Below is a simplified timeline of my life. It highlights important events and accomplishments that I’ve had over the years which I think are worth noting and looking back to.
(This is going to be really long and I bet no one will read *laughs* but this is actually mostly for me since I wanted to summarize and document my life in a streamlined manner.)
GETTING BIGGER AND BIGGER!
September – My next biggest exposure: when Business Insider wrote about my life, my business, and this travel blog. The reach of this interview was insane and what followed were other trending articles from Travel + Leisure, Daily Mail, Independent, UPSOCL and more!
I'M MOVING... AGAIN!
August – After a year of operation in Belgium, my business partner and I realized that even if Adalid Gear was doing great in sales, the economy and tax situation were not so ideal. Henceforth, we decided to move the incorporation back to Hong Kong — for good!
Because of this, we both had to leave Belgium and start living in the Philippines again. After everything stabilizes, I plan to move out again and base myself elsewhere.
Around May – With the boom of videos as well as with rising number of unused video files of my travels, I decided to do more videos / “vlogs” on YouTube, hence iAmAileen.TV was born! This endeavour surely made me realize how fun it is to edit videos again (I used to do this in high school and university as a hobby).
FIRST INTERNATIONAL BLOG AWARD
September 26 – WYSTC (World Youth Travel Confederation) recognized my blog’s brand among all the other nominees worldwide as the “Best Youth Travel Blog” during their 2015 International Global Youth Travel Awards! Given that this blog just turned 1 year old at this year, this acknowledgement truly meant a LOT to me.
FIRST PRINT EXPOSURES
April 12 – (LOCAL) Manila Standard Today, one of the Philippines’ biggest publications, interviewed me about my life story, travel lifestyle, profession, and online business. This was such an honor for me because I was their featured story in their Business section with a full feature on 2 pages! To see photos and screenshots of the newspaper, see here. (Later on, I was also interviewed by Manila Bulletin!)
May 9 – (INTERNATIONAL) Belgium’s biggest publication, Het Nieuwsblad, also caught my story especially after a successful write-up of Antwerp that I made which was featured on the National Geographic. It was a really exciting experience especially because they met up with me personally for an interview!
INCORPORATION OF ADALID GEAR IN BELGIUM
March 3 – In connection to my visa here in Belgium, and in lieu of the fact that my business partner and I made this country as our new home base, we decided to officially move our online company from Hong Kong to Belgium. After a bit of preparation, Adalid Gear is now officially a Belgian company: Adalid Gear BVBA!
BVBA stands for Besloten Vennootschap met Beperkte Aansprakelijkheid (Limited Liability Company). You can see here our recorded incorporation with the Belgisch Staatsblad.
INCREASED BLOG EXPOSURE
It has been truly amazing! (Please see this page for my press and media exposure). With all that said and done, I really can’t stop saying: thank YOU!
» If you want to stay updated daily about news on my adventures, please follow my Facebook page! I’ll see you over there!
A New Home
December – I moved in to a nice apartment in a quaint municipal near Antwerp. Not too long after, I started to take Dutch formal classes (this was my 1st time to try and learn a new language!)
Launch of iAmAileen.com Travel Blog
September 5 – After all the trips that I took and after our online business became stable, I decided to start blogging again. I recovered this domain and relaunched it as a travel blog. At first, it was just a way for me to document my travels and share it with friends and family. But after some successful travel posts that went trending online, this blog started to gain so many readers worldwide.
Because of that and more… my goals have shifted. Not only was I blogging in order to record my life, but I started blogging in order to inspire others to know that a life of travel is certainly possible no matter one’s life circumstances (much like what happened to me)!
My ``Expat`` Life!
August – After arriving in Belgium, I realized that with the HUGE success of our online business, I wouldn’t really have the time to study. Therefore, I started to apply for a different visa.
BUSINESS LAUNCH & THE START OF MY LIFE AS A TRAVELING ONLINE ENTREPRENEUR
May 5 – My best friend, Jonas, and I started our own online Amazon retail business under the brand name: Adalid Gear! What’s ‘Adalid’? Well… it’s my last name which means ‘champion‘ in Spanish. On this date, I had already resigned from my online job which was the business that inspired the procurement of Adalid Gear. (It was even great that the CEO, my previous boss, was willing to coach us!)
July 22 – We started selling our first product and it was a HUGE success!
My Studying Powers
February – It was sooo exhausting to go through my applications for a (1) student visa and (2) 1-year Master’s Degree applications. But I made it happen! And one of the noteworthy things that I did was when I managed to pass the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations; a test for those planning to go to business school) in March after just one day of reviewing! …Yep, I think I just took ‘cramming’ to the highest level!
This happened because I had to catch up with the deadlines, and the only available schedule was just a day away; naturally, I took it and reviewed for less than 24 hours (imagine… others do review classes on this for months!)
End of story: I passed, the University of Antwerp accepted my application for their Masters in Economics with Specialization in Marketing course, and I got my student visa!
The 2nd Home Base
April 4 – I resigned from my job at Deutsche Bank. With a lot of encouragement and motivation derived from the nomads that I’ve met and my ex, I finally decided to start a digital nomad’s life! Besides, working for 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, and not even counting the excessive overtimes and traffic burned me out a lot.
Actually… even before I met these nomads, I realized that I never felt motivated to go to work. There were even times that I got depressed… So meeting these individuals who lead a ‘life of travel’ — my ultimate dream! — was the helpful trigger as I clearly saw what I was doing wrong: slaving away my life and not taking the leap just because of ‘fear’. That fear surely made me angry and all the more: inspired, and so I quit my job and started a sustainable travel lifestyle too! To fund this kind of lifestyle, I worked online as a digital nomad at first.
