T R A V E L & L I F E S T Y L E

Archive for enero, 2016

5 Psychological Benefits Of Festivaling Abroad

For many, embarking on a festival adventure, whether alone or with a squad, is akin to taking a vacation. Festivals often peel away the layer of reality that lays between the core of who we are and the person we hope to be. They can help us look within and question who we are in the grand scheme of life. And while most of us opt for in-state or regional festivals, there’s a lot to be said about traveling to far-flung locales for even more eye-opening fest experiences.

Several cultures actually encourage or even mandate pilgrimages as tenets of their communal codes. Some Native American tribes obliged their young members to go on vision quests to find their life’s purpose; Islam requires making the Hajj to be considered a full-fledged Muslim, and many churches require missionary work in far-off places as a contribution to their communities. The common thinking of the day holds that money comes and goes but experiences are forever. In fact, the psychological benefits of traveling have been widely discussed and, coupled with the liberating nature of festival environments, there’s a ton of personal growth to be had when you leave home behind.

Here are five of our favorite ways festivaling abroad can help you flourish.

It’s Easier to Overcome Cultural Misconceptions

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Dancing at Quest Festival in Vietnam. Photo by: Linka Odom

In societies that are rife with stereotypes and Manichean judgments, it’s easy to ascribe labels to groups of people and fall into an “us vs. them” mentality. By putting different cultures into boxes, one might never be able to open one’s mind to new and different ways of life. Festivals can address these issues directly by serving as large-scale melting pots in which all kinds of people gather together for a shared experience. Traveling abroad for a festival takes this a step further, because being transported from what’s familiar forces a person to exit his or her comfort zone and rely on the kindness of strangers to accomplish even the simplest tasks. Take the example of backpacking to Envision Festival in Costa Rica, or making it all the way to Wonderfruit in Pattaya, Thailand, which isn’t an easy journey from the country’s capital of Bangkok. Once away from the routines of daily life, it becomes easier to shed preconceived notions and form new opinions based on real-life experience.

It Can Spark Creativity

Simonocallaghanafrikaburn 14Participants at South Africa’s Afrikaburn. Photo by: Simon O’Callaghan

There’s something about the creativity that gushes out of the festival scene; the art, reverence for tradition, spirit of expression, freedom to lose oneself in the moment all permeate the veil of routines we seek to escape. At festivals all over the globe, people contribute dazzling paintings, colossal sculptures, heart-rending photography, whimsical words, arresting dance performances, or music – all with the hopes of expressing what makes them unique and finding others with whom to connect. The exposure to both kindred spirits and different ways of life allow deeper learning experiences to take place.

The experience of watching barren landscapes or otherwise normal city streets transform into a festival in full swing is also powerful to witness, like the explosions of color during Holi or the 24/7 street parties of Rio Carnival – there’s no way to not get swept up in the excitement. Festivals like Lucidity and Lightning In a Bottleare offering early arrival this year and onsite learning experiences to enrich their events and spark the creativity needed to ignite the passions of their attendees.

You’ll Experience Elevated Openness

Holi 2015 Tinka Kalajzi Faces Of Holi 13A scene from India’s Holi. Photo by: Tinka Kalajzic

Once past the initial culture shock of traveling in a foreign land, we instinctively search for the similar – but when we don’t find any vestiges of home, our persistence turns to a sense of wonder and curiosity that often leads us to turn to the locals for help. Genuine compassion may not be something you expect to encounter on the road, but that just may be what makes the experience of trusting someone else in an unfamiliar place so eye-popping. Not everyone is comfortable putting themselves “out there” in a normal setting, but on the road, directions, tips, and the occasional helping hand are crucial to make it through the journey. Relying on the kindness of strangers isn’t an easy. It takes an open heart, a brave mind and an authentic faith in the goodness of other humans.

You’ll Witness Community

Up Helly Aa Andrew Shearer 10Viking warriors participating in Up Helly Aa. Photo by: Andrew J Shearer

Every festival has a community attached to it. Bonnaroo has its Bonnaroovians. Electric Daisy Carnival has its“headliners,” Burning Man has its burners, and let’s not forget the ShipFam. Even the cowboys of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and vikings of Up Helly Aa are tight-knit groups. In each community, a kinship gels among those who share the experience. Seeing how people come together at these events is particularly fascinating, for simply bearing witness to the feel-good gestures and random acts of kindness shared within the community can have a profound impact. For many, this is the secret sauce that makes traveling to a festival a truly transformative experience that can change our worldview and help us grow.

