Welcome to Wander.Seek.Find’s newest segment: ‘Living The Dream’, where I interview people I’ve met along my journey who really are leading the way in stopping at nothing to chase their dreams and make the most of their lives.
So, without further ado, I’m so excited to present to you all a very cool chick hailing from The Philippines.
As you’ll soon find out, Aileen Adalid is an absolute inspiration to thousands of young people (especially the ladies), having quit her hard-earned corporate job in South-East Asia to follow her true passions instead.
She’s able to boast (not that she does) a social following of over 160,000 people a month!
And this is how it all happened…
She’s Living The Dream
Hi Aileen, thanks so much for taking the time to have a chat!
For those reading who may not be too familiar, can you sum your story up in 100 words or less?
Hi Trent, of course!
Well, at 21, I was working at an investment bank and the future looked bright for me. However, despite any achievements that I gained, I realized that the corporate life didn’t fit me at all. Simply put: it wasn’t my passion, and I surely didn’t want to waste my 20s stuck in a job that I didn’t love.
And so, after some preparations, I quit my job to travel the world! Today, I am a successful digital nomad and entrepreneur living a sustainable traveling lifestyle and through my blog, iAmAileen.com, I aim to inspire others to go after their travel dreams.
And tell us about your last 12 months? You’ve been kicking some major goals!
Thanks, it really has been quite a whirlwind. You see, it was only a year ago that I decided to launch my travel blog after having traveled for almost a year after I quit my job.
At first, I only wanted to put up a website so that I can share my stories with friends and strangers of the internet who would happen to pass by my blog on accident.
However, after posting an article that went viral on the internet, things changed a whole lot. Big publications were suddenly writing about me, featuring my articles, or even asking for my write-ups!
To name a few, they were National Geographic, Lonely Planet, Huffington Post, and more. I really didn’t expect it but ever since then, given the attention that I suddenly received, I decided to make full use of that influence in order to help other people make their travel dreams happen.
Lately, I have just built up a forum or community for travelers so that we can all help one another in our travels and even in travel blogging.
To add, my online business also just reached its 1st year last July of this year and it has been a major success so far. Basically, my 2015 has been the ‘stuff of my dreams’ since I really made my goals a reality: financial stability, world travel, and travel blogging.
So how do you define success then? How do you define happiness?
Success for me will never be about the money and the fame that I get from the things that I do. Truth be told, I always call those things as perks or bonuses that I achieve in return for working hard to make my life better and for doing what I love.
Because at the very core, I feel that success is when I feel truly happy about my life. If I can live each day knowing that I have made a positive impact in other people’s lives and that I have created a balance in all aspects of my life – that’s my definition of success. And with how I am right now, I think that I have really become successful!
I would definitely call your lifestyle a success too! But what do you do for fun?
What else… but traveling! I have always loved the idea and the activity of exploring other countries and meeting foreign people ever since I was a child — especially since I was born in such a small island in the Philippines. But other than traveling, I have other things that I do for fun too which I think not a lot of people know.
For one, I love art and design and if I have the time, you would find me drawing scribbles and portraits of random things and faces. I also love to sing and dance since it was something that I enjoyed doing ever since I was a teenager.
In fact, I used to be in a band and in a dance group and right now, whenever I’m traveling, I always try to look for a karaoke or a dancefloor! (Haha). Lastly, I love to cook (apart from loving eating) and this traveling lifestyle helps a lot since it constantly introduces me to new culinary delights to try and test.
That desk job? Was that the original plan? What would you be doing if you hadn’t chased your dreams?
Yes it definitely was — it was where everything started anyway! So if I didn’t have the courage back then to chase after my dreams, I would probably still be working for that international investment bank spending most of my days on overtime at work.
Sure, I might have managed to do trips but it will be very scarce given the work schedule as well as given how I lived in a 3rd world country (the salary wasn’t so good).
But above all, if I didn’t take the ‘leap’ I would surely be leading an unhappy life and doing things on autopilot (wake up – work – go home – sleep). So I’m glad that I didn’t settle!
How would you define a perfect day?
I think that any day that makes me think: “I hope this day never ends…” constitutes a perfect day for me!
Favourite food on the road?
This a tough question! There are sooo many dishes out there that I love and I can’t really just pick one. Though normally, I love comfort food. Anything that is hearty and warm would surely be my go-to dish. If I really have to make it very specific, I guess you’ll most likely find me searching for Thai dishes – they are just so good especially with how it integrates the mix of the four tastes: sour, sweet, salty and spicy.
Explain a day in the life of Aileen…
As a digital nomad, my day primarily is a mix of work and play but mostly in percentages like this: 30% work, 70% play. It used to be 60% work and 40% play when I first started out; but ever since my business took off, the new percentages took place and I’m loving every second of it!
What are you currently working towards?
My current online business isn’t entirely related to travel, it’s more related to my love for business. So lately, I have been trying to develop a new start-up that’s more related to travel and that could help others in their trips around the world. I can’t divulge any details yet, but it’s going to be exciting!
Other than this, I’m constantly working towards my life goal of exploring all the countries in the world! I’m nowhere near 50% but I’m surely making my way there.
Favourite travel destination?
Another tough question! But yeah, by now it’s pretty clear that it’s hard for me to pick favourites especially since there are so many wonderful things in this world.
My answer might not really be the answer you’re looking for but I’m going to say that Asia will always hold a special place in my heart. Not just because I come from that continent, but simply because it just has the kind of culture, people, and scenes that make my heart swell.
Favourite travel memory?
It will have to be the day when I handed in my resignation because right after I did it, I booked a trip to a place in the Philippines and that move just felt so liberating! It was like the signal wherein I finally stepped into the concept of freedom that I have always dreamed of.
What’s your proudest achievement?
I think the fact alone that I was able to make this traveling lifestyle happen despite all the odds that I had to face – non-rich stature and powerless 3rd world passport – while inspiring other people to strive for their dreams is my proudest achievement so far.
Explain your life 10 years from now
10 years from now, I’ll definitely still be traveling even if I have already explored most of the countries in the world. Also, by that time, I believe that I would have already initiated my ‘grand goal’.
You see, I have this dream that in the future, I can set up my own special organization that will try to help answer the world’s problem (e.g. poverty, pollution etc.).
I know what you’re thinking – I could already start that now but the reason why I haven’t started it yet is because I want to equip myself first with enough insight and skills about the world in order to effectively launch it.
And I think that more traveling and years of exploration and interactions will help me achieve that as I grow more as a person and fill the gaps of my knowledge to lessen my ignorance on some concepts in this world.
What’s your tip for anyone out there wishing they could follow their dreams?
The first step would be to believe that you COULD. You always could. Much like everyone else, a lot of things used to hold me back as well from following my dreams and one of those factors are due to the ideas that the majority of society feed into my brain: “You’ll fail.” “You won’t go far in life without working for a company.” “It’s just impossible!”
But apart from that, clearly, it’s also because I was holding myself back. I let myself be affected by such pessimistic thoughts, believing that there really isn’t any way to do it. So, it’s important that you take hold of those thoughts and turn them around because it really helps. And once you have that control, take the action to make your dreams a reality: do extensive research, find a mentor, set a plan, set a deadline, etc.
Your biggest key to happiness?
Everyone’s road to happiness is different since we each create our own, and for me, my biggest key to happiness would be following and doing the things that I love and making others happy as well because of it. There’s really no greater fulfillment that I can get other than from that.
Thank you so much for your time, Aileen! You truly are a trailblazer, inspiring thousands across the world (including myself) to follow their dreams.
If you loved this interview and Aileen’s story living the dream, then please share this far and wide on facebook!
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