Read all about my story here and how you can do it too in 5 easy steps!
Notable travel trips for the year were:
- July 31 to September 8 – My first trip to Europe! The highlight of the trip was when I went paragliding in Annecy, France on August 26. Scary at first, but so fun!
- October 13 – I went on a ‘girls trip’ to Chiang Mai, Thailand with Joanne! Patara Elephant Farm was one of the most memorable adventures that I’ve had in my entire life!
- In the other months, I mainly traveled around Asia with the Philippines as my home base.
May to July – It was during this period that I started to be veeeeery outgoing as a way to relieve the ‘stress’ that I was experiencing at work.
By writing for a big online publication in Manila, I started to meet a LOT of people that are out of my comfort zone. Most of the people I met were foreigners (backpackers, nomads or entrepreneurs) and it was… absolutely refreshing. If I have to say so myself, this was actually a BIG turning point in my life.
By hearing abut their dreams, travels, and adventures, I started to aspire even more independence and financial freedom. From then on, I seriously reevaluated what I really wanted to do with my life.
September 5 – I got my first job at Deutsche Bank Group at the early age of 19! I regarded this as quite an achievement since I was employed while I was still technically a ‘teenager’.
With this corporation, I started dealing with the investment banking industry which involved a LOT of new and complicated concepts. The company made me go through their special graduate program and it was cool because it gave me more knowledge about trading and stock markets. My position at that time was called: a Risk and PnL Product Controller.
GRADUATION & INDEPENDENCE
June 25 – After 4 years of studying, I graduated from DLSU. This time was also a breaking point for me, because it was in this period that I started to feel the need to be more independent.
Sometime before graduation, I asked my parents to let me live alone and I was very glad that they consented to it. It was scary at first, but I eventually got used to the flow of things like cooking for myself, paying the bills, etc. By the way, it’s not a common thing to do here in the Philippine culture so it was a big deal not only for me but for my parents.
- Vice President – Creatives for the College Government of Business and Economics
- Academic Core for the Business Management Society
- Ambassador for the LaSallian Ambassadors
- Activity Monitoring Team Staff for the Council of Student Organizations
- Events Manager for the Student Artist Managers – Cultural Arts Office
- Publicity & Graphics Designer for the Student Council, Office of Vice President in Activities
1st Overseas Trip
Driver's License = Achieved!
1st Taste of the Corporate Life
It was very invaluable as it was also at this point that I started to realize how my hobby of graphic design could prove to be a really profitable skill in the future.
I started to gain more independence as well as awareness for the things I want in life.
And so in this year, after a bit of pleading with my mom, I shifted out of Accountancy and transferred to Business Management: with Specialization in Applied Corporate Management. (I actually wanted to take a Computer Programming course but doing that would require more money as it’s an entirely different college altogether. I know how hard my parents work for my tuition so, I refrained from doing that as I didn’t want to burden them too much. Besides, I didn’t mind learning about business anyways since I did have the ultimate dream of setting up my own).
THE GREEN LIFE
Anyhow, accountancy was one of the best courses in DLSU so you could imagine how hard it was to get in, and even harder to stay in the program. However by 2008…
THE CITY LIFE
It was a year of adjustments filled with the fear-of-the-unknown as it was an entirely new surrounding! Nevertheless, I loved this period because it made me learn the important life skills of flexibility and sensitivity to different people and environments. Plus, it even opened me up to new opportunities and experiences. It was awesome!
High school was my arena! I was consistently at the top of my class; though in my senior year, I ended up as the Class Salutatorian. That made me cry because the difference between me and the Valedictorian was very small like .05 or something along those digits. Oh well, other than that, I was great in extra-curricular activities!
The noteworthy ones: I was the Student Council’s Vice President and the President of the Science Club. As for others…
- JOURNALISM: I really loved writing that’s why I worked my way up into becoming our school’s editor-in-chief. I also joined contests which brought me to regional competitions ♥
- SINGING: At this point, I started to hone my singing skills without professional help (I didn’t know I had it in me until I joined contests! And I trained by… errr… straining my voice in the shower till it became nice? Haha, I really don’t know. I just sang a lot, which I guess helped a lot!)
- NOTABLE AWARDS: Gerry Roxas Foundation Leadership, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) Campus Journalism Award, Campaign for Change Community Service Award, Philippine Society of Youth Science Acknowledgement Award, Journalist-Essayist of the Year, Children’s Museum and Library Incorporated Regional Youth Model, A1 Student, and Outstanding Academic Excellences from 2004-2007 in English, Geometry, Calculus, History, Arts and Science.
Would you believe me if I told you that I used to join beauty pageants…? Well, you have to believe me because I did! This basically happened due to the persuasion of my mom as she aimed to cure my ‘shy’ and ‘tomboy’ attitude. Actually, I wasn’t really a tomboy per se… I just wasn’t so feminine at that time — I had short hair, elephant pants, extremely tanned skin, and gung-ho sporty. Naturally, I hated joining the pageants at first (which totaled to 4) but I have to admit that they were fun nonetheless!
Besides, I learned a TON of things and I didn’t regret it at all because it really helped shape me up to who I am today. Other than helping me become more confident & feminine, it also made me realize the important lesson that physical beauty can only get me so far — it shouldn’t be the only thing a woman should focus on because inner beauty is rather the most important thing as it will get me anywhere and everywhere in life. So mom, thanks for pushing me to do these pageants!