Karin Roest was adopted from South Korea and raised in the Pacific Northwest with five adopted siblings and a well-loved German Shepard named Rex. After high school, Karin let her curiosity take her around the world during college and kept on globetrotting for the next fifteen years after graduation.
Courageously confronting the unknown, from sneaking in and out of war zones to rebuild African communities to unraveling the mysterious deaths of her birth parents and three biological sisters, and meditating for one year in silence in Myanmar (Burma), Karin shares her findings about the true meaning of solitude, freedom, happiness, and love to chronicle the lifelong map of her past that has paved the way for the future understanding of herself, the world, and her place within it.
Karin received her master’s degree in Strategic Communications from Columbia University which compliments her career as a producer and celebrity talent scout for Grammy award winning musicians, Nobel Peace Prize winners, TED talk speakers, best selling authors, and renowned philanthropists. Applying the same strategies and mindsets that contribute to their success to herself and her clients, she helps big thinkers and thought leaders transform their boldest thoughts into legacies that sustain their dreams while changing the world.
Always travel-ready and currently based in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Karin continues her own personal MasterQuest, suitcase ready and prepared to jump on a plane for whatever client-in-need, new discovery, or exciting opportunity that may arise at a moment’s notice.
Karin is the author of the upcoming book MasterQuest: The Art of Thought Leadership.
This is MASTERQUEST.
Restless But Determined
The world had to have more to offer, and I began my quest. I didn’t stop travelling for 13 years. Globetrotting without a plan, map, or purpose, I hitchhiked, bunked up with strangers, and did whatever it took to continue seeing the world on a shoestring budget. I went back to Korea during college and found out that both of my birth parents and three of my birth sisters had passed away mysteriously. No one told me why so I vowed to come back later.
East African Bombings, Bullets, and Buddies
Narrowly escaping rape, violence, disease and corruption, my life was horrifically interrupted by a close encounter with the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya and the after-effects of terrorism that followed. My Sudanese friends wanted to take me to their village in Sudan, even though it was declared a high danger zone by the U.S. government. I took a chance and followed their lead, and made the ultimate discovery in their forbidden land… about courage, adversity, determination, and hope.
Latin American Lust for Luxury
Divas, drugs, and drag queens, oh my! Yeah, my yellow brick road was taking a serious detour. I left Africa inspired but didn’t have the influence, money, or resources to feel like I made a real difference. So bring on the high life! As a lowlife assistant to a hotshot Hollywood producer in Mexico City, I learned on the fly how to manage multi-million dollar investment deals, sponsorships, marketing campaigns, concerts, and festivals all over Latin America. Surrounded by celebrities, models, and millionaires, my ugly-duckling status evolved into a pseudo-Cinderella story, paid to work (and party!) with endless budgets of champagne, 5-star hotels, and chauffeurs at my fingertips. Unfortunately, there was no prince and no glass slipper. It wasn’t until a life-or-death run in with the Mexican mafia woke me up to exit this bizarre and sometimes dangerous fairytale. I was empty, broke, and, broken. I needed to find a purpose to live again.
Meditation in Myanmar
This was my last hope…I took refuge in a monastery in Myanmar and stayed there for one year in silence (well, 99% of the year without talking is more precise; it was much harder than I thought!). Without phones, friends, Facebook, and material distractions around, years of unresolved fears from the past, worries about the future, and everything in between resurfaced as I meditated all day…until an unexpected turning point changed my perspective on everything I had once thought and believed.
Soul Searching in Seoul, Korea:
I left the monastery in Myanmar sprouting with invincibility and a slow but growing head of new black hair. I went back to Korea and opened my own celebrity talent agency, but couldn’t forget that my life was still full of inexplicable mysteries about my birth family. Full closure was the goal, achieving it was another story.
New York, New York! All That Glitter Is not Gold
Ahhh, the Big Apple. I came storming in to take a big bite out of her. Two high-profile jobs later (yeah, I was fired), I found out the hard way that I couldn’t do work that I didn’t completely love anymore, no matter how glamorous the fancy titles and perks were. That apple was spoiled! Meanwhile, sitting in the unemployment office with the homeless during my Master’s program at Columbia University was not a welcome destination in my life plan, arrggh! But I was too ashamed to tell my highly esteemed classmates and friends that I was broke and unemployed. So what now?!
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. 39 Countries and Counting…
I count my lucky stars that it was then that I had my ultimate epiphany, combined with the life lessons from forgotten strangers and the year in silence tucked away in my back pocket. All the bad, the scary, the negative, and the brilliant encountered in the journey have taught me that the true meaning of meditation doesn’t always require sitting in one place with closed eyes. And I positioned myself so that one of the companies that had fired me, hired me back for a project where I worked 80% less and got paid 80% more than my previous salary. Score! Now in my 39th country and counting…I’ve restructured my company to help amazing people around the world stand out as Thought Leaders remotely, as I’m within walking distance from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil’s best beaches.