Life in a city can be overwhelming at times – constantly rushing from point a to b, networking, stressing over bills and career trajectories. So much so that, occasionally, I’ve let joy of the journey itself pass me by. Rather than embracing moments of down time and finding a true sense of relaxation, I have felt as if I may be falling behind if I choose to simply relax.
Stress is a vicious cyclical emotion.
Today, I am choosing to conquer it.
Bliss. Peace. Nourishment. Exploration. Contentment. Love.
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius
As a member of the Social City Networking photography team, I was given a full access 4-day pass to truly experience the festival life. And experience it I did…
From the moment the WanderTribe arrived at the Delta Whistler Village Suites, I knew it would be a completely transformational, stress-free weekend, filled with phenomenal friends, shared experiences, and love. The Saje Natural Wellness family, truly one of the most generous and warm groups of people, gifted us with a diffuser and oils to keep us all in good spirits, as well as anti-stress mists, mat cleansers and my newfound favourite product, a peppermint headache remedy roll-on. A quick spritz of their natural deodorant, and we were ready to tackle our first class, Keep Calm and Yoga On with Anita Cheung, Ashley Brodeur and Saje. (All Saje all the time!) This meditative class, filled with hands-on massage-style assists, was, in a word, AMAZING! From the souls of our feet to the crowns of our heads, it was all about finding a connection to self that would go on to set the tone for the weekend ahead.
After lunch in the village, our squad took some time to connect with each other and, before I knew it, it was time to hop on a shuttle to a secret location for a long table dinner curated by Saje. Even as I write this, I am still completely in awe of the experience: a lakeside meadow with a mountainous backdrop, a white linen table cloth with delicate floral centerpieces and rustic table settings and a pop-up cocktail bar, all canopied with magical lights overhead. The meal, a four-course zero-waste menu from Vancouver-based chefs Brian Skinner of The Acorn and Juno Kim of Juno Kim Catering, was just as exceptional. Conversation was flowing as wooden boards artfully layered with brazil nut pate, seaweed crackers, fresh cut summer vegetables and herbed coconut butter were set out family style. The appetizer, a watermelon, beet and raspberry salad with spicy greens and a kombucha vinaigrette, was fresh, bright with citrus notes, and a refreshingly light start to the meal. The meatless main, family-style grilled vegetables over a cauliflower mayonnaise with crispy shallots, was earthy, slightly smoky and texturally on point! And the dessert…WOW! I am normally very hard to please when it comes to the last course, so it truly says something when I walk away from a meal choosing to talk endlessly about it to anyone who will listen. The lemon cheesecake was smooth, rich and creamy, with a tanginess that perfectly complemented the sweetness of the seasonal berries. The rye, buckwheat and pink peppercorn crumble was a revelation (I plan on copying this at home), and I can’t resist a bit of fresh basil with anything lemon-based. Sending love to the culinary gods on that one, my friends!
By the end of day one, I was rested, rejuvenated, and ready for more!
I always look forward to Friday because it represents the end of the work-week, but this week, it represented the continuation of an amazing adventure. First up, green smoothies from The Green Mustache. Check! Then, decked out in gear from Lululemon (obviously), Mala Collective, and Silver and Sage Jewellery, we hopped on a gondola, arriving in the knick of time for a mountaintop class with legendary yogi, Eoin Finn. In the spirit of truly embracing the festival and my inner yogi, I attempted inversions I’d previously thought impossible. As my fellow Wander Tribe members can attest, I didn’t exactly nail it, but I tried and didn’t fall on anyone, so I feel pretty good about that!
On our way back down, as per usual for me, the snack-time hunger pangs kicked in, and I was so thankful to find incredible snacks and bevvies at The Kula Market to tide me over until lunch. Thank you to So Delicious and David’s Tea for preventing a serious case of the “hangries”!
