Interview With #JustAddGratitude: How Getting Bitten By A Dog In The Jungles of Malaysia Changed My Life

by Oct 29, 2019

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Want a Better Life? Just Add Gratitude!

I had the honor of sitting down with fellow Remote Year participant, Shannon Kurkendahl, a couple months ago to discuss the importance of gratitude on the Just Add Gratitude Podcast.

In this interview I recall one of the most challenging experiences of my life, and why I’m so grateful for it now.

At the time, my thoughts were “Why Me!?,” but now I see it as a blessing that has helped me to appreciate my life even more.

Every day above ground is a good day, as Pitbull would say.

The magic is in seeing that, even when the shit hits the fan.

Listen to the podcast on your choice of providers, or read the full transcript below.


#JustAddGratitude Podcast

Intro:                   Welcome to the #justaddgratitude podcast. Here you’ll discover inspiring stories of personal and professional growth, level three fun, marketing tips, business development and travel adventures from entrepreneurs, digital nomads and creatives alike. Now sit back, grab a drink and take a 30 minute gratitude break with your host Shannon Kurkendahl.

Shannon:           Hi everyone. Shannon here. Thank you for joining me for episode four of #justaddgratitude. On today’s episode we have Kate Bagoy from Kate has been obsessed with travel since a flight she took to Oregon at the age of six. In 2017, Kate left the U.S. To travel full time as a digital nomad. Kate runs her coaching business entirely online and she loves helping other entrepreneurs grow profitable work anywhere businesses. Hello Kate. Thank you for joining #justaddgratitude. Welcome to the show.

Kate Bagoy:        Thanks so much for having me, Shannon.

Shannon:           So tell our audience a little bit about you. Kate is also part of the Remote Year community. She’s been traveling around the world. She’s a digital nomad. But yeah, tell our guests a little more about yourself and what you do.

Kate Bagoy:        Sure. Hi everybody. I am Kate Bagoy, as Shannon said. I am a designer turned business coach and I run an online program called Six Figure Freelancers, helping people to start their work anywhere businesses. I’ve been working in kind of the tech world for a really long time and when I went on Remote Year kind of pivoted more into a coaching role and teaching other people how to build their businesses as small businesses, think like startups.

Shannon:           Very cool. One of my favorite questions to ask, whenever I would meet somebody new that was part of the Remote Year program was what was going on in your life at the time that you found Remote Year or Remote Year found you. Did you see it in an ad? How did you come across Remote Year? And this is not a Remote Year promotional podcast. I just happened, it’s just happens to be a very large part of my life so there will be lots of stories.

Kate Bagoy:        Cool. Yeah, that’s a fun question for me. I had become aware of a Remote Year long before I actually applied. When they first launched, I was working at a startup and so I was always just watching the startup newsfeed and there was a bunch of stuff about Remote Year, this new company that was doing this weird thing. I had been watching that. I was like, Oh, that sounds really cool. But I was in the middle of an early-stage startup and we were getting ready to launch. So it was not good timing to apply. So I never did. And then a few years later, maybe, I think Remote Year had been around a year and a half when I joined. I had left that company, started my own business, moved across the country by myself to Savannah, Georgia. And I was absolutely loving life. But Remote Year just randomly popped up in my feed on Facebook again and it was like, hmm. And I hemmed and hawed and was like, well I know if I apply, I’m going to get accepted and if I get accepted, I have to go.

Shannon:           Of course they’re going to want me.

Kate Bagoy:        So yeah, so I waited a while and really sat on should I apply or should I not apply because I knew if I got accepted I would go. And so there was no question of whether I would balk if they offered it to me. But I eventually did apply and got accepted right away and there we go.

Shannon:           And so it was just a matter of transitioning away from the current job to start traveling.

