I’ve spent the last week at Envision Festival. I went totally off the grid in the jungle of Costa Rica. When I say off-grid, I mean that I turned my phone off and closed my laptop down. Although I had over 100 unread WhatsApp messages to read when I did re-enter cyberspace, it was a well-needed break from screens so that I could connect to something else.
Envision Festival is a big party in the jungle. This year is the 10 year anniversary and bigger than ever, apparently. With about 8,000 people in attendance, three stages and about 10 workshop spaces, it was pretty big.
This is the first festival I’ve ever been to alone, which was an experience all to itself. It sparked a bit of social anxiety the first day I was there; was I going to meet anyone? Or would I walk around alone for the next 7 days and not speak to a single person? Obviously, that was silly to think. If you know me, you know I’m a little social butterfly that is never alone for long. But, the thought was still there.
In saying that, I made so many friends! It seemed that every workshop I went to lead to a beautiful new connection. And I did actually know people there as well. Valentine and Julien are two friends that I met in Gili Air at the Slow Food and Yoga Festival. So it was beautiful to see their faces again on the other side of the world at Envision. Also, I met up with Gabrielle and Johnny who I met in Pai last year.
The reason I actually got to attend Envision Festival is due to my dear friend Jon who is a member of the band Rufus Du Sol. About 10 years ago, I went to a small bar with my sister and our friends to see them play to about 40 people. Jon and I met that night and remained friends over the years. We had dinner together when I was in LA in November too, and it was so beautiful to hear about how the band has gained so much popularity.
I first looked into volunteering at Envision but found that it was more work hours and less enjoyment. So I messaged Jon, asking if since he’s super famous now, he could help me out with a ticket. He said it was absolutely no problem. So big thanks to that sweet man for making this happen for me.
Seeing Rufus Du Sol play again was amazing too. I hadn’t seen then in a few years so it was really great to reconnect to their music.
Other amazing acts there were Dirtwire who played after a big rainstorm which created a total mud tribe vibe in the crowd. Lydia Violet is an absolute powerhouse. I went to a few of her workshops as well and I now want to be her best friend. Mark Woodyard was incredible as well. He uses only looping and is just so damn talented. I met him a few days before he played and spoke to him afterwards. He’s actually just an all-round amazing person.
The workshops offered at Envision were nothing short of amazing. I found myself going to at least 4 a day, sometimes 6 or 7. I would run from one to another, doing yoga classes, acro classes, cacao ceremonies, kirtans, talks on sustainability, sexuality, manifestations and amazing dance classes.
One of the most powerful workshops was run by this absolute goddess called Rhama Dashuri which was titled “Manifest like a motherf*cker”. So, obviously, I went. She just flowed through her talk about how we need to set intentions high and go for whatever we want because we 100% deserve it! I left feeling so empowered. She has actually changed the way my thoughts talk to me in my head. The greatest thing she said was “if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not f*cking big enough,” which was my dear friend Lauren’s favourite quote. That was special.
I also had a very wonderful opportunity to play with fire. Usually on the beach at sunset, there would be a drum circle and a fire space that I got involved with. But it was a little hard to whip my dragon staff around my body as I was always so sweaty.
I ran into a lovely friend Christina here one night. We met in Oakland a few months ago at a fire jam there and she was performing at Envision. She asked me if I wanted to join her in performing. So one night I got to go on stage next to a DJ and perform. There were about 3,000 people in the crowd and it was absolutely electric. I wore some tiny little hot pants and got very sassy with it.
It’s definitely sparked my interest in performing more on stage with fire. Let’s see what develops there.
Some difficult things
Although the festival was amazing, there were a few things that I found less nice about the whole thing. First, was the amount of money that someone was making from the whole thing. Costa Rica is an expensive country, I know that. There is a lot of eco-tourism here which means that things cost more. And that’s fine. But everything inside the festival was about Australian prices. I heard as well that you could hire a private cabana beside the main stage for $20,000 US for the week, and that’s not even where you sleep.
For me, it just didn’t add up somehow. Everyone there was all about open hearts and minds, and sustainability, eco-friendly living. But almost everyone there took a plane to get there as most attendees were from the United States. The amount of trash and plastic sitting around at the end of the festival was crazy. And there were no stalls inside the festival that were run by locals. The locals set up on the beach outside the festival, but the organisers said there were no stalls on the beach this year.
I just felt that there may have been someone up the top making a shit-tonne of money from the whole endeavour and putting a “conscious community” sticker over the top of it so that no one would notice.
The shower I had after 8 days in the jungle, was blissful. I stood under that running, freshwater for about 20 minutes and scrubbed myself clean.
After two days of recovery which included the beach, eating a lot of food and sleeping in a real bed, I depart Costa Rica today. I’m first flying to LA for just two days to see some friends. Then, it’s a long plane ride all the way back to Australia.
I’ve decided to go home for a while, and there are a few reasons that surround this choice. The first is that I have totally run out of money. I understand that money guides us where we need to go, and this is a big sign to go home. I miss my family. It’s now been two years since I lived in Australia and I want to spend some time with them all. On that note too, I’m bloody exhausted and want to unpack. There are a few things I want to get done this year, a few dreams to tick off the list, and for that, I need to go and make a plan in the comfort of my home. Also, there’s Confest coming up again and I want to reconnect to my tribe there.
What to expect at home
Going home has some association with failure in the traveller community. I’m not sure why, but it sometimes feels like that unless you can go and stay overseas, there’s this idea that you didn’t make it, that you couldn’t do it. But no, I did do it. I’ve been doing it for two years now and although the choice is a hard one to make, I’m really bloody proud of myself for making it.
I’m excited to be taken care of again by my Mum and Dad and Robbie. Also sleeping in my big, warm, comfortable bed. And doing some internal work with healing some things that have happened over the last two years. This includes my left ankle which is still giving me some issues after three months. (Dancing all night in the mud definitely didn’t help matters).
On to the next adventure then, this time looking very different from little islands and sunsets.