After a stroll through the village, I returned to the room to transition into photo editing mode, where I was met with a very happy surprise – one of our roomies had turned on the Saje diffuser, and our room was filled with an energizing scent. A few hours later, our squad took to the cobblestone streets, following the faint sounds of guitar from the city centre. In true Wanderlust fashion, we capped off our night with an epic dance party!
By the time Saturday morning rolled around, I couldn’t believe how quickly time had flown. How do I only have two days left to pack in everything I want to do, meet all of the people I want to meet, photograph all of the magical details I’ve discovered? Well, let’s give it a shot!
I plugged my headphones into my phone, started pumping some 90s beats, and hit the trails. Ten kilometers later, I was a hot sweaty mess sprinting to The Greatest Place in the convention centre to make it to a class with DJ Drez, Amanda Giacomini and MC YOGI called Demon Slayer. I absolutely LOVED this class, and definitely appreciated the dance party (“Turn Down For What” is my jam)! After releasing my “inner badass”, the Social team stopped by The Naked Sprout to grab a late breakfast, and then we were off to The Highest Place for another class with Eoin Finn. With Tai Chi-like flowing movement as the basis of the class, I was challenged and pushed to reach a new level in my practice, and I loved every second of it. Throw in incredible views, a cool breeze, and a mountaintop photoshoot afterwards? Hello paradise!
After a trip back down the gondola we took our tired, shaking legs to two of my favourite spots in the village: Longhorns for a nacho and beer-filled birthday celebration and Sushi Village for a huge spread of high quality, sashimi-grade fish. Ahh balance!
For anyone who buys tickets (which are now available) for 2017, make sure you catch an artist playing on the stage by the Olympic Rings. Jose Gonzalez had hundreds of people swaying and dancing as the sun gave way to night.
Now, onto Sunday Funday!
You know it’s a good day, when you start with breakfast at Pure Bread. Their shelves, filled with brioche, biscuits, scones and bars, are the definition of temptation. I devoured a spinach feta muffin and a raspberry buttermilk biscuit, although I could have easily ordered and eaten about five more items. I think it’s safe to say, you now all know a major weakness of mine! From pure ecstasy to Equinox, it was time to work off everything I’d just consumed. A group of twenty looking to break a sweat gathered for a body weight tabata class led by international fitness presenter, Geoff Bagshaw, and break a sweat we did! This was just what I needed after one too many beaver tails over the weekend. After a well-deserved stretch session, we made a beeline for the orange Zip Trek tents, and made our way up the mountain in super attractive helmets and harnesses.
Donning our Tree Tribe sunglasses, we put on brave faces as we started our trek through the trees to reach our first zip line. The second my descent over the valley began, I knew I was addicted. The adrenaline, the mountain air, the views, the sense of comfort in a complete lack of control…I highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting Whistler looking for a bit of adventure in an unparalleled setting. The Eagle Tour had four more lines with short hikes in between each (or photo opps as I like to call them). Each one was ridiculously fun, but the fourth line was the most exhilarating in my books. I pushed off backwards, tucked my legs close to my torso, and let the line carry me towards the Social Squad, waiting patiently for me at the base station. Stress, be gone!
If I thought the ziplines on the Eagle Tour were adrenaline-inducing, I can only liken the Sasquatch line to being in a rocket on steroids! Reaching speeds of 130-160km/hour, Sara and I took on North America’s fastest zip line on our last day in Whistler (and lived to tell the tale). I held my Canon tight, praying my grip wouldn’t fail me, as a trusty Zip Trek guide secured my harness to the cable overhead, and instructed me to head down the ominous staircase, now only seconds away from the adventure of a lifetime. The minute and a half I spent on the line flew by, and the second it was over I immediately wanted to do it again! Speaking a mile a minute, I told everyone I could about the experience and how it’s an absolute must on any bucket list.
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
The only thing I’m truly scared of after a weekend in Wanderlust is living a life of worry. So I choose adventure, self-contentment, understanding, love.
WHAT ARE YOU CHOOSING TODAY?