2 weekends ago, I attended the RiSE festival with my hubby + the little ones. We met our dear friends there Dina + Adam (an amazing photographer, artist, inspiration) + their kiddos.
It’s a centuries-old idea that’s both simple + powerful. Thousands of lanterns, each representing a hope, a dream, a new leaf, or a forgotten wish coming together to form something beautiful. Each lantern means something unique to each individual person, but together they give a collective voice to our dreams + challenges in a beautiful display—and one unforgettable evening.
This was our first official road trip with both kids. I really want to start sharing these incredible events with them. I grew up going to festivals + parties with my mom + it gave me a sense of independence, openness + easy going energy that I really appreciate.
The RiSE festival was in the Mojave Desert so we slept at the host hotel where our shuttle left from in Vegas. Plane tickets were redic expensive a few weeks away from the event, and since we now have to pay for Kai AND Leo (so lame, he would be on my lap anyway!) we decided to drive instead of dropping $1500 on a 36 hour adventure. We packed up the car on Saturday morning + got to Vegas around 2p. We stayed at the Rio Hotel -- I do NOT recommend staying there. With kids, without kids, alone... DO. NOT. STAY. THERE. It's smokey, gross, bad energy, disgusting rooms, the list goes on. Definitely needs to be updated + kids should not be allowed to stay there because the entire lobby + casino is toxic.
Moving on. We got on the shuttle around 4p with our lovely friends. We could feel from the first 30 minutes this event was not as organized as we hoped it would be. I won't go on too much about this, but just be aware when you bring kids that you need to plan for the event to possibly go very wrong. i.e., possibly starting 2 hours late, maybe having to walk 2 miles in each direction to get to the event from the shuttles while carrying multiple bags, children, babies + yoga mats. The list goes on. Just be prepared with extra water, snacks + for sure bring a baby carrier if you have a child that can fit inside so you can have a break from holding them the whole way when they get tired from walking (and at 11p when it's finally over, they are asleep + there's another 2 mile trek down a black, lightless dirt path).
Other than the extreme mess of the logistics, the actual ceremony was hands down one of THE most stunning, beautiful, breathtaking, awe-inspiring events I've ever witnessed.
We sat on our provided yoga mats, ate our dinners (we brought ours from home since I could pack them that morning to save money and keep the kids happy) and then began to write our intentions, wishes, hopes, dreams, fears, etc on our lanterns.
We walked around with the kids, bought more water, some wine, hung with our friends, and Dina + I connected while holding our bebes in the carriers trying to help them get to sleep.
Finally, the event began. We lit our lanterns to the soundtrack of Coldplay + the magical lanterns, by the hundreds, elevated into the sky.
The most interesting thing happened (although I'm not surprised) as we began letting all the lanterns go. Kai, (who's now 4) burst into tears + could NOT stop crying. He was so incredibly sad about the letting go aspect. He thought the lanterns were so beautiful and didn't understand why we were pushing them away. He wanted to keep them all. We held him + I told him how proud I was after the experience for being honest about his feelings, requesting he always follow his heart + whatever his true feelings are. It really is, as we know, really hard to let things go. This was a great practice in holding space for intentions + then trusting that the universe has our back after we let them go. I hope I can teach this lesson to Kai through our years together.
The following morning we woke up and went to a big disgusting breakfast with our friends (think: chocolate chip pancake the size of my body) and then went outside to let the kids get the wiggles out before our long car ride back home. We really enjoyed the pool area at the Rio (one of the few things we actually liked) so we're happy we had that last experience with our friends. All the kids swam + played + laughed. It was heavenly.
SUSTAINABILITY // ENVIRONMENT
RiSE Festival is a celebration of the life, joys, dreams, hopes, + blessing of each participant. Those are all unique, but something we all share is a love for the planet. That’s why it’s our responsibility to leave no trace—and it’s a responsibility we take seriously.
RiSE Festival has a “Leave No Trace” policy. They're able to retrieve 100% of the lanterns + because each lantern is 100% biodegradable, sustainability is something RiSE achieves with every event.
Additionally, they purchase carbon offsets for every vehicle we use in the setup + cleanup of the festival. LOVE this.
TRAVEL // LOGISTICS
Next time we will pay more to stay at a nicer, non-smoke filled, more pampering hotel.
We will also fly + be sure we can purchase tickets a few months in advance so we get affordable, realistic prices.
Have you ever experienced a lantern festival like this or something similar? Hot air balloons? Please share your experience! While I was traveling in Thailand I saw a few beautiful displays like this + it's something I will never ever forget.
Have a beautiful new week, lovers!