In 2012 at the age of 21, Aileen Adalid of I Am Aileen quit her corporate job in the Philippines to travel the world. Today, she is a digital nomad and entrepreneur living an amazing sustainable travel lifestyle. Find out more about how she does it below!
This post was originally published in 2016. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
In this series, we’re exploring the various careers of world travelers, and how they make ends meet financially while living abroad. Yes, financially sustainable full-time travel is possible!
How long have you been living/working on the road, and where have you traveled to?
Please describe what you do for income.
Initially, for this traveling lifestyle, I worked online as a graphic designer, web designer and online marketing professional (digital nomad). But starting July 2014, I transitioned into becoming an online entrepreneur, leading me to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Along with my travel partner and boyfriend, Jonas Van Baelen, we launched the online shop: Adalid Gear.
How many hours per week do you work on average?
Previously, 40 hours a week.
Currently, around 7 to 20 hours a week.
How much money do you make?
Coming from a third world country, I only earned $300 per month. At that time, I was still working at my office job in an investment bank as a fresh graduate.
When I quit my job in 2013 though and started my work as a digital nomad, I started to earn around $1,500 per month. Sometimes I would earn more depending on the clients, but a sure amount every month was always at $1,500.
After launching AdalidGear.com last July 2014, my life as an online entrepreneur began. It’s a bit hard to say how much I really earn from it because as of this moment, I am only giving myself a monthly salary. This is because we reinvest most of the profit into the business to get more inventory and sales. (To put it into numbers though, monthly sales range around $50K with a monthly profit that’s roughly $15K).
Nevertheless, if I sum up the monthly salary that I get from the business plus the other income I get from my sideline projects, it totals to roughly $4K a month.
Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?
Thankfully, I do. But then again, I would have never launched this lifestyle if I wasn’t sure right at the very beginning that I could support myself.
Currently, with all my earnings, I typically reinvest it into the online business in order to get more inventory, while the rest, I keep in a high-interest savings account.
(See also: Travel Money Guide)
What is your vision for the future of your lifestyle on the road?
Traveling and working for myself are my two greatest passions in life, therefore I believe that I will continue doing this for the future until I decide to settle down somewhere, have a house, and have kids. (Though even if that happens, I will still make it a point to do trips here and there with my family).
At the moment, I am concentrating on my blog and my entrepreneurial ventures since I am also planning on launching another business in the future! This time around, a brand that is related to travel; so watch out for that!
Any advice for the aspiring traveler about living and working on the road and managing finances?
Create your own sense of security. Always think long term. There are a LOT of on-the-road jobs out there that can keep you going on the road for years (e.g. volunteering, farm picking, etc.), but it is still important to think about your future in order to lead a more sustainable traveling lifestyle.
So, try to develop a profession or a business. For instance, you can develop yourself as a digital nomad as you offer services online, thereby enabling you to work remotely anytime and anywhere you want. When you have enough capital and if you have a feasible idea, you can always set up your own company! (Better if it’s still online so that you can still continue traveling.) Other avenues that you can try are online blogging and teaching English as a foreign language among many others!
Anything to add?
My mission? To show you that it is absolutely possible to create a life of travel even if you’re NOT rich, and even if you only have a limited passport.
Aside from that, I also have another mission: to visit every country here on Earth! However, I am in NO RUSH to accomplish this as I am already very thankful that I am finally living my dream.