Leave a Little Sparkle Wherever You Go

sparkleA friend of mine posted this picture to my Facebook page the other day (thanks Michelle!) Normally these types of sayings make me smile, and then are promptly forgotten, but this one stayed with me.

I realized that this is something I’ve been trying to do a lot while travelling.

The people of Costa Rica have given us the gift of sharing their beautiful country with us. We’ve met so many people during these past two months, many of whom have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make our stay memorable.

If I can do something nice for them in return, then I’m going to do it. It’s all about the little things. Thinking back, these are some of the little things I’ve done to “leave my sparkle.”

  • Painting faces for free in Playa Coco
  • Leaving hand drawn cards for housekeepers with their tip
  • Baking cookies at Christmas for local businesses
  • Drawing up new signs the restaurant in Matapalo
  • Buying candy for the local kids outside the supermarket
  • Always offering to take photo’s of people who are taking selfies
  • Refusing change for people I buy Pipa’s or bracelets from
  • Leaving drawings in hostels to hang on their bulletin board
  • Getting blog posts about local businesses featured on town newsletters
  • And of course, lots, and lots of smiling!

How do you leave your sparkle?

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress




From 9-5 to Backpacks and Coconuts- My Ever Evolving Philosphy

Today’s post was inspired by the wise words of Christian over at Transforming Monday. I had the pleasure of guest posting on his blog today, and enjoyed sharing my experience so much, that I just had to share it with you all as well. I would highly suggest that everyone check out his website, there are some valuable lessons to be learned within.

Thank you to Christian for allowing me the opportunity to put my thoughts into words, and talk about my ever evolving philosophies on life.

Hi Everyone, I’m Kate, and I blog over at http://www.hostelsandhotrollers.com. I stumbled across Transforming Monday when Christian shared a post I’d written about The Tao of Pooh. I am thrilled to share my own life transformation with you, and how it pertains to the philosophies found within the book.

For the past 10 years, I’ve worked a desk job. Pushing paper, managing people, staring at a computer. Those were my typical days. At 29, I realized I had squandered away a vital time of my life, living without passion, without purpose, without direction.
The life I am leading today is drastically different. I’m currently, sitting on the patio of a Costa Rican restaurant, listening to howler monkeys and watching salamanders climb the walls behind the bar.
It’s moments like this that I stop, and truly take inventory of where my life has taken me.
My husband, and I made the decision to take the leap three years ago. We had visted Costa Rica a couple times, and every time we had to leave would joke about how great it would be to stay. Then, one evening, we started talking seriously about making our dreams a reality. We both knew we needed a change, needed to shake our lives up.
Now, I know what many of you are thinking. “Well that must be nice, but I wouldn’t be able to do it because of (blank).” I know this, because that was how I felt. The prospect of letting go of a secure lifestyle is what had held me captive for over a decade. My husband and I had full-time jobs, a mortgage, a cat, a wedding to pay for. We had all the excuses we needed to just sit at home, and let our dream slide by.
But we wanted it, and we set our minds on making our dream a reality. Once we stopped focusing on excuses, and barriers, things began to rapidly move in the right direction. Opportunities began to present themselves that helped us move our dream forward. I was offered an amazing part-time job as a face-painter to earn extra money for the trip, my work environment changed drastically to make time off more flexible, a house sitter presented themselves that would look after the cat. Slowly, all of our barriers began to vanish. Then, one day, we were booking our tickets.
It’s because of this experience that the teaching within “The Tao of Pooh” speak to me. My greatest learning from this book, summarized in my own words, is as follows:
Don’t force it, don’t interfere, let things happen and they will work out on their own. It’s the simple mind that sees what is in front of them and follows the nature of things
When I stopped forcing myself into a lifestyle that wasn’t working for me, my dreams came true. Letting my life evolve naturally has led me to incredible adventures.
I hope my experience inspires you, and perhaps encourages you to look at your life, and see if there are situations that you are forcing yourself to stay in. What would happen if you just let go, and let your path present itself?
Thanks so much to Christian for giving me to opportunity to share my story with you all.
You can read my original post about the Tao of Pooh at:

Pura Vida!


The Power of a Smile

Are you smiling right now? Probably not. I’m certainly not. My brows are furrowed, and I’m squinting at the screen.

