When Kate Bagoy put all her belongings in a storage and booked a one-way ticket to Asia, she didn’t know traveling full-time and working remotely would become her lifestyle for the next three years.

Kate is now a business coach for entrepreneurs and freelancers who want to hit their first $100K. But it wasn’t long ago she was struggling to do the same.

Before finding the courage to chase her dreams, her life looked like a dream… on paper.

Photo courtesy: Kate Bagoy

Kate was working for a Fortune 500 company, living in a nice house, driving a fancy car, going for weekly massages. She had a solid 401K plan waiting for her too. She traveled frequently and never really had to worry about money or security. But she was dying inside.

“I had all the things I was supposed to have – the job, the car, the clothes – but I was completely unfulfilled.”

Kate hated the corporate life and was rapidly burning out, working 60-hour weeks. She’d often cry herself to sleep and drinking became her main escape from constant anxiety.

“I was working on assignment in Asia when I read ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and I found myself imagining doing the same. I spent my breaks reading travel blogs, wishing I had that life. Eventually, I quit that job without a plan and went back to school to earn my MBA – only to repeat the burnout cycle with another couple of ‘great-on-paper’ jobs.”

Status and security weren’t fulfilling her anymore. She had tasted the American Dream and it wasn’t what she expected.

She thought she should feel fulfilled. But she was craving freedom… Freedom from the cubicle, the politics, and the seemingly endless meetings. Freedom from the endless cycle of exhaustion and hangovers and guilt for not working harder or having the best stuff.

“I didn’t understand why I wasn’t happy when I had so much, or why alcohol was becoming the biggest part of my life. It wasn’t until I got sober – and took a step back – that I realized how much of my self-worth was tied up in my career… and how out-of-alignment my career was with my desires.”

She consumed content like a sponge – learning about the digital nomad lifestyle, freelancing, travel blogging. She read anything she could find that would help her design a new life. 

Photo courtesy: Kate Bagoy

In her last 9-to-5, she was dangerously close to burning out again and booked a 3-week solo retreat in Bali, Cambodia, and Singapore. She read the ‘4-Hour Workweek’ on a plane and something shifted a little.

Then, after having a spiritual experience at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Kate decided that she would travel more, live her best life while helping or inspiring others – particularly women. 

She didn’t know what that would look like, but she jumped into action. She started a blog, she cut daily expenses so she could fund travel, she hired a business coach… and her dedication paid off.

“When I finally realized I was never going to be satisfied with the 9-to-5 life I started plotting my corporate escape for good. I hired a business coach and got serious about starting my own business – and for the first time, I felt fulfilled in my work life – AND saw financial results.”

After a couple of years running her freelance business, she was feeling the itch for a change. She was making more as a freelancer than she had as Head of Design in her last day job, and was working about 20 hours a week.

Photo courtesy: Kate Bagoy

She’d been sober for a few years and the anxiety had disappeared, but there was still something missing – she wanted more adventure and excitement. 

While the feelings of emptiness she used to have weren’t there anymore, and she didn’t feel compelled to soothe herself with alcohol or shopping, she felt a little stagnant.

“I’d heard of this group who traveled from country to country for a year while working remotely… It felt like the perfect step into a new lifestyle. They’d picked the destinations and take care of the housing and transportation – All I had to do was to enter my card details to buy my freedom.”

She was excited to get outside of her comfort zone, to explore and go on adventures. 

She attended a Tony Robbins event on a whim and found her calling – and the courage to make a massive change. Her blog transformed into a coaching business and she hit the road to travel full-time with Remote Year. 

When I got to Kuala Lumpur and met my travel family, everything changed. When you’re no longer associated with a job title or the things you own you get to find out who you really are and what you’re made of. And how little material stuff matters.”

Months after months on the road, she saw the strong woman who’d been inside her this whole time emerge more fully.

Taking the risk to quit that first corporate job had only been the beginning of finding her truth and living a fulfilling life. 

“Looking back, burnout was the best thing that ever happened to me. Dealing with the repercussions pushed me to become a better version of myself and to realize I didn’t have to settle for a mediocre life.”

Photo courtesy: Kate Bagoy

Earning a masters degree, taking her first solo trip, getting sober and immersing herself in service and learning, starting a business that gave her freedom – all led to an incredible wealth of happiness.

And ultimately to a very strange lifestyle. Getting rid of all her belongings and taking a leap of faith to travel the world with strangers? Seemed pretty easy after all the other stuff. 

Kate has lived in more than 22 countries while running her businesses. She’s now on a mission to help other creative corporate burnouts build 6-figure businesses while living a life they love. 

“I had to unlearn a lot of cultural conditioning to get to this point. I had to let go of who I thought I should be, and learn who I really was. I had to let go of the need to please others or control the situation and learn to allow life to unfold. I still work hard, but I’m better at prioritizing my mental and physical health and am more connected to my feelings. Even my worst days now feel like a dream compared to my old life. I want to show other women that anything is possible. And that sometimes, hitting your lowest point can be your biggest blessing.”

Written by our contributor Hélène Clabecq, Interviewer & Personal Branding Coach specialized in stories of breakthroughs. She gathers data around the world by interviewing both strangers and celebrities to understand the triggers that push people to transcend themselves, no matter their walk of life. Her work is centered on the topics of human potential, consciousness and perspectives around success, happiness and comfort zone. You can follow Hélène on Facebook and Instagram. Become our contributor too! Apply here.

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