You’ll Gain a Strengthened Sense of Self

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Lighting a lantern at Yi Peng in Thailand. Photo by: Emily Ward

For many, festivals challenge the idea that life is meant to be lived in a cubicle, on a schedule, toiling away for the benefit of someone else. Without the lifeline of parental figures or the security blanket of a social support network, traveling to a festival requires that one learn to make his or her own path. That self reliance, in turn, builds confidence and inner strength of character. Who knows? Maybe this newfound courage can propel you to participate in the special traditions practiced at cultural festivals around the world, like running with the bulls during Spain’s Fiesta de San Fermín, or lighting a lantern at Thailand’s Yi Peng and Loy Krathong lantern fest. Breaking habits and escaping routine also elicits an appetite for the extraordinary while encouraging us to realize our dreams.

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How To Find Your Friends At A Festival

Doing a festival as a crew, camp or tribe enhances the experience and strengthens your friendships. But part of what makes the festival environment so great can also make it hard to keep track of your people. Instead of wandering blindly, plan ahead with some of these helpful tips.

Do: Choose a landmark as a meeting spot.

Governor's Ball 2014 Art Gimbel 20

Photo from Governors Ball by: Art Gimbel.

A large, easily identifiable landmark is key for keeping track of your friends. If you’re at a camping festival, find your nearest landmark before you start exploring so you don’t get lost trying to get home.

Don’t: Choose a landmark that moves.

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Coachella Astronaut .gif by Anthony Samaniego

Overheard at Coachella: “Everyone’s trying to meet up at the astronaut ‘cause they don’t know that it moves!”

Do: Carry a creative beacon so you’re easy to find.

Electric Daisy Carnival 2014 Art Gimbel Totems Hero

Photo from Electric Daisy Carnival by: Art Gimbel

From flags at Jazz Fest, to hilarious cutouts at EDC, to glowing ragesticks at Symbiosis, having a totem for your crew is a great way to meet up, show your creativity and identify your tribe. Check out some of the best totems we saw at EDC this year.

Don’t: Block everyone’s view of the stage.

Glastonbury Paula Bailey Too Many Flags

Photo from Glastonbury by Paula Bailey Creative Commons

You’re carrying a huge brightly colored object. Be considerate.

Do: Use coordinated costumes for big groups.

Burning Man 2013 Eric Limon Photography Bee Charge

bEEcHARGE!!! at Burning Man 2014 by Eric Limon Photography .

bEEcHARGE!!! is a clever Burning Man theme camp. Not only are the glowing bees identifiable in their black and yellow outfits with antennae and wings, they move from place to place as a buzzing, swarming hive.

Don’t: Rely on coordinated costumes at SantaCon.

Santa Con Jamie In Bytown Httpflic.Krpi36rv5

SantaCon by Jamie McCaffrey Creative Commons.

“Have you seen my friends? They’re wearing red and a few of them have big white beards.”

Do: Use helpful apps BEFORE the festival.

Burner Map


In addition to the official festival apps, there are some excellent resources to check out before you get into the festival. If you’re going to Burning Man, check out BurnerMap. It shows you where your Facebook friends are camping and it’s also a fun way to find out that an old friend is a burner. FestEvo, a new app from The Festival Guy, gives you a list of your friends that are going to a particular festival so you always have people to go with.

Don’t: Use your phone at the festival.

Secret Garden Party 2013 Chris Beckett Cellphone Https:Www.Flickr.Com:Photos:Chrisjohnbeckett:14266761549

Secret Garden Party by Chris Beckett Creative Commons.

Aside from the frustration of trying to find service, your phone is a portal to the outside world. Do you really want to step out of a righteous paint war just to scan your newsfeed?

Don’t: Spend the festival herding cats.


Cat Herder by EDS.

You may want to spend every moment mobbing in a giant crew but some people just want to lag, drift off or run away. Let the curious kittens go early so the rest of the group doesn’t burn out waiting around for them. Soldier on with your most engaged comrades and you’ll move effortlessly through the day’s (or night’s) adventures.

Do: Embrace serendipity.

Wakarusa 2014 Stephen Ironside 05

Wakarusa by Stephen Ironside.

In spite of your best efforts, you may become separated from your group, and that’s not a bad thing! Sometimes a solo adventure is what you really needed all along. Fear not, the festival will open up for you! You may bump into an old friend or meet a new one. Check out our how-to for tips on making new friends when you’re festing alone.

How do you keep your crew together at a festival?

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