The Guest House

Namaste people!

Living in Dharamshala and with a lack of consistent wifi, both a blessing and a curse, has given me lots o’ time to sit outside, take in my surroundings and think. For those of you that don’t know, Dharamshala sits at the foot of the Himalayas and let me tell you, it is so damn serene and peaceful here. Home to the Dalai Lama and more than enough meditation, yoga and retreat centers, I can now understand why people come here. With all this time on my hands and a severe bout of jet lag, I’ve been feeling awfully reflective so here I am sharing that with all of you.

My job has given me so many opportunities to meet wonderful souls here in this world and yesterday I was lucky enough to meet another who shared a poem with me that I want to continue to pass along. It’s called The Guest House by Rumi and I think it is worth a read.

“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.”

-Jellaludin Rumi

I obviously can’t tell you how to feel about this poem but for me it genuinely hit me right in the deepest part of my soul and feels. Amazing how simple words and thoughts can have such grave significance. I am a guest house, in India right now of all places, AND I personally think that is so.damn.cool. JUDGE MEEEE. I’m a guest house anyways so it don’t matter haha. In the words of my mama: SHERYL, I DO NOT CARE. But all y’all Sheryls out there, I hope you enjoy this poem 🙂

Namaskar, Namaste & Namaslayyy.

Kara Lou


Boots in India!

Buenos dias all!

Here I am sitting at the Toronto airport again, waiting for my flight to depart only unlike last time, I am not headed back to Vietnam, I am headed to….. INDIA!! I feel like for most of y’all my life is way too nomadic & confusing so to summarize: I’ve been in Costa Rica for the past few months, I am now headed to India for two months of work, then Greece, THEN back to Costa Rica. Only a few months into this new job and I am racking up the country counttttttt. India will be country #11 & Greece #12! I’ve always wanted to visit India but never had the chance when I was living in Asia but now I will have two months of work and exploration! Wooooo hoooo! Sooooooo excited for all things INDIA: Bring on the yoga, the saris, the naan, the samosas, everythanggggggg. These boots were made for Bollywood!!!

Namaste & Namaslay y’allllll.

Kara Lou


Pura Vida!

Holaaa amigos y Pura Vida!!

2018 has already been a whirlwind of adventure but I am happy to say that as crazy as these first few months have been, I am finally settling in and starting an exciting, new journey. As some of you may have seen I moved to Costa Rica!!


This move wasn’t totally random, it has been in the works for a few months now since I decided I wanted to leave Vietnam but I finally landed a dream job and arrived here in Costa Rica at the beginning of March! I am currently living and working in the city of Cartago, a short drive outside of the capital of San Jose.

If I had to use any word to describe my experience thus far in Costa Rica, I would use the word BEAUTIFUL! I mean look at this, it speaks for itself.

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This is a park and lookout point to the Orosi Valley which is a town in the Cartago Province. I plan to spend many weekends here doing yoga, reading books and hopefully marinating in my hammock enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. This is what Pura Vida is all about! Everything that I have seen and experienced so far here in Costa Rica is leading me to believe that I will probably love everything here in this country.

As I said earlier, I’m finally settling into a new job, new country, new lifestyle and I couldn’t be more excited and happy with the decisions that have led me up to this point. On an exciting note, Costa Rica is my 10th country I have visited, finally taking me into the double digits, and the 2nd foreign country I have lived in. I am not really one for New Year resolutions, but I am striving to continue doing things that challenge me, scare me and most of all, make ME happy! Pura Vida!!



Now & Then


Flashback to 2014: First time traveling abroad solo and volunteering in Lima, Peru. Fearful, nervous, excited and full of wanderlust.

Flash forward to the present (2017): Been living and working in Saigon for the past (almost) ten months. Still sometimes nervous, excited and full of wanderlust but not so fearful anymore as I am about to embark onto the next adventure of traveling and exploring more of Southeast Asia. Aspiring to be more minimal and living out of a backpack for the first time (only a short 3 weeks, baby steps!). I’ve donated about half my wardrobe I brought here with me and I am ready to embrace the gypsy lifestyle. Funny how life can change so much in just three years.