So let’s take a moment, and do it. Smile. I’ll do it too.

Go ahead…It’s okay, I’ll wait…

Done? Feel better? Me too!

Every single day that I am here, I am in awe of the power of smiling, because every single day I find myself having to use my smile as a way of communicating.

Let’s be honest here, no matter how much Rosetta Stone I did before I left, and no matter how many times I look at our Spanish language book, my Spanish skills are pretty lacklustre. I find myself hyper aware of my body language on a daily basis.

We’ve all read those stats “93% of communication is through body language”, and I’ve never believed it more then I do now. Some of the most wonderful interactions I’ve had with people throughout this trip have been with no words at all.

Case in Point:

A few weeks ago, I took a bus to Liberia to meet my family at the airport. During the drive we drove into several remote towns, far away from the Coastal communities we had been staying in. We made one stop in a very small town, and parked outside a house, waiting for some riders.

I looked out my window, and saw a beautiful young Costa Rican girl. She was probably 6 years old, wearing pink shorts, and a white flowered top. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and she was gazing blankly up at the people on the bus. In an instant, I thought about what she must be thinking about this gigantic bus full of Gringo’s parked outside her little house. In that same instant, I caught her eye, and gave her a huge smile.

What happened next was so simple, yet will stay with me for the rest of my life. She smiled back. She smiled back in a way that lit up her whole face. One of the most beautiful, genuine smiles I’ve ever seen. I could literally feel my heart grow warm, and goose bumps grow on my skin. We communicated more in that moment, then we would have if we sat down and talked for an hour. Our interaction lasted less then 3 seconds before we drove away.

I’m going to remember that little girls face for the rest of my life. And am now more concious then ever of the power of a smile. Ever since then, I have made a point to smile at everyone that I see.

It is a powerful gift that we all have. I think that we should use it more often.


Are you still smiling?? I am.

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Have you found “The Tao of Pooh”

There may be multiple reasons you are reading this post.

You have stumbled across my blog, and are checking it out.

You are a reader, friend, or family member who are keeping tabs on my adventures.

Or…you’ve found “The Tao of Pooh”

Let me explain.

During my first week in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, I met Karen, a lovely lady from just outside of Kelowna, B.C. We got to talking about books, as many travellers do, and proceeded to swap what we had already read.

She said that she would give me “The Tao of Pooh” as long as I promised to pass it along to someone else when I was done. We decided it would be fun to write a blog post about the book, and see how many peoples hands it would end up in through its travels. A chain letter book so to speak.

Seemed like an easy enough promise, and since the book was quite small, I told her I would have it read, and posted in a few days…that was over two weeks ago.

What I hadn’t expected was how much I would learn from this small, powerful little book.

“The Tao of Pooh”, by Benjamin Hoff, compares the philosophy of Taoism to the tales of Winnie The Pooh. An intriguing concept to say the least. I dabbled in philosophy in my first years of college, but haven’t thought much about it since.

Once I cracked the book open, I found myself taking notes during every page, and stopped to reflect after every chapter.

Although my travels themselves are an adventure, they are also an adventure in self-discovery, and growth. This book was a perfect addition to my personal learning.

Everyone who reads this book will take something unique and valuable away from it. Mine are as follows:

  • The wise ones are who they are. Recognize what you have and what you are, and work with it, not against it.
  • Don’t force it, don’t interfere, let things happen and they will work out on their own. It’s the simple mind that sees what is in front of them and follows the nature of things
  • Enjoy the process of things, instead of waiting for the moment at the end to occur.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with my favourite excerpt:

In order to take control of our lives and accomplish something of lasting value, sooner or later we need to learn to Believe. We don’t need to shift our responsibilities onto the shoulders of some deified Spiritual Superman or sit around and wait for Fate to come knocking at the door. We simply need to believe in the power that’s within us and use it. When we do that, and stop imitating others, and competing against them, things begin to work for us (p. 121)

photo 2 (12)

My final moments with “The Tao of Pooh”, and my notes before I passed it on.

I can only hope these words ring as true to you as they do for me.

So, if you are here, and you have found our Tao of Pooh, or perhaps your own copy. Tell me what you think? What did you learn from it?

Pura Vida


Twitter: @caketress