Inspiring Traveler Interview: Aileen the Filipino Nomad
Meet Aileen. At 21 she quit her corporate job in the Philippines to travel the world and ever since then she has been….. ok I’ll let her tell you what shes been up to!
-First of all, tell us about yourself
I am Aileen Adalid and I am from the Philippines, a country with gorgeous islands, hospitable people, aaaand… strong traditions. I say this because almost everyone is expected to advance in a linear manner: study for years to get a degree, get a 9 to 5 job, get married, settle down, have some kids—as advised and closely monitored by one’s parents or elders.
But not for me.
I already had my parents pick out my university course for me and I have even let society pressure me into quickly jumping on a job for fear of unemployment—after all of that, I just didn’t want anyone to dictate my life anymore.
I didn’t even want to be trapped in a 9 to 5 job because that kind of rat race made me terribly uninspired; there were just so many mornings that I really had to force myself to go to work. Every one was under constant pressure, every one was trying to outdo one another (as if it’s the only way they can say they’re successful), and every one was only clinging to it for the sense of security or stability. I knew that it wasn’t right to do so; life isn’t supposed to be lived that way.
So at 21, I quit my corporate job to do what I’ve always dreamed of: living a life of travel and working for myself.
Today, I am a digital nomad + online entrepreneur traveling through countries, and I am definitely—definitely—having the time of my life! In a way, I have my mom to thank for letting me go. After convincing her (it was bordering on pleading, haha!) I am glad that she was willing to break free from our ‘conventions’ in order to let me do what I really want in this life.
-So it’s safe to say that one of your passions is traveling?
Absolutely!!! I grew up in a small island in the Philippines (an almost unknown one) so naturally, it made me wonder about what else is out ‘there’. After I moved in to the capital, which was Manila, I started meeting backpackers/nomads/travelling-entrepreneurs that were passing through the city and their stories were enough to ignite more of the curiosity that I already have about the world. I even made short trips in between during my free days off from work, and the combination of all of these factors made me realize that traveling is the kind of lifestyle that I really wanted. I want to do more of it; and so I did.
Traveling just simply gives me a really special kind of feeling and a distinct sense of freedom that I have never felt before in my entire life. It gives me a lot of time to notice a lot of things, too—even the smallest things—that people who are always ‘on-the-go’ might not even stop to look at. What’s more is that it gives me precious memories, experiences, challenges, etc.
Because of this and more, traveling is certainly one of my true passions.
– The main reason for your website is to motivate people to travel and also to let them know that you don’t have to be rich to do so. How do you manage to go to so many places?
Yes; but other than motivating people to travel, I also try to motivate my readers to go after what they want in life and I also try to motivate them with the fact that they can work for themselves and not for somebody else (there’s just so many opportunities out there!)
And indeed, you don’t have to be rich to travel because I’m not rich myself; yet I’ve managed to live a life of travel and I’ve even set up my own business (but of course, I can say that I’m rich in love and support from family and friends! 😉
I have managed to jumpstart this lifestyle with a bit of preparation. I first started developing myself into a digital nomad in 2013; I started reading up about SEO, graphic design, web design, and online marketing while I was still in my corporate job. I learned these concepts all by myself, and by the time that I knew that I was ready: I quit my job. I continued doing freelance jobs online which eventually scored me good-paying jobs. Those stints as well as the partnerships that I’ve gained through my travel blog had also helped me score more trips to different places. And then somewhere mid-2014, one of the companies that I worked for sparked the idea of my online business today which I run together with my boyfriend (who also travels along with me).
So to sum it up, it’s basically my work as a digital nomad, entrepreneur, and blogger that enabled me to travel to so many places!
-I want to talk about your country. I’m planning on visiting The Philippines this year, but when people talk about SE Asia, you usually hear about them visiting Thailand and its neighbors… Do you think Philippines is being over looked? It seems to have just as much to offer.
That’s great to hear that you’re planning on visiting! And sadly, what you’re saying is true… I learned while traveling that most Europeans and Americans (for example) really do instantly think of Thailand as the first destination to go to when the topic is about SEA countries. Now of course I know the beauty of Thailand because I’ve been there before, but indeed, I think that the Philippines is a bit overlooked. It surely has a LOT to offer too!
You’ve probably heard of our famous ‘white beaches‘ Boracay but I assure you, that’s not what we only have. We have far more islands, spots, beaches (even whiter ones!) and natural attractions that are not as commercialized, but their beauty would definitely take your breath away!
…But actually, I think we’re slowly gaining more attention because of some famous foreign travel bloggers who have started talking about our country, and even living there permanently. So I’m very thankful for those people!
– So what would you say was your biggest accomplishment of 2014? What did you, a Filipino nomad, do?
This is a hard question, because I consider all of my travels to be big accomplishments! (Holding a Filipino Visa is difficult especially if I’m aiming to travel to Europe; that’s why I’m glad that I managed to even land here in this continent).
But if I really have to cite the biggest accomplishment that I had last year, then I guess it will be the time when I finally formed a business of my own (which is also one of my life goals), stabilizing it, and running it with the best partner that I could ever have in this world! I think that’s a great accomplishment in itself because it strengthens and secures my financial disposition so that I can continue living a life of travel for the rest of my life.
– And what about 2015? Any big travel plans?
I have to confess that I never really plan that far ahead; I travel in a way that may be slow but spontaneous. Plus, given the fact that I now have stabilized my work and business, I am free to go to places at my own pace.
However, I do wish to explore more of Europe: Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Austria, Czech Republic, and more! I also want to land into South Africa, or South America. And oh, there’s New Zealand! I am a HUGE fan of the LOTR franchise, and my hometown (Batanes) is always being tied to the ‘looks’ of New Zealand so I really want to see this country for myself with my own eyes!
Ultimately: I really can’t tell exactly where I plan to go first or what countries I will really focus on this year. We’ll just have to see what the next months may bring me!
-If you wanted to inspire someone to travel, what would you tell them? In other words, what advise or tips would you give someone who really wants to travel, but who doesn’t think its possible?
It’s VERY possible. If I did it, then you can do it too! We always come up with excuses like not having enough money, time, etc. but if you look deeper, those excuses are invalid because you know for yourself that it IS possible. Fear and failure are just about the main factors that’s wholly stopping you… and here’s what I have to say: it’s actually a LOT LESS scary thank you think. And I’m definitely sure that if you put your mind into it, you won’t fail at all.
So. Just. Do. It.
You wouldn’t want to be one of those people who would look back on their life with the bitter realization that they are full of regrets and what-ifs. Please don’t be one of those people because I have met far too many of those individuals.
I leave you with this quote that I hope you’ll always remember: “Making a big life change is pretty scary. But you know what’s even scarier? Regret.”