“You get out of life what you put in” – Katy Cook (Hull, England)
Today’s Sunday’s Inspiration owes itself to one of my ex managers. Name checked: Katy Cook. From Hull in England. We worked together from 2006-2007 in London. I was a PR assistant for a global PR Agency called Bite Communications based at Ravenscourt Park. Katy Cook was a PR manager running a cool list of clients in her time in Bite. In short – she was a top boss that gave a s#it. I always talk fondly about my time at Bite and I have no doubt in my mind that without doing the whole “working your ass off in a busy London office” thing I would not have turned into the hardcore backpacker I believe I am today. That job made me realise I didn’t have any ambition to spend my entire life in an office or on the phone and I haven’t returned to an office job in the last 7 years! Ironically these days I still get the same amount of “work e-mails” and I still have a lots of clients though these are the sort of e-mails I answer with shorts and t-shirts on from a hostel, a desert or a bus station on my travel journeys.
Being a PR assistant at Bite was a busy job but weekends were free from work and we got Easter and Xmas breaks so I still managed to travel to Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Denmark during my time working there. But something with Katy stuck with me. Her work ethic was brilliant (admittedly sometimes she put in too many hours), her passion unquestionable but it was her skills as a people person that I admired the most. I was a cheapskate ice cream seller when I started working at Bite. One day I’d be flogging 99 Mr. Softee Ice creams on Bournemouth beach, the next I had to get used to checking e-mails, phoning journalists, drafting up business plans, sharing ideas. It was a contrast for me and a huge step up at the time but I worked hard, gave my bit to the company and their brands and enjoyed it. It wasn’t quite my dream though.
I went to events, often getting free food and drink, meeting clients, getting to VIP events (such as iTunes gigs courtesy of my time doing PR for Apple). I put a lot of effort, passion and time into it. As June 2007 came round I made a decision to go backpacking properly. An offer came through on an e-mail one day for a £99 flight to Toronto in Canada. It was so amazing I jumped at the chance and booked it straight away – within a couple of weeks I had left the job. In fact, the week after I left Bite Communications, I met a few other travel bloggers in Toronto in Canada. And that’s when I started this travel blog Don’t Stop Living. In those days I never saw travel writing, backpacking or blogging as a business move. It was just a passion and an outlet for my stories.
When I worked in Bite I used to hate the daily routine sh@t – all the “scanning the media”, “sending press releases” (that nobody will read unless you phone them or give them a free lunch) “phoning the same people time after time” etc. and to break up that monotony, I did a daily e-mail around my team with:
– a football score of the day from around the globe
– a quote of the day from my mind
– a song of the day from my iPod
On my last day working in Bite, my boss Katy Cook gave me my own quote, from her, she told me “you get out of life what you put in” and this is the quote that stuck. You work hard and you get your rewards. You don’t and you won’t. Katy also told me that I had passion and desire and that I should never lose that, as it is inspiring. Thanks Katy, this week has been a good one in our respective lives. Katy just had a baby – congratulations!!! And on a personal level, I’ve featured in my local newspaper and also been influencer of the week on Midgame!
It’s unlikely any of my workmates from Bite Communications have ever seen my travel sites or know where life took me after leaving that job. For sure they will probably be too busy with their lives- that’s the lifestyle a busy PR Office brings and we are content with that. But life doesn’t have to revolve around being a busy office buff. It really doesn’t. I’ve been busy too, I’ve travelled the world since leaving Bite and I still travel. I’m still doing PR, but for myself and for travel brands, I’m a business backpacker these days. If you did once work with me at Bite please do leave a comment – I’d love to hear from you!
I’ve done a fair amount of PR down the years not just in Bite, I’ve also worked with fashion, football and travel companies most recently with Internations, Vadovia, Glentoran FC and even contributed to celebrity news and music reviews! So my niche isn’t just backpacking travel.
And Katy if any travel or lifestyle business comes your way, please get in touch. I’m a business backpacker now. I work for myself. I have people working for me. I work with hundreds of travel companies. And I love it.
As another sunsets over Hong Kong Island from my current base in Lam Tin, it’s safe travels and happy inspiration to you all.