Kate Bagoy:        It was, and I had already been on a little bit of a nomadic journey about a year, maybe two years before I had taken a solo trip to Bali, Cambodia, and Singapore. And I had had this incredible spiritual experience at Ankgor Wat and kind of committed at that point that I wanted to travel more and I wanted to inspire other people to travel and live their own dreams. And simultaneously I happened to be reading the four-hour workweek on the plane ride. And so from that point, I kind made a decision to travel more. And I had started doing that. I was traveling every month domestically and a couple of times a year internationally. And I had taken a few nomadic trips on my own while building my business. And so it was, it was kind of a no brainer when the Remote Year thing came back around to be like, okay, this is the next level. This is how I take it there.

Shannon:           Oh, very cool. Now you were doing design work at the time, so you didn’t have the coaching business.

Kate Bagoy:        Correct.

Shannon:           And so in your about section on your website, you talked about trying to start your own business about three times you were, you helped about 60 other businesses start businesses. What you were getting stuck on, what it was you needed to do for your own and you hired a coach. What was that experience like for you?

Kate Bagoy:        Oh, it was so many years of up and down and up and down and burnout. I think some people are really great employees and some people are terrible employees and I’m a terrible employee.

Shannon:           I’m a terrible employee.

Kate Bagoy:        Yeah. Not in the way that I don’t get things done. I’m exceptional at getting the work done, but I’m not good at being in a company and being managed and I’m not good at being in the office from nine to five just because somebody says that’s when you’re supposed to be in the office. It’s like some of my best work happens at midnight. And I was just miserable in that no matter how many new companies I went to, and no matter how great they were, and no matter how fun the project was, I after a few months was back into this burnout stage.

Kate Bagoy:        I work really hard. I put in a lot of hours. I always go the extra mile and I would burn myself out. And I would get frustrated with the corporate politics and the drama and the meetings. And it was finally just after the last startup, which was actually my favorite company I’ve ever worked for. We had an amazing time for a couple of years launching this business and they’re doing really well, which I love. But I was still in this burnout mode, even with people that I love, that I’ve become family. I was just miserable working for somebody else and I realized I just had to make a choice. If I was going to finally get my own business off the ground, I had to figure out what it would take to do that and I need to hire help instead of trying to keep doing the same thing over and over again. So I hired a coach.

Shannon:           Well, and the nice thing about coaches is they can put things in your view that you didn’t even realize were available to you.

Kate Bagoy:        100%.

Shannon:           I’ve done that myself. You hit a plateau. I think a lot of businesses do that. You’ll hit a plateau and you just want to get past it and you’re not sure what you need to do. And honestly, the best thing you could do for yourself, do some research. Find a coach, find someone that can put eyes on your business, every aspect of it. And say, “Oh, what about this?” And you might even have ideas already that you want to implement and again, a coach will help you sort of that’s a great idea, do that. So it’s just a second set of eyes on what it is that you’re doing so that you can grow and improve. So I commend you on that. I totally just agree with if you want to succeed that’s what you have to do.

Shannon:           So another one of the things that are fun to talk about on Remote Year and eventually I’m going to get Travis on the podcast, brought his name up a couple of times so far and he has agreed to do a show. So I’m really excited when I can actually get him booked because I love how he explains level one, level two and level three fun. So the most popular though with Remote Year is the level three fun. So do you have a level three fun story and would you like to share it with the audience?

Kate Bagoy:        I have quite a few. I even have like a level four-story, but I’m not going to share yet.

Shannon:           Oh wow. Uh oh.

Kate Bagoy:        Level four is where it’s …

Shannon:           Is there jail involved?

Kate Bagoy:        No, it’s just I’m grateful to be alive.

Shannon:           Okay, there’s that one.

Kate Bagoy:        But it’s funny in hindsight. Yeah. I mean I think my favorite level of three fun stories for me was in my first month. I’m introvert first stuff, so we should preface this story. I went from living by myself alone in my two-bedroom apartment in Savannah, Georgia and spending Tuesday mornings on the beach all quiet to flying to Kuala Lumpur and living with 80 people.

Shannon:           Oh god, yes.

