Festival life reminder of beautiful womanhood

Barefoot in the dirt, dancing around a bonfire with my soul sisters, music, wildflowers, and lichen everywhere. This was FrogFest, the celebration of music and nature, and a true healer of the heart after a long hard year of trucking away in the grind of city life.

Festival life in the summer has become as important as seeing cherry blossoms in May and eating fresh apples in late August. It is an essential part of the Canadian music lover’s life and is a process of revival in the midst of hot and hazy summer days. So, what does it really mean to be a woman immersed in nature and music with her best friends? Why venture out into the forest to not shower for three days and commit yourself to the frenzy of festival life?

Quite simply — to free yourself.

If only for a moment, bills cease to matter and the monotony of the nine-to-five life disappears. Life becomes about the next song, the heartbeat of the vast powerful forest, and picking wildflowers because that is the most important thing you could think to do in that moment.

Millennials are living in a time of low employment opportunities, rising living costs, and an increasingly frightening world. In the wake of the impacts of climate change and a growing sense of disunity on the international stage, young people today are left to face growing challenges. But instead of giving up all hope and turning away from the world, festivals like FrogFest inspire me to believe there is a collective of individuals who want to change the world for the better.

Alongside music, sexy people, and the lush forest landscape, there were many conversations around the importance of barter, trade, and changing society from the capitalist confines that have ravaged our planet. I personally witnessed a young seven-year-old lad trade a drawing for a patch that my friend had sewn. When a young woman tripped and fell during a show, ten people were there to pick her up instead of none. The entire experience was a series of gift giving, from physical objects to spiritual offerings. Festival spaces aren’t only about getting trashed and listening to tunes. It’s about experiencing the freedom to be inspired.

It is also a place to really honour the space and power of womanhood. I was lucky enough to camp with some of my oldest and wisest women friends. To see the ladies who have loved and supported me so happy and complete reflected how much opportunity being outdoors gives us to be our full selves. It was empowering to feel attractive in my natural body, and I saw many people, myself included, who frog-hopped into meeting a special someone who made them feel even more lovely in the brief and beautiful dream world of festival life.

If you haven’t been to an outdoor weekend festival before, it is well worth it. Gather a group of your best girlfriends, bring your most colourful and beautiful possessions to share, and get ready to feel more free than any amount of therapy can offer.

Oh, and don’t forget to find a magical frog in the woods. Ribbit! Welcome home.

Here are some photos from FrogFest

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Beware: Over-sharing on social media can bring trouble

by Heather Lochner

Raise your hand if you are on Facebook or Twitter. And raise your other hand, if you make somewhat regular status updates on either site. And what about 4square? Do you check-in there and have that posted to your social media accounts?

Sure, we all like to keep friends, family, and tweeps up-to-date on what we’re doing and where we’re doing it. We post pictures, share interesting links, and broadcast our opinions and thoughts.

But step back for a moment. If you are on Facebook, is your site locked down? In other words, is your security as tight as can be or can ‘non-friends’ read and see all about you?

All too often I stumble upon a Facebook page where I can gather a ton of information on the person – their birth date, their phone number, and even they city they live in.  So imagine, if your status says “Loving life on the beach” and attached is a photo of you on holiday. Or if you are on Twitter and you say, “Family is all at the airport – we are heading out for a weeklong vacation”.

Think for a second, what did I, a total stranger, just learn about you? You just told me you are away. And yes, I may be paranoid, but I never post on Facebook or Twitter that my house is empty. I share after the fact, when I am home.

That is just a small social media tip I tend to follow.

I do use the internet and blogs for travel research. I love visiting www.tripadvisor.com to read reviews on the city I want to explore or the resort I want to stay in. I know they are people’s opinions, but so far I have not been let down by reading the comments. I also buy travel apps for my phone – ones that give me information on the destination and what’s not to be missed. And I frequently visit the site www.havebabywilltravel.com, where fabulous tips are shared on travelling with kids.

I have also used both Facebook and Twitter to find out information about destinations. Just a few months back, I asked on Twitter, “Does anyone have a recommendation on where to stay in Cuba with kids?” You would never believe the response I got. People shared and shared their favourite and not-so-favourite hot spots. I also learned that Cuba has very limited internet access (kinda nice to go black from time-to-time and not be constantly plugged in).

So, just be careful how you use social media when headed away from home. Think before you post.