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Wanderlust’s Wellspring: Transformative

Editorial by Lauren Del Sarto
Photo by Melissa Gayle for Wanderlust Festival

Transformative. It’s the word I’ve heard most from those who attended Wellspring, the mind-body-spirit think tank produced by Wanderlust and held at the Palm Springs Convention Center last October. With over 150 influential speakers, yoga, meditation and fitness classes, and an array of spaces to experience products and practices, the event was overwhelmingly wonderful.

Wanderlust’s mission is to help us cultivate our best selves and the many opportunities to grow were summarized as Practice. Think. Sweat. Restore.

“Food isn’t like medicine, it is medicine.”
– Mark Hyman, MD (Photo by Alexandre Souetre for Wanderlust Festival.)

“The most exciting thing for us,” said Wanderlust CEO and Co-Founder Sean Hoess, “was that the very concept of the event, redefining wellness to include social wellness (relationships, social change) and global wellness (environmentalism, global health), resonated with our audience. Attendees were ready to learn and practice for their own wellness, and then take larger ideas back to their community to help others.”

There were too many highlights to name, and everyone took away something different. I enjoyed Making of a Modern Elder author Chip Conley, who told us “curiosity plus passion gets rid of wrinkles” and Bulletproof’s Dave Asprey, who said he’d live to be 180. “Here’s to attention, intention, and incorporating this knowledge and shift into my every day,” said Greater Palm Springs CVB’s Donna Sturgeon, while DAP’s David Brinkman summed it up as phenomenal. 

Attendees chose from a variety of yoga, meditation and fitness classes. (Photo by Melissa Gayle for Wanderlust Festival.)

There were a few things I was skeptical about in the lead-up to the event, but Wellspring exceeded my expectations in every way. The first was the indoor location as Wanderlust festivals are standardly outside, but the convention center could not have been a better place ; every room offered a different experience.

Another anomaly was keynote speaker Russell Brand (not really the face of health), but WOW, did he deliver an entertaining and heartfelt presentation. Through laughter and lunacy he inspired us all with his journey and struggles, many shared by those in attendance. He even sat on the side of the stage and invited those asking questions to join him, delivering ardent answers and garnering respect from even the most skeptic.

Bulletproof’s vibe plate and oxygen bar were of the many wellness products to experience in the expo. (Photo by Ryan Neddeu for Wanderlust Festival.)

Then, with so many options, how could you cover the event in just three days? While the conversation was global, the experience was very personal. Each attendee selected what they wanted in advance with a straightforward app that allowed for last minute changes or wait listing for full classes (not many were turned away). Any free time could be spent in the expo recharging at the Bulletproof oxygen bar, sampling kombucha and chewable vitamins, or getting a nutritional IV.

Third was the cost. At $945, the ticket price seemed out of reach for the anticipated 5,000, but the event delivered far beyond any conference or mindshare summit I’ve ever attended, and according to producers, attendance was 4,900. Many were from the wellness industry, while others were simply investing in their personal health. People came from as far away as Japan, Sweden, Brazil, Australia, and Hawaii.

Implementation and attendance were exceptional for a first-time event, and the Wanderlust team feels they can do even better. “We’re looking at ways to reduce the price, as we want to make sure the event can attract a large and diverse audience. We’d also like to find more ways to integrate the event into Palm Springs, both for physical activities like runs, hikes, and treatments and in reaching out to the many amazing restaurants for collaborations,” says Hoess.

Wellspring will return to Palm Springs in the fall so those who didn’t get a chance to experience it can do so this year. “Palm Springs was the perfect venue for the event, and the amount of feedback we got from attendees about the town itself — its food, its natural beauty, and the great people — was overwhelming.  It’s our dream to grow Wellspring into something that directly involves the entire downtown area and exposes our guests to all that Greater Palm Springs has to offer!”

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