When Tom and I started blogging, we were on the hunt for awesome blogs to follow and Aileen’s blog was one of them! We love her blogging style and website, but even more, we love her story and what it represents. The will to go beyond social norms and do more than just exist!
- So tell us a little bit about you and your blog, I am Aileen
- How did you first get into travel? How would you say you have grown as a traveler compared to your first trips?
- What inspires you to travel? What do you love most about traveling?
- What are your top 3 dream destinations and why? What would you like to see?
- What are you top 5 travel essentials?
- Do you have any advice for people that want to travel and don’t know where to start?
So tell us a little bit about you and your blog, I am Aileen
My name is Aileen Adalid. When I was 21, I realized that the ‘typical flow of life wasn’t working out for me. I was working at an investment bank at that time for almost 2 years already after graduating from university, and in almost every day of my working life, I was asking myself: “So this is it? Next step is to marry someone, buy a house, pay the mortgage, have kids, rear them, and then retire?”
It didn’t sit well with me. I felt suffocated and limited. I wanted a way out.
One day, life seemed to have heard my plea when I started to meet a lot of backpackers, nomads, and entrepreneurs who were passing through the city (at that time, I was doing lifestyle blogging on the side to de-stress myself from ‘life’ and work, and some media invitations and parties have led me to this crowd).
And well, meeting them was a breath of fresh air! It was in those moments that they made me realize that my dreams of traveling the world and working for myself was NOT impossible — it was possible! Along the way, I even figured out that I had a hobby (graphic + web design) and passion (marketing) that could make me do exactly what I want.
And so, in that same year, I took the steps to quitting my job and as of April 2013, I was FREE! I have been traveling since then and have even managed to transition from a digital freelancer into an online entrepreneur, making me lead an even more sustainable traveling lifestyle at the moment.
Today, I am trying to document my story and travels in my travel blog, iAmAileen.com, which was just launched last September 2014. In this website, I aim to help and inspire other people who have the same travel dreams while also sharing all the exciting possibilities that a ‘nomadic’ life can bring!
How did you first get into travel? How would you say you have grown as a traveler compared to your first trips?
I grew up in a small and almost ‘unknown’ island in the Philippines, Batanes, so you could imagine how I started to develop an intense feeling of wanderlust ever since I was a kid! My hometown was a beautiful paradise in itself, so with that kind of beauty, I knew that there could be more wonderful things that I can see out ‘there’; that’s why as early as then, I was already hungry for all of that and all the experiences that I can get to have in this world.
Naturally, I made it my goal to travel for as long as I could! We know how that turned out when I hit a wall while working in my office job; nevertheless, I’m glad that I managed to turn it around.
Now, as I have grown into the ‘traveler’ that I am, I definitely saw a change in the pace and attitude that I have towards travel. Before, I used to breeze by destinations with frenzied clicks of my camera and then taking on whatever adventure that I can get my hands on. That’s fine in a sense, of course, but presently, I have learned to take it slow, to really immerse myself in a new destination, and to detach myself from my gadgets once in a while – and it totally makes for a fuller experience! Along with it, I have also learned to be more responsible with my travel choices, especially with any kind of activity that involves animals, ethnic tribes, etc.
What inspires you to travel? What do you love most about traveling?
I really love traveling because it gives me a lot of life lessons that I bet I wouldn’t have known if I were stuck in one place. I know for myself anyway that at the very start, there are tons of people, cultures, history, food, and customs in the world that I can discover and learn. That’s why every day, I am inspired to keep on doing what I do! (Read: Why Traveling Isn’t for Everyone)
Similarly, this will sound very clichéd, but at the very core, I love how travel gives me a deeper appreciation and understanding of everyone and everything in this world. The way I see it, travel is a form of the constant learning process that helps in making us more ‘tolerant’ to the world around us. It helps us look past the wrong and bad side of things. It’s like the more people we meet and the more experiences we encounter, the more understanding we become of others’ quirks. This, in my opinion, is a great life skill that everyone should come to learn because I think that most of the problems in this world are rooted from too many prejudices.
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What are your top 3 dream destinations and why? What would you like to see?
My triple A’s: Africa, Antarctica, and the Arctic Circle!
This was actually a hard ‘list’ for me to come up with because there are a lot of stunning places around the globe; but after much deliberation, I have decided that these are my top 3 and it’s mostly because of how they are somewhat ‘disconnected’ to the bustling world that we have now. Rich of untouched nature and landscapes, I’m definitely looking forward to the day that I can tick them off my list!
What are you top 5 travel essentials?
Laptop – My business is online so I often can’t let go of this baby.
Camera – I love documenting stuff and besides, I have this fear that one day I might wake up with all my memory gone; so I’d like to have my best moments on print/file!
Glasses / Contacts – I have veeery bad eyesight. One time I forgot to pack these and I was practically wandering around a town ‘blindly’. It was definitely not a good scenario!
Passport – For obvious reasons 😉
Money – Likewise.
Do you have any advice for people that want to travel and don’t know where to start?
First think of the top destination that you would want to go to — from there, determine the means on how you can afford that journey. If you’re planning on traveling long term, this process will become even more thorough. Besides, though I encourage everyone to pursue their passion of traveling, it is still and always important to be prepared and informed and to think long term about how you can sustain yourself in that adventure.
There are a lot of factors to consider when making this kind of decision and I have detailed it all in my ‘5 Steps to Start a Life of Travel’ article. I dearly hope it helps you!