Last weekend I traveled out to the Arizona desert together with my partner in #PRSNT adventure retreats, Chanelle Sladics. We are both curious and passionate about health and wellness and are always seeking to expand our knowledge and develop our tools. Therefore, we were both thrilled and honored to be invited to #REVITALIZE, an exclusive health & wellness retreat hosted by - one of the biggest online health & wellness platforms in the world.

The beautiful Ritz Carlton hotel & spa, located in the vast outland near Tuscan, AZ, was ready to hold space for over 200 leading health experts and influential thought-leaders. The goal of the event; to come together, cultivate and share progressive, bright ideas & revitalize the way we think about human and planetary health and wellness.

I hit the road with an adventurous and open mind, ready to learn & immerse myself with inspiring, mindful leaders. I am pleased to take you on this “recap adventure” of my experience and I hope you enjoy looking #throughmylenses.

Photos by Chanelle Sladics (@chanellesladics| words by Kjersti Buaas (@kjerstibuaas)











I opened my eyes and saw the sun illuminating the pokey, prickly cactus landscape outside our hotel window. A deep breathe in filled my lungs with gratitude. Actors, doctors, yogis, athletes, bloggers, meditation guides and nutritionists flocking towards the performance dome with their yoga mats under their arms, grabbed my attention. Humans with access to big platforms and world stages had committed to come together with a “we-mindset”, to share, to inspire and learn and to bring progressive ideas to the world. I got up from my seated meditation (I use a pillow that also acts as my sleeping and travel pillow) and reached my arms towards the ceiling. Then I let them fall down towards the floor. “Ahhhhh” - the air pushing out was warm and soft and I felt a deep sense of connectedness rushing through my body. To myself, to nature and to the community that had gathered out here in the desert.



The big, white, dome-shaped tent was hot, foggy and filled with an energy that can only be created from when 100 people breath consciously together for 45 minutes. I walked up to thank Brian Mackenzie; athlete and co-founder of XPT; breathing techniques to optimize human potential and performance, and it felt like every little cell in my body was buzzing. Through my athletic career, as an avid free diver and a student of meditation, I am fairly tuned in with how I can to utilize my breath to channel a PRSNT mindset, distribute energy, focus, calm fear and enhance my performance. Yet, the XPT breath work definitely introduced me to new ideas and took me deeper into the world of performance breathing. We live in such fast-paced, noisy, environments, so I don’t only find conscious breath work and meditation important for performance and athletes. Creating stillness to go within, calm down and to tune in, helps us stay more connected to our whole being. Hidden in this relationship resides a divine power and awareness, elemental to unlocking the unique and unyielding potential of personal strength living in all of us.


As the weekend continued we immersed ourselves deep in the practice of mindful movement, with yoga, meditation, and togetherness.

Amazing food experiences (a lot of plant-based options, well-sourced ingredients and everything on the menu was gluten-free and delicious) workshops around entrepreneurship and opportunities to get running assessments, reiki healing and ear acupuncture was also on the agenda.


A delicate blend of flow, balance, strength, and alignment happened during @caleyayssa ´s yoga class. She introduced new postures that challenged and supported my body, mind, and spirit, accompanied with a really good playlist. And off course, we ended with laughter and smiles



We headed towards the revitalize stage, sipping on our green superfood smoothies, and felt the buzz of progressiveness fill the space. Talks, live interviews and forward-thinking discussions about healthy eating, mindful movement, sustainability, and spirituality was about to go down.

The opening speech was presented by Hill Harper, the actor who passionately reminded us that “what scares us the most, is also our holy key”. We should find this key and fuel our intrinsic passion, do what we love and use our time on earth to support collective community. By expanding our circle of care to include more people (even people that are complete strangers to us) we will find that we are supporting the bigger picture. He finished the talk off by bringing his newly adopted son onto the stage, leaving the most masculine men in the audience teary-eyed.


The audience were drying off tears and sharing hugs as an expert panel of doctors and nutritionists took on the stage. We were invited to dive deeper into the human microbiome and they explained that basically, our guts are little eco-systems who needs similar care as a garden. They had me at “garden” as truly connect with the concept of nature being my guide and I love gardening.  I studied permaculture on the Big Island of Hawaii back in 2013 and have my permaculture design certificate. I often translate the principles and philosophies from this natural way of working with the land, onto other compartments of my life.

Our bodies are miracle workers and always seek to heal. Providing good soil and a happy environment for growth is elemental to a life of health and longevity. By resetting (weeding out bad bacteria) & rebuilding our gut flora with good bacteria (soil) we can get our internal gardens in order.

