Meet Jeff Krasno, The Inspiring Man Behind Wanderlust Festival

He may be the world's chillest CEO.

wanderlust festival
Image: Instagram @wanderlustfest

You’re standing in a field, hands raised to the sky as the DJ pumps beats through the stereo. A bunch of girls with faces painted in colourful patterns dance past you. It could easily be a scene from any musical festival. But instead of fist-pumping in time to the music, you’re holding mountain pose. And instead of wearing crop tops and sipping vodka sodas, the girls are rocking yoga pants and drinking green juices. Welcome to Wanderlust.

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Most people know Wanderlust as a yoga festival. It is, but it’s also so much more. Held in amazing locations like Oahu, Hawaii and The Rocky Mountains, there’s music, art, standup paddle-boarding, hiking, mountain biking, inspiring talks and farm-to-table dining. First held in California in 2009, it’s now a worldwide event that takes place in over 10 countries.

You only have to take a look at Wanderlust’s IG account to know that it’s a magical event that deserves a spot on any bucket list. That’s why we were so psyched to have the opportunity to sit down with Jeff Krasno, one of the co-founders and CEOs of the event.

Image: jeffkrasno.com

Apart from being one of the chillest CEOs we’ve ever met, Jeff is an author, husband, father-of-three and sits on the board of Pure Edge, a non-profit organization dedicated to integrating yoga and mindfulness curriculum into the public school system. He’s also a massive healthy foodie — his cookbook, Wanderlust – Find Your True Fork — comes out this month.

Here, Sporteluxe chats to the man behind the magic.

SL: What inspired you to create Wanderlust?:

My wife. She was leading retreats in Costa Rica. Thirty people or so getting up with the sun, meditating, surfing, doing yoga, cooking local food, hanging out, having a beer or two, playing music and telling stories. We asked ourselves, “If this can work for thirty people in the rain forest of the Osa Peninsula, could it work for 4000 somewhere more accessible?” The answer was Wanderlust.

SL: What was the first step you took toward making your idea a reality?

We focused on how to create the conditions necessary for community to flourish and how to create experiences that people were passionate about.

SL: Why did you choose Wanderlust as the name?

The dictionary definition of Wanderlust is “an innate desire to explore the world.” So many of us feel this. However, mirroring this external journey is a thirst to explore ourselves — to look within to cultivate our best selves  and find our true north.

SL: What are you trying to achieve by bringing music and yoga together?

Transcendence. There is a moment where the movement of your body and the rhythm of your breath locks in with the feeling and pulse of music. That is a little glimpse of bliss.

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SL: How do you choose the locations?

Places of inspiring natural beauty that have a lot of infrastructure – lodging, food and beverage etc…Wanderlust aims to be a “zero impact” event.

SL: How do you achieve this and why is this important to you?

We’ve got to be honest with ourselves here. We’re a destination event and people travel to participate, which has a carbon footprint. That being said, there are so many things we do to try and reduce our impact, from promoting ride-sharing programs, to instituting a 3-stream waste, recycling  and compost station, working with partners that share our environmental mission, using all compostable flatware, eliminating plastic water bottles where we can, programming leaders in sustainability and many other initiatives.

SL: Are you surprised by the success of the brand and how quickly it’s grown?

It doesn’t really feel quick to me. There hasn’t really been an inflection point for the company. It’s really just been “chop wood, carry water” every day.

SL: What would you say is the best and worst part of your job?

I love watching the team evolve and grow. It’s incredibly gratifying watching the personal and career development of the team. The worst part is never being “off.” I really have no idea of what it feels like to be relaxed.

SL: What’s one thing that you do every single day?

Sweat.

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SL: How do you see Wanderlust evolving of the next few years?

I see a deepening relationship with the experts within our space and growth in digital product that provides the glue between off-line experiences.

Quick questions

First thing I do in the morning: Drink these disgusting greens that my wife makes me every day.

Last thing I do at night: Virasana.

Most people probably don’t know this about me, but: I love to play piano (poorly).

If I were a fruit or vegetable I’d be: Maybe a tomato because people don’t really know if I’m a fruit or a vegetable.

If sugar were a superfood, my diet would consist of: Chocolate with sea salt.

I never leave home without: My wedding ring.

I’m inspired by: Great speeches.

My pet peeve is: Mess.

You can find out more about Wanderlust Festival here.

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Emma Norris
A true believer in balance, Emma is just as passionate about pizza as she is about pull-ups. When she’s not writing, she loves strength training, visiting new cafes and trying out new fitness classes. Having lived in Ireland and Canada, Emma was bitten by the travel bug at a young age. She loves nothing more than visiting new destinations and experiencing different cultures. Emma grew up (and currently lives) near the beautiful Coogee Beach and is happiest when she’s near a body of water. She started her career in magazines and has recently made the exciting transition to the digital world.