Today, I’m flirting with Aileen of I am Aileen.
Let’s start with an easy question – tell me about yourself and your blog.
My name is Aileen Adalid. When I was 21, I quit my corporate job in the Philippines to travel the world. My family and friends thought that I was crazy especially because I had a bright future with the company that I was working for — but what they didn’t know was that despite being one of the best employees, I was not happy nor was I inspired. I realized that I didn’t want to keep on working for somebody else anymore, I wanted to go after what I wanted in life and to build a profession that I can control and sustain. I no longer wanted to do the ‘rat race’ either, nor be trapped in society’s predefined concepts of security.
So for a couple of months, I worked hard to jumpstart the life that I wanted and things went really well that today, I am a digital nomad and entrepreneur living a sustainable travel lifestyle! I am happy too! (Maybe even more than happy!)
If anybody wants to follow my adventures, they can always head over to my blog: ‘iAmAileen.com’. Other than sharing my travels, through my blog, I also aim to show that a life of travel is not only for the rich, and that it is absolutely possible to explore the globe in a sustainable manner (take it from me who was born in a 3rd world country with only a 3rd world passport that has limited visa-free countries worldwide!). How do I plan to accomplish such goals? By inspiring others with my life story and by helping others with the regular helpful articles that I post (travel hacks, resources, etc.)
What’s your favorite UNESCO world heritage site?
There’s just so many wonderful sites in the UNESCO list! But okay, if I really have to mention only one, it would be the Tubbataha Reefs in the Philippines. This place is marvelous and it has the greatest diversity of marine life! I always recommend others to try and explore this part of the world especially if they want to see the beauty that the sea has to offer. Otherwise, almost every spot in the Philippines has pristine coral reefs that it makes for a really good diving destination among many others!
Why do you travel?
It has always been my passion to travel the world — I find joy and fulfillment with it. Besides, with this vast world that we have, I surely didn’t want to live in my own little bubble… I want to see everything for as much as I could! I want to soak it all in. I want to be exposed to foreign places, sights, cultures, people, customs, wildlife, and more. One can say that it is some sort of ‘hunger’ and I am on a mission of quenching it!
What are your top 3 essential travel items?
My laptop, camera, and passport.
Favorite “off the beaten path” destination?
In my country, when someone mentions ‘France’, what they mostly think about is Paris. They wouldn’t think of any other place to go to in that country, and I find that sad because France has so much more to offer! For instance, during the road trip that I did back in 2013 with my partner, Jonas, we stumbled into different European towns and found so many interesting things!
One place that we got ourselves into was Annecy. Nestled within the French Alps, speckled with lush forests, and blessed with an exquisite lake, this quaint little municipality is stunning! I wouldn’t mind coming there again!
Most awkward travel moment?
Though I sometimes travel alone or with friends, I mostly travel with Jonas but despite such fact, there have been times that I still find myself being a target of the opposite sex. And well… I find that extremely uncomfortable. One time, we were dining in this restaurant in Belgium and as we left, I realized that I forgot one of my bags under our table. I quickly went back to the establishment to retrieve it and I was glad that the management took care of it.
As one of the male staff handed it back to me, he lightly quipped, “Maybe the next time you leave something with us, it would be your cell number?”
I had to tell him that I have a boyfriend and he replied, “I know.”
Right then and there, I badly wanted to punch him so that I could wipe the smirk off his face, but in the end, I chose to ignore his remark, curtly thanked him for securing my bag, and swiftly left. I told Jonas about it and he laughed so much! I had to laugh too; but I guess, these days, I no longer know how to handle the ‘advances’ of other men and that it becomes more of an awkward thing if they still do it despite knowing that I already have a partner! Oh well… *laughs*
Most memorable travel moment?
It would have to be our paragliding experience in Annecy! I previously mentioned that this town was somewhere in the French Alps and that it has a lovely lake smacked in the middle; so naturally, a sight-seeing spree ‘up high’ would be a wonderful opportunity and that’s why we took the chance to try tandem paragliding!
Now, this was memorable for me because it was the first big challenge that I did as I started a travel lifestyle. You see, I’m terribly afraid of heights, but I just know that I wanted to try paragliding… and I’m glad I did! It was such an amazing experience (though I was shaking a lot at first!) that I will forever cherish.
As of this moment, I still have my fear of heights, but I will still do it again if I were given the chance. In fact, I am planning on doing sky diving soon! Wish me luck!
Here’s a question most travelers hate, but readers love: What’s your top 3 “favorite” travel destinations (if you’re absolutely forced to choose)?
Ah, yes, this is something we would hate since there’s just so many wonderful places in the world. 😛 But if it really has to be only 3 then it would be:
- Japan – I am in love with their culture!
- New Zealand – for its amazing natural landscapes (and I’m an LOTR fan too!)
- Philippines – it may be my hometown, but it really is a wonderful country! You just have to see it for yourself why this will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Do you have a travel tip or pearl of wisdom to impart upon my readers?
If you want to start a life of travel (or if you simply want to travel to somewhere), then please… just do it. Don’t let anyone hold you back — not even yourself! There’s just too many things out there that can make you fall in love with life over and over again; I know this and you know this as well. So I say take that leap! (You can always head on over to my blog for tips too!)
And if you ever want to lead a traveling lifestyle like I do, remember to always try to think long term. There are numerous jobs on the road that can keep you going for years and it’s totally fine to do that! But it is always important to think of your future too. (Surely, you wouldn’t want to keep working for bars, hostels, etc. for the rest of your life, right?).
To give you an idea, you can be a digital nomad like me, or an online entrepreneur! Other people opt to become English teachers abroad, diving instructors, etc. and if you’re still not sure about what you would want to do later on, it’s fine. I’m pretty sure that along the way, travel will help you find the answer through the experiences you encounter and the people that you meet which will all give you huge doses of inspiration!
How can readers keep in touch with you?