Head coaches Uju and Augusto are waiting at the harbour and their energy is immediately infectious. I unpack and pause on the balcony of my wood and canvas lodge, drinking in the Adriatic. This is glamping on steroids, but if re-wilding offers style and comfort, I’ll take it.
An al fresco dinner of tuna carpaccio, grilled sea bass and mediterranean vegetables is accompanied by a symphony of cicadas and our accounts of what brings us to Obonjan. All share a desire to re-connect with nature, re-boot body and mind, and enjoy whatever the island’s summer festival has to offer. I’m in the right place as I fall asleep to lapping waves and the distant thud of a DJ set in the forest.
Rising with the sun, we start with ‘nutritious movement and locomotion’ to awaken neglected muscles and joints through basic mobility exercises. With my body more attuned, I can advance to the signature Wildfitness moves as the woodland warm-up morphs into a Noah’s Ark of prowling wildcats, crawling lizards, bouncing chimps and scuttling crabs. It’s entertaining, exhausting and great for learning efficient and elastic movement. In a second morning session we practise hand-eye coordination and footwork through a series of games before progressing to full combat technique. Soon enough, I am a flurry of limbs. My floating butterfly may have elements of flapping chicken, but I am in the zone.
Sweaty and ravenous, we are released to forage food from the kitchen buffet where we fuel up on eggs, nuts and fresh fruits. Each day follows a pattern of two substantial meals - brunch and dinner - earned and appreciated after vigorous work-outs. Intervening periods are used for relaxation and workshops to explore ‘wild movement’, ‘wild eating’ and ‘wild living’. These core pillars of Wildfitness are designed to build resilience through natural and purposeful activity, encourage fresh and nourishing food sourced sustainably from land and sea, and reconnect us with our shared environment and each other.
Moving wildly over the course of the week, I lift, hang and vault my way to a more evolutionary – and muddy – version of myself. I re-learn running technique that has slipped into the comfort of cushioned shoes and practise breathe control inspired by free-diving. I relish the bemusement of onlookers as we charge repeatedly at the harbour wall until each of has summitted to triumphant whoops of joy. And I enjoy a memorable swim across an expanse of turquoise sea to a neighbouring island where I channel my inner lizard to explore the rocky terrain. It is an exhilarating yet relaxing expedition, interrupted only when a luxury yacht nearly fails to spot our bobbing heads and panicked faces in the water.
Living wildly, I savour the natural surroundings and explore alternative wellness, healing and other practices featured at Obonjan’s festival. There are participative sessions and talks on tarot reading, the art of ‘wishcraft’, lucid dreaming and social experiments in Utopian living. My inner sceptic is frequently floored and has to recover at the holistic spa with some acupuncture and an organic facial. It is a revealing week indeed. When my outdoor massage coincides with strong offshore winds, whisking away my towel to restore me to a true state of nature, it seems wonderfully symbolic.
Eating wildly, I feel the benefits – including surprising levels of energy - offered by a plant-strong, paleo-based regime. As a tribe, we diverge from this only occasionally, as when we opt - in a gesture of cultural appreciation - for the local speciality of squid ink risotto, washed down with a Croatian merlot.
By the end of the week I am fired up and ready for more, drawing strength and motivation from the group. In a final class on ‘loaded mobility’ I achieve more extreme stretches - and expletives - than I believed I had in me. Lowered in a communal squat, held for the longest two minutes ever, I look up to see a bizarre version of the Haka taking shape as our stares intensify and thighs shake uncontrollably. On whatever is left in the tank, we must run - ‘for our lives’ and for the last time - to the highest point on the island where we bring our wild adventure to a close.
Departing against the backdrop of my last Obonjan sunset, I feel both energised and calmed. London’s summer drizzle is oddly refreshing as I enjoy some impromptu barefoot movement at my local park, seize the hanging and swinging opportunities offered by the playground (giving way to infant chimps during peak hours) and inhale the scent of fresh grass more appreciatively. I’m re-wilded and ready to roam free.
About our Blog
We write occasional pieces about our adventures, about our findings related to the Wildfitness approach, about food and we also invite others to contribute.