The conversations continued with topics like thyroid issues, “leaky gut” and fasting. I had heard and read about these before, but the shocking news is that that these experts claim that almost all of us suffer from one or the other, or all of them. I don’t have any big signs or symptoms of poor health that I can see or feel, and I pay a lot of attention to what I put in my body and how I exercise, so hearing this came with a slap to my ego. With that said, an elemental reason why I went to this event was to challenge my self, to learn from progressive professionals (that knows way more than I do) and to take home new tools and knowledge.


Ironically, as the delicious lunch was settling in my stomach the discussion hovered around fasting and specifically intermittent fasting. A 12-14 hour window of IF each day is proven to support good brain health. This break from eating increases blood flow to the brain and gives us an opportunity to flush out toxins from the brain. The intermittent fasting structure suggests finishing your last meal 4 hours before bedtime, to prevent our bodies from “stealing” the energy and blood flow when we sleep. Then, 12-14 hours later you break fast aka breakfast :) This seems kind of hard to do, even in theory, as I sometimes don’t eat dinner before 8pm and my travel schedule is quite unpredictable. As the next speaker entered the stage, I was still pondering on how realistic I could be about successfully integrating any of this into my daily life. I figured I would at least give it a try as soon as I returned home.


Breakfast at the Ritz Carlton in Arizona was worth breaking fast for :)

Breakfast at the Ritz Carlton in Arizona was worth breaking fast for :)

Lisa, a slim and fit looking yogi was passionately sharing her story about how she thought she was living a healthy lifestyle. She was eating consciously, spent a lot of time educating herself on the newest health topics and exercised often In front of an engaged crowd of health and wellness experts, she told us how she had neglected to see any doctors for a long time, simply because she didn’t believe in the system. The crowd was nodding, as most of us certainly do not connect with the approach of traditional medicine, where you eat a pill to get rid of a symptom or a disease in the body. Yet, our confidence shrunk as we learned how her wellness had become her illness and she was diagnosed with cancer. Her story opened my mind and made me rethink the way I am looking at “health” and healthy living. I still believe that we need to take responsibility for our own health, but I want to seek out a team of doctors (holistic that is) who specializes in functional medicine (look for the root cause instead of chasing after symptoms) I have a better understanding of the importance of having a balance between what we do ourselves with the tools we have, and getting regular check-ups, tests and diagnostics. My next move is to take a gut test and follow up with a cleanse. I want to find out more about what is actually happening inside my eco-system, rebuild and restore my gut with good bacteria. After all, to have real guts is to be able to let go of past belief systems and open up for new ideas and ways of life.



My favorite talk the whole weekend was by Paul Hawken, an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and author, who at age 20 (now 60 +) dedicated his life to sustainability and changing the relationship between business and the environment. He spoke about his non-profit organization Project Drawdown who is dedicated to researching when and how global warming can be reversed. The organization maps and models the scaling of one hundred substantive technological, social, and ecological solutions to global warming. His presentation had our kombucha drinking spirits in ahhhh as we learned about how marine permaculture, educating women and feeding cows seaweed (basically because it makes them release (yes fart) less CO2) is on top of the list to reverse global warming right now. The research is analyzed based on math and peer-reviewed science, not opinions or beliefs, like in the past. It has made the climate change conversation transparent and available for anyone to understand. For each solution, they describe its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works. The goal of the research that informs Drawdown is to determine if they can reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within thirty years. To learn more visit -

Paul finished his talk a with stating that reversing climate change is about coming home. His team, his passion, his dedication and his humble and approachable “self” ended up awarding him the prestigious avocado trophy (yes it was a trophy shaped as an avocado) at the end of the night. 



I’m leaving Arizona and the desert with more tools, knowledge and also questions than when I got here. I guess that means growth. Thank you for following my adventures - hope you enjoyed looking #THROUGHMYLENSES

I’m leaving Arizona and the desert with more tools, knowledge and also questions than when I got here. I guess that means growth. Thank you for following my adventures - hope you enjoyed looking #THROUGHMYLENSES

After dark we let the sounds of the desert take us into the deep pockets of our souls, expanding our vision to see beyond our selfs. As I gazed at the stars up in the dark night sky, I got a strong reassurance that we are here to support each other and that we are all leaders and guiding lights. We often think that we don’t have an impact on or affect the people around us, but the truth is that we are inspiring each other more than we think are, most likely when we least expect it. The time is now to embrace our most authentic self, to step into the fullness of our beings and to follow what our hearts are communicating to us. It is your time to #FINDYOURZEAL.