Kate Bagoy:        And hugely overwhelmed, in Asia. We’ve got events every single night of the week and everybody wants to do coffee and everybody wants to go out and all of this. And I’m also sober and so I have to manage my energy as well. So anyway, got to Kuala Lumpur, there are all of these events going on and I tried to do them all, which is a really bad idea as an entrepreneur. And the third side trip of the month, a bunch of us had gone to Penang, Malaysia from Kuala Lumpur. It was initially supposed to be three of us in this Airbnb I’ve rented. And then all of a sudden 12 people showed up that were [crosstalk 00:09:05] supposed to be on the floor. And I’m like, I can’t even. So I left the Airbnb that I had rented and got a hotel room by myself.

Shannon:           Oh no.

Kate Bagoy:        Yeah. Because it was just too much for me. After, this was actually after I had gone out for a morning walk and had a complete breakdown. I bought breakfast at a gas station and cried on the beach for an hour. I was like I can’t do this. I decided to make a shift. So I went and got myself a hotel room and then I went on an adventure. It was like, I’m going to just go have some solo fun, some quiet fun without all these people. And instead what happened is they took the cable car that they have that goes up this mountain and Penang and there’s this nature garden sort of thing up at the top.

Kate Bagoy:        And I’m walking around this mountain and apparently I somehow got off the path, ended up lost in the jungle in Penang. Could not figure out a way out. And was it walking around for at least an hour and then kind of came up on a farm and it was like, oh great. At least there are some people around except that instead what happened is five dogs come running out of the field and surrounded me in the circle. I mean it was like something out of a movie, right? How does this even happen?

Kate Bagoy:        So I’m lost in the jungle in Penang, I’ve been walking around for like an hour and a half. I don’t have any water. I have like 10% left on my cell phone and I don’t even know who I could call and I can’t get GPS. And now I’m surrounded by five dogs barking at me and going freaking crazy. I ended up having to throw my camera at two of them that tried to attack me, but the third one got in and bit my ankle. So now I’ve been bitten by a dog.

Shannon:           Oh gosh. And now you got to think the rabies, right? Oh my Gosh.

Kate Bagoy:        Yeah. And I’m still lost and I’m running now because the dogs are chasing me. So I finally, I get away from the dogs, but now I’m even more lost and it’s getting dark and there are monkeys dropping coconut out of the tree. I’m just walking up this hill.

Shannon:           Monkeys are scary.

Kate Bagoy:        Oh my god, they’re evil.

Shannon:           People think monkeys are cute and sweet. No, they’re freaking scary.

Kate Bagoy:        They’re little jerks.

Shannon:           Yes.

Kate Bagoy:        They are adorable little jerks.

Shannon:           Jerks.

Kate Bagoy:        And so I’m a huffing up and down this mountain, completely lost just telling myself like, just don’t die. Just don’t die today. You’ve been through worse, you’ve been through boot camp, you’ve gotten sober. Telling myself every story I can to get out of this freaking situation. And I did obviously eventually find my way back to where I needed to be. But it was about three hours lost in the jungle, bleeding from the ankle, from this bite by a dog. And then I had to had to go to the ER to make sure that I was fine.

Shannon:           Yeah, that you don’t have rabies. Yeah. Because who knows what their practices are there when it comes to that. Wow. So was there any well of panic that you felt rising up?

Kate Bagoy:        Oh God.

Shannon:           What were some of the, yeah, probably a lot. What were some of the emotions that you were going through and how did your belief system sort of come into play with that? What was the growth that you, I mean, I could spout out what I assume some of the growth was, but ultimately it’s got to come from you. Where did you see the growth opportunity once this is all said and done in your home safe because you’re definitely not thinking about this while this is happening.

Kate Bagoy:        No, I mean at the time I was just scared and thinking I’m going to spend the night in the jungle. I’m probably going to get eaten by some sort of animal or die of exposure or thirst or whatever. All the fear that goes through and interspersed with moments of like, you’re strong enough, you can manage this, you’ll figure this out. Everything’s working out for you. All that sort of stuff. It was definitely a really interesting adventure.

Shannon:           Lots of inner dialogue going on for sure.