These boots are on move and they are coming for you Vietnam! First up, Phu Quoc Island! Don’t worry mama I will keep in touch like always 🙂



Dien Chan

I have to tell you all about this practice I found here in Saigon because it is AMAZINGGG. So let’s rewind. Sunday morning, I’m exercising, actually trying to be healthy when lo and behold, I do something to hurt my back. It hurts to lie down flat, to move, to do anything basically. Backs are horrible things to hurt and for someone who has a very high pain tolerance, I was in agony. I couldn’t sleep, sudden movements hurt my entire back. Anyways, you get the idea, it was awful.

My first instinct as a person from the Western World is to find a chiropractor. It’s Sunday afternoon so most offices here are closed. I accept that I’m not going to be able to see someone about this until tomorrow so I lay in bed all day and watch Netflix.

Monday morning arrives and I am on my way to see a friend of a friend who practices Dien Chan. To be honest, I was a little skeptical about this whole thing, I didn’t know much about the practice and was in a severe amount of pain that I thought could only be remedied by some physical therapy. Give me that back stimmmm. I arrive, meet Simona and she starts our session.

Dien Chan is natural practice, originating here in Ho Chi Minh City, that “aims to restore the energy balance of the body by stimulating the body’s response itself and eliminating the disturbances”. It is similar to acupuncture but without the needles. Simona uses small tools to find painful points on your face, hands and arms that reflect other areas of the body that are in need of healing. She was able to find the points on my face that connected to the areas that were inflamed and in pain without even having to touch my back. SO AMAZING! As a Westerner I was honestly shocked. After only two sessions with Simona, I was experiencing no pain and am back to normal functioning. Crazy right? From not being able to move without sharp pain to no pain at all in two days. She is a true healer.

After this experience, I think I can genuinely see that our bodies really are a reflection of our well-being, especially our faces. You might think that the pimple on your face is just a pimple but it could be a sign of something completely different. Living in Asia for the past eight months has opened my eyes to the world of Eastern medicine and it’s amazing practices. From my experience, Eastern medicine is way more natural and, this sounds weird but, actually listens to what our body is telling us. There are signs but we just might not know it. I’ve become so interested in this particular practice that I am going to take Simona’s Dien Chan beginner course here in early October. These are the experiences that I more than likely would never be able to have if I was back home in Buffalo. Super stoked to learn more about this practice!

P.S. If anyone is ever interested in treatment and would like to see Dr. Simona, feel free to contact me and I can give you her information 🙂 Have a lovely Thursday y’all!!




Flashback Friday: Harry Potter World, Universal 

I’m dedicating this flashback Friday to one of my favorite places….Harry Potter World in Universal Studios, Florida! As previously mentioned, I am a huge Harry Potter fan and so is my family so when I graduated from college, we took a celebratory trip to Harry Potter World!

As anticipated, this place is magical. As a full grown adult you can run around with a wand shouting spells at people and it’s totally normal and non judgmental. We even sat at a table in Diagon Alley drinking ciders and muggle watching one day. It was the best. 

The food at the Leaky Cauldron and the Three broomsticks is actually good for theme park food. We had a feast for the four of us and it was plenty. Butter beers were a must in the August Florida heat.

We stayed at one of Universal’s resorts which had many benefits: we didn’t have to drive anywhere because there are water taxis that will take you back and forth, we received a fast pass that let us cut some of the lines for rides and we had a pool to come back to during the afternoon heat.

One important thing to remember when going to places like Universal is to do your research! We went at the end of August when Florida schools were back in session so we avoided the big crowds and long lines.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have not traveled and explored enough in my own country but I can confidently say that if the opportunity arose for me to return to Harry Potter World, I would go in a heartbeat. It is truely a magical place where childhood dreams become a reality. 

Happy Friday y’all!



Cu Chi Tunnels 

Hey yall! Happy Independence weekend from here in Vietnam! I’ve had the past week off of work for our quarter break and was able to do some fun, touristy things with new friends! This is my first attempt at a video blog so let me know what you think! Low quality video, high quality shenanigans. Next time I will try to use my phoneđź‘Ś.

Anyways, here’s a little bit of our time spent at the Cu Chi Tunnels! The Cu Chi tunnels were a big part of why the Americans were defeated during what we would call the Vietnam War. It is was amazing to see this historical site and the tunnel system that was used by the Vietnamese. These tunnels are so tiny it’s hard to believe people actually lived underground in these conditions. Crazy! Shout out to Eric & Austin for visiting and spending time with me this week, I had a blast! Even bigger shout out to my girl Meaghan Puff for making it all happen!! Wish you could have been here with us!