A Convo with You is a segment of this blog on where we will be featuring personalities that we met over the course of our travel. To know more about it visit this link "A Convo with You"
Aileen Adalid, a Filipina travel blogger, is our very first feature! We believe that she is the best one to start it all, because her story as a traveler may truly inspire not just you who is reading this, but also us, who adores her travel life. We wish that most of you who will read her story will be more motivated for the goals that you hope to achieve. For now, Conversations of Us would like to present, Aileen of iAmAileen.com.
Conversations of Us: What do you want the readers to know about yourself? Aileen Adalid: My name is Aileen, and I am one of those people who ditched a secure corporate job in exchange for a life of travel at the age of 21. I’ve been on a journey around the world for over 3 years now, and I’m not stopping anytime soon!
As my story goes, I first funded my trips by working online right after I quit my office job; but a year after I jumpstarted my nomadic dreams, I managed to set up an online business that made me lead an even more sustainable traveling lifestyle now (…and beyond!).
When the business became stable, I launched my blog, iAmAileen.com, in 2014. I set it up with no grand ambitions at all — just a space online where I can share my adventures and experiences to family, friends, and strangers of the internet. However, several posts of mine unexpectedly went viral and as a current online influencer and personality, my aim has surely evolved: I now desire to keep on inspiring and helping others in making their dreams come true, no matter their life circumstances. Besides, I personally started from the ground up: I had no riches nor was I from a rich family, and yet… I made this lifestyle happen. Because of that and more, I want to share all the things that I’ve learned with others in order to ultimately show them that a combination of hard work and smart decisions can surely make any seemingly impossible dream possible.
CoU: What inspired you to quit your job and explore the world for a living? AA:Exploring the world and working for myself has always been my dream; however, as with the typical flow of life and our current society’s influences, I was long conditioned to put my ‘radical’ dreams in the backseat — I was conditioned to fear a risky life such as that of what I dream of.
Two years into my ‘secure’ job back at an investment bank, I found myself terribly uninspired. I just felt that my life didn’t fit the cubicle life that our elders would so often recommend — I felt stuck! But the tragedy of it all? I simply didn’t know HOW to get out of that rut… until I started to meet traveling nomads who were passing through the city.
They were like a breath of fresh air as they showed me that my dreams weren’t so crazy at all. As I talked to them more and more, I got fed with a lot of useful ideas and a sense of motivation that made everything seem and feel so possible (and it was!). Right then and there, I got the ‘drive’ and ‘push’ that I was missing. With a bit of preparation beforehand, I finally took the leap and I never looked back since.
CoU: Are there any struggles that you've encountered along the way or even now? AA:Definitely! At the start, I’ve battled a lot with homesickness and culture shocks. Then came the challenges with language, mobility, and so many other issues that a nomadic life can bring to the ‘newbie’ that I was.
But as time passed on, I learned how to get by all of my struggles and worries… and I’ve come to see that this is what travel does to anyone: over time, it simply opens you up to a whole range of opportunities that will slowly harden and hone you into a person that can handle anything that comes your way.
CoU: Do you feel homesick at times, especially that it takes long too before you go back to your home country? AA: As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve surely been homesick — it’s an inevitable part of this kind of life; more so if one chooses to go to the other side of the world (like I do!). Nevertheless, I’ve managed to deal with it as time passed on.
For one thing, technology constantly helps in bridging the gap in order to keep me connected and updated with my friends and family back home. For moments when I miss the warmth of those people, I seek them out instead in the people that are nearest to me during my travels: new friends, new ‘families’, and new faces. At times it works, at times it doesn’t… but it just happens: you get used to it. You deal with it. And it becomes fine and ‘normal’.
It may not be ideal, but it’s a price that I’m willing to pay for the fulfilment and joy that I get for following my dreams.
CoU: We know that the Philippine passport is not that powerful, but what made you decide to still go and follow what your heart desires in traveling? AA: One of the things that I constantly want to prove and show to others is that the circumstances that we are born into should never be a hindrance to what we want from life. Of course it wouldn’t always be easy (you’ll often fail!), but the fact that we try and persevere to get to the point that we want the most is an act in itself that will bear fruit in the long run.