Kate Bagoy:        Oh, tons. And I have a pretty chatty inner dialogue even when I meditate. It’s pretty chatty. And when I’m scared in the jungle and bleeding and tired, it’s not a pretty place to be, my brain. So back to your question, I got a lot out of it actually. So it turns out, let me give you the full story. So I had the treatment or what I thought was the treatment for the rabies. I had a really great experience actually. This Uber driver picks me up and took me to the hospital and he actually waited in the ER with me for the whole hour and a half that I was there because he’s like, “I just want to make sure you’re okay and I want to take your home.” And it was like heartwarming. Right.

Shannon:           See, okay so Uber is not scary. There are fantastic Uber drivers all over the world.

Kate Bagoy:        I mean it was amazing. He’s amazing.

Shannon:           That’s really nice. There are good people.

Kate Bagoy:        Yeah. And that was one of the gifts that came out of that was that reminder of people are good and people are here to take care of you, even in different countries where you don’t know the language and all of that sort of stuff. That was beautiful. And I had a great experience with the doctor except that two months later on my six rabies treatment, I was in Vietnam at this point and I went to get my last rabies treatment and the doctor was going through all the paperwork and then she just got this weird look on her face. And she said, “Huh,” which is not something you want to hear from the doctor.

Shannon:           No.

Kate Bagoy:        Ever.

Shannon:           No.

Kate Bagoy:        Ever. And I was like, “What’s up?” And she goes, “Well, I don’t think they gave you the proper treatment in Penang.” And she said, “It looks like they gave you the regular shot, but they didn’t give you the actual antibodies.” And I said, “So, basically you’re telling me that if that dog was infected, I’m likely going to die any day a horrible and painful death.” And she said, “I don’t know what to say.” Also, another thing, you don’t want to hear from a doctor. Really horrible, horrible day. So what came out of all of that though is this immense sense of gratitude for my life. And a reminder that every day is a gift and we just don’t know. We don’t know when our last day is on earth, whether you got bit by a dog or not or you’re in perfect health, an accident could happen, a terrorist attack could happen. Any sorts of things could happen and this could be your last day. So, are you living it right?

Shannon:           Are you doing everything you want to be doing?

Kate Bagoy:        Exactly.

Shannon:           I just, I said this a few days ago. If you’re waking up in the morning and you’re dreading the day, you got to look within, look within and find out what’s going on. What are you doing? Are you doing a job that you hate? Which I think a lot of people are. So we have choices.

Kate Bagoy:        Exactly.

Shannon:           Firm believer in that. So and I get it, not everybody’s up for starting their own business. But I think that whether it’s giving back, which is finding something that helps build you back up, that fills your cup so that you in turn can fill other people’s cups.

Kate Bagoy:        Exactly.

Shannon:           And having that in place.

Kate Bagoy:        I think for me it’s less about the circumstances, the job, the no job, the business, the no business or whatever as taking care of yourself, loving yourself, respecting yourself and making decisions that actually support the life that you want to create. Because that’s what we do. We create our own lives with every decision we make. And sometimes that decision is to stay stuck and to stay bitter and angry and keep accepting the same things in our lives. And sometimes that decision is to make a different choice and that’s where the change comes in.

Kate Bagoy:        And it’s normal to have up and downs in life and there are going to be periods of time where things are really great and things aren’t really great. And sometimes it’s both. Sometimes one area of your life is going brilliantly and the other is not, and that’s all normal. But if you wake up too many days in a row and say, I hate my life, what do I have to do today? You might want to consider making a change.

Shannon:           Yeah.

Kate Bagoy:        Because that’s a choice.

Shannon:           100%. So thank you. Thank you for sharing that. What is something that you would like to share with our listeners? Any tips, where they can find you?

Kate Bagoy:        Sure. I mean so many tips, right? I mean I think it’s like I said before, remember that life is a gift. You only have so many days on this planet and you get to create your life. It’s not your conditions. This is a Tony Robbins quote. “It’s not your conditions that control your destiny. It’s your decisions.” So if you’re stuck and you’re stagnant and you’re unhappy in some area of your life, make a decision to change that area of your life. You don’t have to know every step of how to do it yet. Just make the decision that you are going to change that part of your life. You are going to do what it takes. You are going to commit to finding the help that you need to help, you going to start the business, end the relationship, start the relationship, whatever it is. Make that decision. Because that’s how everything changes.

