Where are you from?
I am a full-blooded Ivatan born in Basco, Batanes — the northernmost island of Asia’s Pearl of the Orient Seas: the Philippines. Batanes is a really small island and it’s also almost unknown… I say this because in most maps, it won’t be visible at all. (But I swear to you, it’s one of the loveliest and greenest places that I’ve ever seen; no bias at all!)
Usual follow-up question: What languages do you speak of? What dialect do you have in Batanes?
I speak Filipino/Tagalog, English, and Ivatan — our dialect in Batanes. (Currently, I’m trying to learn Dutch so… let’s see how it goes!)
How old are you? How tall and how heavy are you as well?
This is a bit of a creepy question that I typically get… Asking for only my age is fine, but when it comes along with added questions about my height and weight? That’s where it gets a bit fishy. Haha! Anyhow…
MY AGE: I am in my early 20s! This is as of 2014 – so in case you’re reading this and it’s 2030 already or something, you can just do the math because obviously, in years to come, I won’t even bother coming back here to edit it since I’ll probably forget that this is even here! (Please don’t expect me to say my exact birth date because I will never disclose that due to security/privacy reasons).
MY HEIGHT: 5’5
MY WEIGHT: I usually weigh 55 kilos. So, I can border on 57 kilos after eating a humongous meal— but that always go back to 55 once metabolism kicks in. Ha! Was that a T.M.I. for you? Good. Now stop being creepy :P
You’re so young when you quit your job! How and why?
After a 4-year business management course, I graduated university at 19. A few months after that, I got a job in an investment bank — I have worked there for 2 years and have handed in my resignation at 21 to travel the world.
Why did I quit my corporate job, you ask? Though the future was bright for me, I was terribly uninspired. I really thought at first that it was the only ‘ticket’ for securing my future and for gaining the chance to travel the world. But such was NOT true because ascending the ‘corporate ladder’ takes time, I was underpaid (I work in a 3rd world country anyway as a fresh graduate) and given the ‘rat race’ environment, I never really had much time for myself. Therefore, I gradually realized that it was not the kind of life that I wanted. It wasn’t my passion, especially because I want to control my time, venture out into the world as I work for no one else but myself.
So before I hit my 2nd year, I set out to find ways on creating a sustainable profession that would enable me to travel the world WHILE earning through a job that I can control. Going by my story, I did become successful in doing so! If you want to learn more about that journey, you can read this article.
How can you afford to travel? Are you rich?!
No, not at all! …though I wish I am rich! (But I do think that I am rich in experiences, love, support, and more! Haha!) I get a lot of these kinds of comments and I can understand why anyone would think so since travel is typically deemed as an expensive lifestyle. However, such is NOT true. Travel does require money — that’s for sure; but it doesn’t have to be costly. It will only be costly if you choose to lead a travel lifestyle that is extravagant.
Now, to correct all the misconceptions about me, once and for all: I am NOT rich.
My parents are NOT rich either and they have NOT given me money for these travels. (But of course I am forever thankful for the education and moral support that they have given me over the years). I DON’T even have some sort of sugar daddy/mommy funding this lifestyle because ultimately, I don’t like depending on other people.
Do know that I alone have made this lifestyle happen through hard work and resourcefulness as it was my dream and goal to create a sustainable profession that will enable me to travel while working for myself all at the same time. Given that fact, I do have the mission of spreading the awareness that a life of travel is absolutely possible even if you’re not rich and even if you only have a limited third world passport (like me).
So how have I afforded all of my travels? Apart from the free all-expense-paid trips that I regularly get from this travel blog, I am able to fund my travels mainly through my online business (AdalidGear.com) and this travel blog (free all-expense-paid trips, etc.) Before this entrepreneurial journey though, I was able to continue a life of travel by doing digital nomad work (graphic design, web development, marketing, etc.)
If you want to learn more about how I started this all, you can read these articles: “How I Can Afford to Travel Around the World. You Can, Too!” and/or “The 5 Steps I Took to Start a Life of Travel”
Who do you travel with?
At the start, I traveled alone, with my then ex, or with friends. Lately, I travel solo more and I’m loving it a LOT!
Do you have any tips for travel gear, resources, etc.?
I saw you on Facebook! Can I add you?
I get a lot of friend requests every day but… unfortunately, if we have not met before or if we don’t know each other at all, then I would have to tell you: “I’m sorry.” I really want to keep my Facebook page private at the very least (because my life is almost public to the internet with this blog) so that’s why I just don’t add anyone over there. If you want, you can just follow my profile because sometimes, I do Public posts too!
Otherwise, you can do the whole shebang and just follow my official Facebook page here and send me messages — I always reply! Or… you can come and join my travel forum too at: ‘Ultimate Travel Group‘. See you there!
How can I contact you?
You can get in touch with me through my contact page.
You can also try getting in touch with me through my social account pages. (Links can be found at the top bar; they’re in the form of icons).
You’re a digital nomad? What’s that?
Yes I am. In simple words: a digital nomad is someone who works online, enabling him/her to work anywhere and anytime that he/she wants. (For a more detailed explanation, see here.)
For my case, I am a digital nomad because I own an online Amazon business named as Adalid Gear along with my boyfriend, Jonas. (If you want to check it out, go to our main website at: http://www.AdalidGear.com) Plus! I also do graphic and web design on the side—which is all so purr-fect! ♥
To know more about my lifestyle of working remotely, see here!
How do you earn money?
Currently, my income mainly comes from our Amazon business, Adalid Gear (I am one of the owners, with Jonas being the other owner). Before I had this business, I earned money by doing freelance work. After I quit my job back in 2013, I did online marketing, SEO, graphic and web designs (see my portfolio here)
Other than my business, I also get money sometimes from this blog through sponsorships & advertisements. However, the fact of the matter is, my blog mainly funds my travels since I regularly receive free or all-expense-paid trips.
