Vientiane, Laos

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Laos is one of those countries that has been on my travel bucket list for a while. When I found out my bestie Lauren and her husband Carlos were moving to Laos; I knew I had to visit. Initially, I thought traveling to Vientiane, Laos from Shanghai, China would be super easy. However, there is no direct flight to Laos from China. My first leg was a red-eye from the Hongqiao International Airport in Shanghai to Kunming Changshui International Airport in China. After a long night of sleeping on the floor in the Kunming Airport, I caught my next flight to Vientiane.

One of my favorite ways to recharge after traveling is time at the spa. We stopped in at the Manee Spa in hopes of massages. Unfortunately, they were completely booked, so we scheduled appointments for later. If you are planning on getting spa treatments at Manee Spa, I recommend making a reservation in advance.

Vientiane Laos
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Next, we spent the afternoon wandering along the Mekong River. There are a bunch of restaurants and bars along the river. This is the perfect spot to catch the sunset and have a drink.

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One of the reasons this trip was so incredibly special was that it was held at the end of Buddhist Lent (Awk Phansa) Our entire week in Laos was filled with beautiful traditions. Part of Awk Phansa includes the boat racing festival (Boun Xuang Heua). While catching the sunset along the Mekong River, we had the opportunity to see various teams practicing for race day.

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You'll find lots of delicious spots to grab dinner along the Mekong River. Loads and loads of fresh seafood.

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Here were some of my favorite spots in Vientiane to eat. First stop, Lao Kitchen. Their menu has a wide variety of traditional Lao food. The best way to enjoy Lao food is to share, which I love because you can try a variety of flavors.  Lao food can be quite spicy, so if you don't enjoy spicy food be sure to let your waiter know. Some of my favorite dishes here were the spring rolls, river weed, deep fried mushroom, rice noodles with veggies + chicken, and of course the mango sticky rice. Each dish was about $4-5USD. You will definitely leave with a full and happy tummy.

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Across the street from Lao Kitchen, you will find Noy's Fruit Heaven. Honestly, I was far too full, so we didn't go to Noy's Fruit Heaven. However, my friends who live in Vientiane say that you can get delicious fruit shakes here. They have everything from watermelon, dragon fruit, mango, banana, and coconut shakes. They also have delish sandwiches on their menu.

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Next stop was Hong View. This restaurant has a beautiful location along the Mekong River. The outside patio has tons of lanterns creating a charming ambiance. The menu is quite extensive with Lao dishes as well as Western options. Perhaps we were too hungry because I don't have a single photo of our dinner.

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Another worthy mention in Vientiane is Joma Bakery Café. My bestie Lauren + I stopped in Joma for a little girlfriend time. We shared a piece of pumpkin pie and washed it down with two lattes. The perfect girlfriend date.

 Photo credit Lauren Tusso

Photo credit Lauren Tusso

Five Steps For Showing Up For Your Workouts

Five Steps For Showing Up For Your Workouts

This morning I woke up in Luang Prabang, Laos feeling a bit unmotivated to exercise. I was coming off a six week back injury, and my initial thought was to stay in my warm, cozy bed and skip my workout. Instead, I threw on my running shoes and headed out for a 6K run. I never have regrets for showing up for a workout. The endorphins after always remind me why I love moving my body.

Wondering how you can show up for your workouts???

1.) What movement brings you joy? Personal training clients often tell me they don't like going to the gym or that they feel overwhelmed by all the equipment. Here's the thing find something that you enjoy. It could be yoga, spinning, Zumba, rock climbing, or walking.

2.) Not sure what you like? Try some classes out. Most gyms and studios have a discounted pass. You could even try a free meetup group that does hiking. Shop around like you are looking for a new pair of shoes. Be sure to give it a couple of tries before you decide it's not for you.  

3.) Do you have a workout buddy? Find someone who enjoys doing what you like to do. I am most consistent with my workouts when I have a buddy. By committing to each other, you have an accountability partner. Over time you might even start growing your tribe of people who have similar interest.

4.) Are you keeping your internal commitments? For some people, it can be easy to make an external commitment to others and show up. The problem can often be with the internal commitments. I find that when I commit myself to workout, I can easily break it. There's that expression treat yourself like you would treat a friend. When you commit to working out with a friend you would show up. It's equally as important to show up for yourself and keep your internal commitments. 

5.) Do you have a workout schedule? Pick 3-4 days a week that are non-negotiable days where you work out. Decide the day/time and schedule it into your week. By deciding your workout days ahead of time, this eliminates the decision making of should I or should I not work out? What should I do for my workout? Having a plan sets you up for success, and you won't talk yourself out of moving your body.

Always learning from others and how they stay motivated. How do you show up for your workouts?
 

Here We Go Lovelies

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Soul Travel Fitness has officially launched!!!  I'm over here in Asia doing my happy dance and celebrating!! So how in the world did this all begin anyways??? Since as long as I can remember I've been obsessed with health + fitness. I love feeling strong, confident, healthy, and active. Being healthy is not about the body looking a certain way, but how your body moves, and eating foods that nourish you. I move my body because it feels good. I believe the goal is not a number on the scale, but that you feel beautiful in your skin. 

My passion for travel began years ago when I was a college student backpacking around Europe. I’ve never felt more at home then when I’m not home. After years and years of friends asking me to write about my journeys, here I am. By opening up to the universe my travels have led me all over the world and now to Asia where I currently live in Shanghai. Of course, I don’t expect everyone to sell their belongings and move abroad, but I do hope that my experiences inspire you to find adventure in your very own backyard. The BIG question is where to next??

You don't want to miss out on my  tips on travel + heath + fitness.  It's going to be ah-mazing!!! 

BIG Panda Bear Hugs From China,

Lisa