My blog has transitioned (and is still transitioning) to a career blog. Its sole purpose (and my goal as well) is to reach out to college students, fresh grads, and yuppies like me to make better choices in their career, and consequently, in their lives.
I’ve already filled you up on some career-related articles and for this month, I’d like to introduce a new series wherein we both get to know people from the workforce–people whom I truly admire because they have made a living out of their passion. It will be a good mix of people such as bloggers, start-up owners, and even people from the corporate world. The great thing about the people I’ll feature is that they’re just like most of us–young, millennial (I hate the term too,sorry), passionate, and most of all, career-oriented.
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Let’s start with Aileen Adalid, a digital nomad who made a career out of her blog and business while traveling the world. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, we’ll learn from the interview below how she started, her opinions on travel, and what will her future be in her chosen career path.

On starting out

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I was absolutely scared about the future and all of life’s uncertainties (who wouldn’t be?) — but I was also excited about my newfound independence of making it ‘out there’ with my own power.

How was it like after graduating from college?

I had mixed feelings when I graduated college in the Philippines. I was absolutely scared about the future and all of life’s uncertainties (who wouldn’t be?) — but I was also excited about my newfound independence of making it ‘out there’ with my own power. Regarding a job, I didn’t exactly have a distinct company that I was eyeing for; I was thinking more like: “I just want to get a career in Marketing in a good and reputable company.”

How was your experience?

It was incredibly tough. It was then that I realized that even with all of my credentials as well as the good education that I got from university, the companies will always remain to be picky. I am competing after all with all the other people in the industry who are also looking for work at that time.
The end result of it was that by the 2nd month after my graduation, fear started to fill me up more and more; so when a job offer came up — I jumped on it. It was from a finance company and surely, they offered a kind of job that I wasn’t eyeing for. However, I was already afraid and I didn’t want to lose any more time so I said yes. I just told myself: “1 year. Make it as a stepping stone, search for a Marketing job while you’re there and when you get one: quit.”
In the end, I stayed there for 2 years. As you may know by now, I quit my job after that and decided to pursue my lifelong dream instead: traveling the world while working for no one but myself.

College is a big thing for us Filipinos. But really, is it all that important if we want a career like yours? 

My career right now is not just being a travel blogger because the center of my current career is actually more of being an entrepreneur. I did start as an online freelancer at first though and that helped me launch into the person that I am today.
As for college, it did assist me in my journey; however, most of the concepts I learned weren’t as applicable to what I’m doing today which is centered more on the digital world. So in a sense, if I had to redo time, I probably wouldn’t have gone to college and just started my life as a digital nomad. Besides, there’s just so many FREE resources online that can already give anyone enough knowledge without paying all the hefty fees for education.
But of course, I can’t deny the fact that a college education can assist in your future career choice especially if you’re really sure about what you want to become in the future — it just so happens that I wasn’t sure about mine and I only stumbled into all these online opportunities when I was older; so certainly, I did not prepare for it beforehand.

On transitioning

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It would be risky, but absolutely doable. The returns can also be massive if you do things right, and that concept attracted me because of how it could help me do my passion (design and marketing) while also escaping a 3rd-world-standard salary.

What made you decide on being a full-time travel blogger and entrepreneur?

Becoming an entrepreneur has always been my lifelong goal but I know that I had to take baby steps first. Initially, I planned on getting a job, saving up, resigning and then starting up my own business. Regrettably, going by what I’ve seen in the corporate setting in the country, I have come to fully understand that such a plan would take me YEARS! Everything looked bleak from that point onwards…
Thankfully, I started to meet nomads from all over the world who were visiting Manila and these people made me see how there’s a whole other world out there that I can capitalize on–the online realm. It would be risky, but absolutely doable. The returns can also be massive if you do things right, and that concept attracted me because of how it could help me do my passion (design and marketing) while also escaping a 3rd-world-standard salary.
Meanwhile, becoming a travel blogger came a year after I was doing online work and traveling. And the truth of the matter is: I initially planned it to be just an online diary — nothing more, nothing less. But after one article of mine went viral, I got known internationally and that brought forth a lot of things into my life.

How did your parents take your decision on being a digital nomad?

My parents are traditional so it was definitely a HUGE shock when I told them that I wanted to quit my job in order to travel and work online at the same time! But of course, I fully understood why they felt anxious because the digital world was an “alien” concept to their generation.
So! They were opposed to the idea at first, but after showing them proof that the returns can be promising, they slowly eased up to the idea. In fact, today, they’re my biggest ‘cheerleaders’ when it comes to my online career!

What were the skills/knowledge from college and your past job that helped in your job now?

In college, I studied Applied Corporate Management and that helped me in running the online business that I have today. I was also involved for a year with different multinational companies doing marketing and communication tasks, and that somehow helped too when I did online marketing tasks for my previous freelance work.
However… at the very core, college helped little in what I have done and what I’m doing today because it’s actually the online resources that helped me a ton.

