Our “I Am Her” series features the female movers and shakers of the industry to learn how femininity and power coincide beautifully and seamlessly together.
Before she became a successful 'digital nomad' and entrepreneur, Aileen Adalid chose to quit her corporate job at age 21 and took a major risk to follow her passion for travelling. She calls it a 'crazy' decision — a result of being young and broke and living with nothing but the fire of a dream — but now, four years later, she's embracing her wanderlust to the fullest extent, sharing her adventures through her blog iamaileen.com, and being an inspiration to many people. Her story even caught the eye of international media including the National Geographic and BBC Travel.
Read on as we chat with Adalid, and talk about her travel essentials, favourite places she's visited, and life lessons on taking a major leap to reach for your dream.
Fill in the blanks: I am a _________, a __________, and a _____________.
I am a world traveller, an entrepreneur, and an infinitely curious gal.
You'll typically find me in pursuit of things that are unique and intriguing, constantly pondering about the 'what ifs' and 'whys'. What even comes hand in hand with my curiosity would also be my sensitivity; I will always approach differing ideas, people, places or things with an open mind. This will often lead me to more and more people and experiences, and the more it happens, the more understanding I become.
What made you fall in love with travelling?
I grew up on a small island in the Philippines called Batanes. The first time that I travelled outside of my hometown, I was ecstatic. The first time that I travelled outside of the Philippines, I was thrilled.
Right then and there, I just knew that there was a massive number of things that I haven't felt, heard, seen, smelled, and tasted... not to mention the range of cultures and people that I haven't met yet! That being said, I just simply wanted to correct that, one plane ticket at a time, as I try and 'soak in' everything that's around this big world that we have.
Your story is a good example of "take a risk and follow your passion", but we're sure it's not something that easy. What made you take the leap anyway?
It surely wasn't easy at first, especially because not only was I young and broke, but also because with our kind of culture and society, we are generally conditioned to settle for security (and that dreams would somehow have to take the backseat). But after I started to meet digital nomads from around the world who were passing through the city, I was hit by the sudden realisation that there was a better path for me. I even found out that I had a hobby (graphic and web design) and a skill (marketing) that I both enjoy which could enable me to make my travel and entrepreneurial dreams come true.
Additionally, meeting several adults who expressed their regret of not making the most of their younger years also helped made me realise that I didn't want to have similar sentiments when I grow older. I know that some people enjoy the 9-to-5 job, but it wasn't the case for me. Fear kept me in place but I knew that I shouldn't let that lead me.
These are just some of the many reasons why I eventually had the drive to go and take the leap towards my aspirations, no matter how unusual it was for my family and friends at that time.
You’re the definition of looking good while doing what you do. How do you stay inspired and empowered to make that happen every day?
I guess for me, it all boils down to being comfortable not only with my own skin but with my whole 'being' too. You see, once I started loving myself wholly — flaws included — it became easy and natural to be just who I am. I believe it also helps that I'm now doing something that I absolutely enjoy and love since it reflects on the way that I act and present myself.
Out of all of the places you've been to, which three are your best picks and why?
This is a very difficult question because each and every place has its own distinct charm and quirks. But I guess if I really have to pick three, it would be Japan because I'm so in love with their culture, customs, and way of life. It's precise, it's mysterious and an alluring mix of old and new; New Zealand for its amazing landscapes and interesting Maori culture (plus, I'm a Lord of the Rings fan, too!); and the Philippines. This is not because of bias. As I travel around the world, I see more and more how wonderful our country is. Sure, we have our flaws but the beauty of our country and our people can be quite unparalleled.
Share with us five essentials in your Clozette.
First and foremost, my camera and laptop gear. These things are my lifeline especially with the kind of work that I do. Second, dresses — lots of them. I love to wear dresses because they're the kind of clothing that I feel most comfortable in (plus, they're easy to put on and pack, too). Third would be sunblock. From all of my travels, all of the youthful-looking adults that I've met collectively had one beauty secret: applying sunblock every day.With my kind of lifestyle, I find it even more imperative to start developing the same habit. Fourth would be my Kindle. I am in love with books and I always find joy in reading; this is always with me especially when I travel. Last but not the least would be my L'Oreal Paris Superliner Eyeliner. An eyeliner is my number one staple beauty item and this is my go-to brand
With my kind of lifestyle, I find it even more imperative to start developing the same habit. Fourth would be my Kindle. I am in love with books and I always find joy in reading; this is always with me especially when I travel. Last but not the least would be my L'Oreal Paris Superliner Eyeliner. An eyeliner is my number one staple beauty item and this is my go-to brand because, from all of the hundreds of eyeliners I've tried, this is the only one that really stays all day.
Last but not the least, what's your biggest takeaway from these experiences?
No matter how you're good at your job or profession, you will just end up unhappy if it's something that you don't dream of doing. It will surely refrain you from doing greater things in your life. Besides, if you can focus all of that effort into something that you're truly passionate about, you will not only be good at it but you will become a 'master' of it, and you will become happier. You can even earn more.
Plus, it's never really impossible — take it from me, who had no prior background in entrepreneurship nor design and who had almost zero money to my name. All I did was work from the ground up, and you can, too.