Sometimes people would also ask me where I got my money from when I wasn’t a digital nomad yet. Well… I started working in 2009 and worked for 4 international corporations in total: Siemens, Nestlé, Unilever, and Deutsche Bank — so that’s how I earned before. But I obviously didn’t like that because even though the salary was enough for my living expenses while I was still living alone, the other quirks that came with it (overtime, traffic, etc.) made the whole experience exhausting. They all ended up burning me out, leaving me terribly uninspired.
It wasn’t worth it. And I really didn’t ‘love’ what I was doing even if I was good at it.
And that’s why I tried hard to find ways and that’s how I ended up being a digital nomad. For tips and inspiration on how to start a digital nomad lifestyle, see these posts.
Who did the design for your blog?
I did :)
You can see some of my other web designs over here.
When did you start this blog & why?
Technically, this travel blog was started back in September 2014. But the domain first appeared on the internet when I bought it back in August 25, 2008.
2008 – The website was more like a personal blog because I treated it more as a diary. Ever since I was small, I’ve always kept a diary with me. With my carelessness and clumsiness, I would always misplace it; that’s why in order to put a stop to it, I resorted to keeping an online blog instead.
Over the years though, it evolved more into a lifestyle blog to keep my rants and personal frustrations to a minimum as I went through my teenage years. However, sometime around 2012, I stopped blogging altogether.
2014 – Given my big life change of starting a lifestyle of travel, I relaunched ‘I am Aileen’ as a blog that focuses on travel.
Today, I aim to inspire people with my story — to send the message that they too, can make their dreams a reality if they desire it so. Besides, one of the main themes of my blog is to show that following one’s passion is always the best choice! This is for the reason that it does not only bring utter happiness but utter fulfilment too. Forget society, conventions, and your fears. We only have one life so it’s a must for us to live our dreams.
Overall, as a personality, I want to motivate people to achieve their ultimate goal as I position myself as a source of inspiration or as a driving force to push them to take action.
(To see my blogging history, go here.)
Why is this blog called ‘I am Aileen’?
Because Aileen is my name :)
(And also because I am sooooo bad when it comes to names, titles, or even brand names—heck, look at our business name: Adalid Gear!—so there.)
But seriously. Simplicity is best.
*pats myself on the back*
Can you post about my business for free?
As much as I would love to help you, unfortunately, I don’t do posts for free.
However, do send me a message and maybe we can find a deal that will make the both of us happy. Thanks!
Do you make money through this blog? How?
I do, but like I previously mentioned, I don’t earn so much since I want to stay away from displaying too many ads — what I mostly gain instead from blogging are all-expense-paid trips and free travel products which are already enough for me. I really don’t go to such lengths of making this blog into a ‘money-making machine’ because as much as possible, I don’t want this site to be too commercialized.
Though if I ever do anything that generates money, it’s mostly from:
- Sponsorships / Partnerships with brands
Brands typically reach out to me for these rather than vice versa. If you want to try something similar, you can try messaging the brands that you believe in and maybe they can accommodate you. Who knows? There’s no harm in trying. Good luck!
- Affiliate earnings
I am currently mainly affiliated with Agoda and Booking.com
I love your blog! Can I repost your stuff?
Thanks! And NO. Please don’t repost the whole / entire entry.
What you can rather do is to:
- Share the link
- Copy a short paragraph and post a link back to my website link
Please don’t forget to credit me. Thank you.
What camera do you use for your blog? (And Instagram?)
You can see all my gear here.
For post-processing, I usually enhance photos with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom. For videos, I use Final Cut Pro.
I saw that you made your website layout yourself! Can you make mine too?
Let’s see if I can squeeze your request in my schedule :)
Please send me a message so we can discuss the possibility and the rates. Thank you!
How much do you charge for graphics and web design?
This depends on the kind of request.
Please send me a message with the details of the design or project that you have in mind and I will let you know how much it would cost you. Thank you!
What font did you use in your logo? And your other photos?
For my logo, I honestly can’t remember. My previous laptop was stolen so I have no idea what font I used for that.
As for the other fonts that you will see in some of my other posts, I would have to apologize in advance because my answer would definitely be an: “I don’t know”
I don’t make it a point to remember the fonts that I use so even if I want to help you, it will be very tedious for me to scroll through all my fonts just to see what I used for a particular post, etc.
(Currently, I have like gazillions of fonts so imagine how long that would take me.)
How did you learn graphics & web design?
I started learning it ever since I was 13 because I was immensely interested in design. So ever since that age, I have read a lot of free online resources and experimented with a LOT of things! And as I took on more serious projects for various brands, clients, and companies, my skills for these areas have slowly improved over the years.
What countries have you been to?
Check it out over here :)
What are your top 3 favorite countries?
Ugh… it’s hard for me to play favorites. Besides, I don’t even know what my top three favorite food, music, band, etc.
It’s just too hard. Every country has its own quirk that makes it entirely unique on its own; so, it wouldn’t be fair to pitch it against another great country, for example, that has an entirely different quirk. Err, I hope I’m making sense. Add the fact that I haven’t been to at least half of the total countries in the world (I’m still working on that!) so I personally think that it wouldn’t be right of me to suggest a top list until I get to at least see more!
Did you pay for all of your trips?
I paid some of them while others I have not and that’s mainly because a hotel or an agency offered a free/all-expense-paid stay in exchange for a blog post. Rest assured, I always indicate on the post if ever the trip was sponsored by the hotel or a brand :)
Can you tell me about Visas?
Can you post about our company/brand on your blog?
Sure thing! Please send me a message so that we can discuss things in more detail. Thank you!