Caylee Pugh trusts her intuition and it’s taking her places.
Caylee has spent much of her life traveling the world. She’s been a foreign exchange student in Germany, studied abroad in Costa Rica, taught English in Vietnam and now lives in Thailand. Throughout her travels, the most valuable lesson Caylee’s learned is the power of her own intuition and acting upon her gut feelings.
Caylee’s collected insights into people, what success looks like, and alternative lifestyles, all of which make her an excellent life coach. Currently studying design, Caylee hopes to move into the technology space and is an advocate for bringing more women into technology. In our interview, Caylee describes the challenges of living abroad, why she aspires to finding a career that lights her up, and the unexpected benefits of writing her own blog, Gutsy Girl Living.
Describe a typical day in your life.
For the past year, I was waking up without an alarm clock to the sound of birds chirping outside my window and sunlight streaming in. I did some bedside yoga to get my body and mind simulated, and then I was ready to start my day. I usually had a couple of hour-long coaching sessions with my private clients each afternoon. I work with people who are starting new businesses to define their goals, identify their ideal customers, and then create a marketing plan. After the private coaching sessions, I’d spend time reading and interacting with people on social media. When I was feeling extra inspired, I’d write a blog post or do something creative with my time.
Now that I’ve been traveling for the past couple of months, everyday has been completely different. I visited five countries in Europe this summer, so I’ve been eating tons of delicious food and riding bicycles all around. I also just moved to Thailand a few days ago and can’t wait to see how much my daily life will change in this entirely different culture.
You started traveling at a young age. What can you say you’ve learned from your experiences?
I’ve learned so many things from my travels over the years. How to trust in myself and my intuition really stands out as an important ability I’ve grown into. I moved to Vietnam several years ago without knowing the language first, so I had to rely on my gut feelings to understand the situations and people around me. If my stomach was feeling tense and a little voice inside of my head was whispering “no,” then I knew I should listen to this subconscious part of myself. Humans are born with amazing intuition, and traveling truly gives you the practice to feel confident in these abilities.
Besides that, I’ve seen that humans are basically the same no matter where you go on earth. We all have similar desires, needs, and drives. We all love deeply and feel pain. It seems like so many people try to separate themselves from those who have a different race, religion, or country of origin, but I’ve found that it doesn’t matter. Nobody is better than anyone else. We all have the same essence. After all my travels, I don’t really feel like an American anymore. Instead, I feel connected to the larger world community.
Describe your experience teaching English in Vietnam. What was challenging or unexpected?
There were a wide variety of challenges that I faced while living in Vietnam. It was really hard to deal with how many things were done at the last minute without any planning. For instance, one time I’d made plans with several friends for the weekend, and then on Thursday evening my school told me that I needed to go to a meeting ten hours away in Hanoi the very next morning. I wouldn’t get back until Sunday evening. That was the very first time they’d told me about it, so I had to cancel all of my plans last minute to go to the meeting. This type of thing was very challenging for me. At the time, I felt like my private time wasn’t being respected.
Also, most people in Vietnam don’t enjoy confrontation, so you won’t hear what you’re doing wrong until it’s too late. Most people won’t be extremely direct with you, so it was difficult to tone down that Western trait of mine that likes to be open with all of my opinions and annoyances.
On a more positive note, the most amazing surprise was how easy it was to make friends abroad. I got close with the other English teachers in my town, but also with several Vietnamese women in the community. It was shocking how quick I felt like I was part of their family.
What’s it like running your blog, Gutsy Girl Living? What advice would you give for other bloggers?
It’s a lot of fun to run Gutsy Girl Living, but it’s equally a lot more work than expected. It’s so difficult to write posts when you’re not feeling inspired! I created my blog originally because I wanted a space to express my ideas and creativity. GGL has really grown since I founded it one year ago, so now I’m trying to figure out the best direction to take it into the future.
As for advice, if you’re interested in starting a blog, begin writing now! Figure out a topic that you’d love to write about for free and do it. Get started. You, most likely, will never make any money off a hobby blog, so do it for the love. It’s an amazing space to build a community, express your creativity, and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
What are the best things about living a travel-based lifestyle and what are the worst? Do you ever see yourself settling down in one country?
Traveling provides me with an endless source of inspiration. I enjoy all types of creative and artistic activities such as drawing, photography, singing, playing ukulele, dancing, and creating videos. Travel gives me the opportunity to see the world from a variety of angles so that I can create an endless array of interesting, new things. I also get to meet amazing people on the road. In my opinion, other travelers that I’ve met have the most crazy and hilarious stories about experiences on their trips. I love getting to know people from so many walks of life while traveling.
The worst part is that it’s exhausting to always be outside of your comfort zone. I enjoy the excitement of traveling most of the time, but sometimes it just feels good to be in a place that you know like the back of your own hand. To know the ins and outs of a culture and to not feel like an outsider can have its perks.
I’ll have to see about settling down in one country though. Traveling for a couple of weeks at a time as a tourist is never really enough for me. I enjoy getting to know a culture on a deep level, and living there is the best way to do that. Because of that, I see myself living in a variety of places throughout my life, both in the US and abroad. There are so many beautiful countries to experience and great people to meet. Why pick just one spot to live your whole life? That being said, I do love Costa Rica and Germany intensely.
Who inspires or motivates you?
Scott Dinsmore from the popular Live Your Legend movement is such an inspiration to me. He sadly passed away recently while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, but he was so full of life and passion that his own legend continues to motivate people everywhere. He was all about finding a career that lights you up and living a life that you love. I’m all about that, and I’ll never forget what he shared with the world!
Describe your experience using about.me. What do you like best about our platform?
I’ve been able to connect with so many interesting people on this platform who I have a lot in common with. It’s a fun, laid back networking tool that fits really well with my personality. I would love to see what type of collaborations could be possible in the future through first connecting on about.me. I’m excited to see where it goes in the future!
Anna Lizaur is a Marketing Manager with about.me. She graduated from the University of Virginia. Anna is fluent in Spanish and can count to 100 in Chinese.