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Don't Fear a Solo Experience – WELL Summit

Don't Fear a Solo Experience – WELL Summit


Photo by Julienne Lesinki for Wanderlust Festival

This will be my third year attending the W.E.L.L. Summit. I know my tribe now. We’ve met before. We’ve hugged. We follow one another on the internet. It’s easy to travel to a conference or event when you know you’ll have people there you can connect with. It’s natural to want to share an experience with people you know and appreciate. That being said, I’m here to tell you that taking a chance on a new adventure, stepping outside of your comfort zone, it’s exhilarating.

The year after I had my first baby was the first year of the W.E.L.L. Summit. I wanted to go and really, I hadn’t even begun my wellness journey yet. In all honesty, I thought I was going to learn about better beauty products. Not knowing anyone who was going or anything that I’d learn, I jumped right in. It was a decision that I will never forget or regret. It set me on a new trajectory. I am more mindful than I’ve ever been before and I’m continuing to grow as a person

This year, I’m turning 35. It’s not a milestone year but I feel like I’m getting to know myself better and I just want to invest in that relationship, the one with me. As a birthday present to myself, I’m heading to Vermont in June to the Wanderlust Festival Stratton. I’m allowing myself the alone time. I’ve always wanted to go to a Wanderlust event, pined to go really. It’s been on my radar for quite sometime. As a lover of yoga, it seems like the type of physical experience that I would enjoy. They have live music. That’s something I’ve always really loved but haven’t been able to appreciate as much in recent years… but something has always kept me from going. Why? Looking at it now, I think it’s that I felt I needed people to go with me, to have a travel crew. This year, I’m done with the excuses and embarking on this new adventure. There are many great reasons to experience things with friends but there are also benefits to having that special time alone. I actually literally cannot wait.


Photo by Kylie Turley for Wanderlust Festival.

Being alone can be freeing. Looking at the schedule for Wanderlust, I can pick and choose what I want to do. I can really take a look at what resonates with me and what my soul needs without having to worry about being with friends or making compromises. I can try new things (umm, I think I’m going to try my hand at wild foraging). I can and will move at my own speed. I can journal. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve written in a journal?! The days will be what I make of them. That first W.E.L.L. Summit, I didn’t know anyone but I met people organically through the sessions I chose to attend and those that I truly believed I was meant to meet. Maybe the freedom to choose my own schedule, simply put, is what brought me to my W.E.L.L. Summit tribe. Who knows who I’ll meet at Wanderlust.

Being alone can help you reset. As a mother, it’s probably obvious that alone time can be a most coveted prize for me but you don’t need to be a parent to need a break from the norm. There’s something to be said about attending a session solo, whether it’s mindful meditation or mala making, that can really help you recharge. As someone who speaks to a toddler and infant all day long, it’s nice to have thoughts that do not revolve around my children or household duties or how much sleep I didn’t get. A reset is needed to bring you back to your center. Resetting, recharging, whatever you want to call it, get that alone time.

Being alone can help you find what matters to you. When I left that first day of that first W.E.L.L. Summit, I knew it was changing the way I thought about the world I was living in, the space that I was creating. I was introduced to meditation and also faced some truths about where I was in my life and career through a group session, almost like therapy. Will Wanderlust bring me some more a-ha moments? I think so. When you really allow yourself to become immersed in your surroundings, to accept the offerings of the experiences and the teachings, you can really find some undiscovered truths about yourself. What I love about both the W.E.L.L. Summit and Wanderlust is that they offer the opportunity to cater to what your mind might need, what your body might need or what your heart might need.


Photo by Julianne Lesinki for Wanderlust Festival

I’m so excited to see what this year’s solo treks will bring to my life. Whether it’s Wanderlust and it’s festivals or the W.E.L.L. Summit in NYC, don’t be afraid to take an adventure on your own. It can be scary but I promise you that if you open yourself up to the experience, the takeaways will be priceless.


Neal Halfon

Neal Halfon, MD, MPH is founding director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, and also directs the Child and Family Health Leadership and Training Program in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Dr. Halfon is professor of pediatrics in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; health policy and management in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health; and public policy in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Is well known for his health related publications.