Volunteering at Wanderlust Squaw Valley 2014: Day One

Five years ago, a friend of mine told me about Wanderlust Squaw Valley, a yoga and music festival in Lake Tahoe. From workshops on everything yoga to live performance art to pool parties and wine tastings, everything about the event appealed to me.

It wasn’t until a few months ago when the same friend told me she was attending Wanderlust in Squaw Valley, California this year. I signed up for the festival’s newsletter to receive more info about it and a couple days later I got an email calling for volunteers.

Immediately, I applied as a volunteer and that is how I ended up sitting here, on a deck, with a view of gorgeous pine-covered peaks and a cool breeze flowing around me, carrying with it the sounds of many joyful oms from fellow festival-goers.

My Wanderlust experience didn’t start off this enjoyable though. I arrived in Squaw Valley just in time to check in for my first volunteer shift at 1 in the afternoon, a little flustered after driving for three hours with an impending deadline and curious about what to expect.

My shift manager was nice enough to switch me from a position at the “Hydration Station,” where I would have been in direct sunlight, after explaining that my fair skin would not survive the 5 hours. Instead, I was placed underneath an awning at the base of the gondola station, which took people to the top of the mountain, where the camping site, pool and festival events were located.

Left with only a clipboard and some gondola tickets, I spent the next 5 hours standing there, gaurding this portal to “The High Place,” as the festival map named it. It wasn’t until the rain came, and then hail the size of pennies, that I started to second guess my decision to volunteer instead of simply purchasing a ticket! Sure, I got out of the sun but my so-cal flip flops and volunteer shirt were not cutting it in the Tahoe chill!

Luckily, the rain did not last too long and the weather improved dramatically, fairly quickly. A few women representing LuluLemon appeared and were checking people in for an invite-only event which the company was hosting at the pool at the top of the mountain. When my shift was over, my friend met me and we were able to attend the party, which included free food(with a few yummy vegan options!) and drinks.

And, of course, the view:
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Though my first shift had given me a semi-rough start to the volunteer experience, it had also made it possible to attend this event by putting me in the right place at the right time. I left that evening reassured, with faith in the amazing experience that was yet to come.

After the party, my friend and I made our way to the condo, which we were renting with two other women we had met on the Wanderlust forum. After meeting our new roomies, we all returned to the festival grounds to check out “Wanderlust Spectacular,” which including music and performances. The evening was magical, to say the least, and definitely set the tone for the rest of the weekend.

Having recently earned my yoga teacher certification, my primary interest in attending Wanderlust was to expand my knowledge and practice by participating in workshops and meeting other like-minded people. Read about my first day attending Wanderlust.