Shannon:           Oh yeah. Well, then I something else that too is it doesn’t have to be all done at once.

Kate Bagoy:        Nope.

Shannon:           I think sometimes people can stop moving forward because they’re overwhelmed with the amount of work that’s involved to get to the next chapter of their life or the next level or what if it is that they’re trying to get to. Whatever goal they’re trying to reach. You don’t have to do it all at once.

Kate Bagoy:        100%.

Shannon:           I started the process of doing a podcast and it literally was, I’m going to do a little bit each day and now I’m at this point in time, there are four episodes and I’ve got two more that I’m getting ready to do and eventually I’ll have a hundred episodes. So it’s just little by little. So and be easy on yourself, when you say something, say kind words to yourself.

Kate Bagoy:        Yes, absolutely. A lot of my clients, probably about 90% of the people that I work with, end up working with me because of that. Because they get so overwhelmed with all of the things they have to do that they become paralyzed. It’s this paralysis by analysis. There’s a perfectionism piece in there as well. And the analogy that I love to use, and I can’t remember where – I got it from somebody else, one of my coaches that I worked with, but I can’t remember who right now. But the analogy is you can drive from San Francisco to New York entirely at night, only seeing the next few hundred feet that your headlights illuminate. You don’t have to be able to see every mile of the journey ahead of you in order to get to your destination. You just need to take the next stupid step.

Shannon:           Oh, I love that. Wow. That just, yes, I absolutely love that. That is so true. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before, but that’s, yeah. Wow. Thank you. Thank you for that.

Kate Bagoy:        You’re welcome.

Shannon:           So we’ll go ahead and start to wrap this up now. So tell everybody where they can find you. I know you’ve got some really great information on your website, so I’ll let you share your resources.

Kate Bagoy:        Sure. I’ve got plenty of options for reaching out that really the best place to go is my website, which is just K-A-T-E B-A-G-O-Y. Because you can find everything there. I’m also @kbagoy, just the letter K and then my last name Bagoy on Facebook and Instagram. I’ve got some free training on my website. I’ve got plenty of free downloads if you’d like those. And you can also feel free to just shoot me a message from my contact page.

Shannon:           Absolutely. And so you help freelance. So you’re, what is it specifically that you’re doing? You help freelancers get out there and travel or are you just a little more detail about what it is that you do?

Kate Bagoy:        Actually what I do is I help creative corporate burnouts build businesses that they can run it anywhere. So typically I work with people that like myself were, have one of those corporate dream jobs or whatever and are very good at what they do, but they’re miserable and terrible employees and they want to run their own business and they’re just overwhelmed at how to start. And I give them a step by step strategy for building a six figure, location-independent business as a solopreneur or a small agency.

Shannon:           Oh, that’s fantastic. So guys, go find her.

Kate Bagoy:        Thanks so much.

Shannon:           Kate, thank you so much for being on the show. I really, really appreciate it and I look forward to running into you at one of the citizen houses with Remote Year and hanging out.

Kate Bagoy:        Likewise.

Shannon:           So I’ve got a bajillion more questions and would love to be able to talk in person and hang out.

Kate Bagoy:        Same here.

Shannon:           So it would be awesome. So thank you again.

Kate Bagoy:        Great to meet you.

Shannon:           Well that’s the wrap for episode four of #justaddgratitude. Thank you for joining us today. If you have any questions for me or Kate, please leave them in the comments section below. You can find #justaddgratitude on Apple podcast, Google podcast, Spotify, and Stitcher. Please share, subscribe, and leave a review and remember, if you want to make positive changes in your life, just add gratitude.



#JustAddGratitude with Kate Bagoy: Panang, Dogs that Attack and Monkeys – 004

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Hi, I’m Kate

Hey, I’m Kate! I’m a designer, digital nomad and founder of Six Figure Freelancers – I love to help talented tech pros start businesses.

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