. Acrobatic yoga peeps performing in the corner and we find great enjoyment admiring them. It’s time for some food, smoothies and a friendly chat. We are both richer by an experience we will never forget.
Thank you Wanderlust – how I can ever repay what I’ve received? I head back into the city on the 8pm ferry and my friend stays on grooving with the crowd late into the night.
As I wait for my train at Circular Quay, Sydney puts on yet another show. I mean, what city has fireworks for 15 minutes every Saturday? We live in a pretty amazing place. You can wake up in the morning, jump on a ferry, immerse yourself into a once in a lifetime experience on an island in Sydney Harbour with international yoga teachers, speakers and entertainers, and still be back home in your own bed at the end of the day.
I honestly can’t even find the words to express my deepest gratitude. So for now a big T.h.a.n.k Y.o.u will have to do. Can’t wait for next year.
Lots of love,
SIDE HUSTLE TO FREEDOM
and find out how I turned my side hustle
into my main business.