Besides, one of the worst things that we can ever do to ourselves is to settle and say, “but this is just how it is. There’s nothing I can do about it.” NO… You can always do something about it.
I’ve seen far too many people hold so many regrets in their life and I don’t want to end up like that. These are but some of the many factors as to why I don’t let my limited passport ‘limit’ me from the things that I aspire.
Remember: life IS short.
CoU: This may be out of context, but do you have a song or music empowers you as you travel? AA: I’ve got a lot of songs that help empower me while I travel, but probably… the one song that is always right off the top of my head would be Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”. It’s such an ‘oldie’, BUT it remains to be a ‘goodie’ (at least for me!). In fact, it never fails to keep my spirits up whenever I’m in front of a hurdle, or whenever I’m starting to doubt who I am or what I’m doing.
The thing is, though the song’s lyrics are seemingly directed at someone, sometimes, I rather direct the lyrics at myself. (This is because life has surely taught me that as humans, our #1 enemy often ends up to be our own selves and overcoming the hurdles that we inadvertently set up for ourselves can be absolutely empowering).
CoU: Best city may be cliché, but for you what city and country truly captured your heart?
AA:This is a tough question because I always find it hard to play favorites! After all, there are far too many places around the world that are amazing in their own way. But okay, if I were to pick one now… it would have to be Tokyo.
Now hold on: the Philippines will always have a special place in my heart! But ever since I stepped foot in Tokyo, I was simply blown away by the energy that surrounded that place… it was exhilarating. Truth be told, up to this day, I can’t shake that feeling off and I have been constantly yearning for that place over and over again. There are just so many things to see and do in Tokyo — with a good mix of the old and the new — which makes me seriously think that a lifetime wouldn’t really suffice in doing each and everything there!
CoU: What is your dream country? AA: I am a huuuuge LOTR (Lord of the Rings) fan! Not only did it help inspire me at such an early age to develop a grand dream of going out on adventures of my own, but it had also wholly captivated me with its breathtaking scenes and views that were mostly taken — where else but — in New Zealand! So yes, I have been eyeing on visiting this amazing country for a while now.
I may be enraptured by the hustle and bustle of cities, but the calm and serenity of nature has always called out to me the most. That being said, I do believe that New Zealand will give me that ultimate ‘high’, especially since it has been my dream country ever since I was young.
CoU: If you could switch lives with someone who will it be and why?
AA: might seem arrogant of me to say, but believe me when I say that I’m stating this in all humbleness: I don’t want to switch lives with anyone else. This is not to say that my life has been perfect because it’s definitely not; but all the hardships and successes that I went through are a combination of things that I wouldn’t want to separate from myself. They are ‘mine’ alone, and I’d like to keep them as a part of me until the day I die.
So instead of switching lives, I’d rather like to have the opportunity to just sit down, talk, and be friends with amazing people such as that of Anthony Bourdain. The way I see it, he’s a legendary foodie and traveler, and I think that it would be a LOT of fun to talk to him and ‘pick his brain’!
CoU: Lastly, give us a quote or saying that you live by and that you've always wanted to share to everyone who is being inspired by you.
AA: I live by this quote: “Making a big life change is pretty scary. But you know what’s even scarier? Regret.”
As cliché as this might sound: we only live once. So it helps to make the most of our time in this life by doing the things that we actually like to do and achieve — NOT the things that society or that other people have dictated us to do. Remember: this is YOUR life. Not theirs.
Now surely, this principle doesn’t apply to big life changes alone but in small ones too. I’ve learned that by constantly making the conscious effort of choosing the things that make you happy everyday, you would gradually build it as a habit that will lead you to a more fulfilling life... and isn’t that what we all aspire for?
So as Nike would put it, if you’ve ever got something that you want but are somehow hesitant on doing, go shake off that feeling and make it a point to just do it. ;)