The truth behind the travel industry

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I rather want to preach people to do their own thing. Travel the way you want to. Travel as long as you desire. Make a travel startup if such is your plan. What you just have to make sure is that you’re making smart decisions — that’s all!

Some of us have this notion that traveling for a living is the best job ever. (‘Cause duh, you get to travel for free ) Can you shed some light on the hard things you do in your chosen career path? (‘Cause we both know it’s not all glitz and glamour)

Definitely! The first and foremost disclaimer about being a travel blogger is that it’s NOT so easy to make it into a money-making machine or a perks-filled website that can make you live a travel lifestyle.
It’s often a hit or miss, and it depends a LOT on the kind of story or content that you can give to the world. Grabbing the attention of people or press people is also not simple; add the fact that let’s say, once you do become “known”, you still have to continually work in order to make your blog bring in a steady stream of income.
THESE are actually the reasons why I don’t recommend travel blogging as a sole income source nor as a sole starting step for would-be-nomads. I rather recommend it more as a supplement to another kind of job that you plan to do as you start a life of travel.

What do you think about this article? Do you agree with some of his points or was he just being too negative?

The author made a lot of good points but I think that there’s really no “travel boom” because the desire to travel the world has ALWAYS been there. I don’t think it will ever crash either.
What boomed instead are the choices and ways of making it happen and people nowadays have really pushed forth the idea of a travel lifestyle that sort of revolves on “abandonment” — the idea of just quitting your job and traveling with no consistent plans. I see nothing wrong with that of course because that can be such an exhilarating adventure as you backpack from one place to the next, doing odd jobs on the road. Plus, it’s your choice! However, my biggest concern about that concept is: “How about your immediate and distant future situation?” You can’t seriously keep on doing that for the rest of your life. What happens if an establishment doesn’t take you in? What will you eat for a week of no work? What if you get incredibly sick, how will you pay for that? What happens if you suddenly decide to settle down too…?
This is why I always promote in my blog the idea of: “Always thinking long term”. With that being said: it’s really fine to quit your job and then travel the world if you want it so, BUT only for as long as you have a profession that can support you in making such a lifestyle happen. (You can be a digital nomad like I did, etc.)
Additionally, I don’t like to preach people in doing a certain style of travel (not doing this and doing that instead, etc.) like what the author has written. I rather want to preach people to do their own thing. Travel the way you want to. Travel as long as you desire. Make a travel startup if such is your plan. What you just have to make sure is that you’re making smart decisions — that’s all!

Have you ever thought about the future? How would you support your future family with your chosen career? Do you plan on settling down? 

Oh, I definitely have! As of this moment, I have no concrete plans yet of settling down so I don’t have exact answers to questions about “when” or “where”. My goal now is to simply save up for the future, and that as I travel, I’ll keep a lookout for a place that would speak to me in volumes and make me say: “I want to stay here forever.”
 
Meanwhile, when it comes to supporting myself, I might be impulsive with my life choices but I always try to make smart decisions — like I mentioned previously, I always think about my future and that’s why I have my online business now. When I quit my job years ago, I really made it a point to look for ways that can make me live a sustainable travel lifestyle.

You are one of the lucky ones who got a career out of their passion, but at some point, does it ever feel like a chore? Did it ever come to a point wherein making it as a job lessened your love for travel or is it the kind of job that is immune to the “burn out” feeling?

It has never felt like that for me and I think it all depends on finding that balance in everything that you do — and we all have our personal capacities of doing pleasure and work. Just find that and you should be fine!

Words of Wisdom

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But if you do find that special something, then do everything in your power to make it happen. And don’t let yourself take “no” and “it’s not possible” as answers because there are ALWAYS tons of ways to do and accomplish things.

Tips on How do you stay inspired?

Above all, traveling in itself keeps me inspired. Books help too as well as interacting with new and old people. We all have our own style of staying inspired and these 3 things are the main factors that help drive me.

What would you like to tell college students, fresh grads, and millennials on finding their career path?

First and foremost, don’t ever let anyone dictate your future for you. We only have one life and you have to make sure that you’re pursuing something that you want and that you love — and not somebody else’s. Regret is one of those things you should never fill yourself with! Now, if it proves to be tough to search for your passion, it’s fine. Don’t rush. For the meantime, you can do something that you just simply enjoy. In time, as long as you keep your eyes open, everything should fall in place and you’ll find your path.
But if you do find that special something, then do everything in your power to make it happen. And don’t let yourself take “no” and “it’s not possible” as answers because there are ALWAYS tons of ways to do and accomplish things. Research, research, research.
Eventually, as you go on, work hard — BUT work smart too in order to reach success because not everything can be achieved by just hard work alone. So be opportunistic, be pushy if you have to. Meet people outside of your circle as well, because you will absolutely learn a LOT especially if they’re the right crowd. I’ve met with a lot of great opportunities by doing this and I believe that it will help you too!
 

Overall: be resourceful and trust in your struggle. It might take a while to reach success but you WILL get there!

See and read more of Aileen Adalid here!

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