At 21, I was working at a big international investment bank and I was a great performer in our team — I had a looming promotion, I was awarded the title of 'Employee of the Month', and an overseas transfer was even expected. The future looked really bright for me despite being a fresh graduate.
And yet, I quit.
What a lot of people didn't know was that I was miserable and uninspired. Of course the job was exciting and I could perfectly see how the corporate life worked great for others! However, it just didn't work out for me. There were times that I would ask myself, "Is this all there is to it?"
I instantly realized that it was because I wasn't doing something that I was passionate about. I was only clinging to my job in order to follow the natural ‘linear’ order of life wherein everyone is expected to get a stable 9-to-5 career after graduation in order to secure a stable future. Besides, given our culture as well as the fact that I came from a traditional and non-rich family, any unconventional aspirations that I had must take the 'backseat'.
Certainly, not being able to do what I really wanted in life had burned me out, and I was frustrated at the notion that I will be helping someone else reach their goals for the rest of my life — whereas my own would should be shrugged off.
But one day, I decided that I didn’t want to waste my 20s anymore, nor did I want to settle and slave away for a corporation just to fit myself into society’s concept of security. So I finally decided to take the leap to do what I love to do and to make my dreams a reality.
It has been almost 3 years now, and since then I have been to various countries around the world while I set up an online business and a successful travel blog that did not only make me live a sustainable traveling lifestyle but had also given me the financial security that I have always been aiming for. I used to only have a few thousand pesos to my name but today, I own a business that is generating more money than I have ever dreamt!
How did this happen? Do I have rich parents or family members to back me up? Do I have some sort of inheritance enabling me to travel the world and to set up a company? Do I have someone giving me money?
No, not at all. Though my family had given me a lot of encouragement. I actually got to where I am now through my own hard work and research. With that, it is my wish that you see that there is always hope — after all, if I had made this lifestyle happen, then YOU can definitely do the same!
Network out of your current circle
When I was still working, I made it a point to reach out to people who were beyond my usual social circle. If my friends invited me for events or parties, I didn’t say no. This act had eventually made me meet various interesting individuals from all over the world who were in Manila: backpackers, nomads, and traveling entrepreneurs.
Meeting these people from all parts of the world turned my world upside down since they showed me how my dreams weren't so crazy at all. They were building their dreams with their own abilities and my interaction with all of them had given me a lot of ideas and tons of inspiration for pursuing a life of a digital nomad (someone who makes use of technology to build a profession or enterprise).
Therefore, it's truly imperative that you are proactive in trying to step out of your circle in order to converse with people who are in fields that are related to your ultimate dream. Remember: there's a whole range of knowledge that you can gain by talking to those who have the true experience and expertise.
Follow your passion, be resourceful and try to work online
I graduated with a 4-year business degree which is totally unrelated to the profession that I wanted to do: online marketing and graphic design. Nevertheless, I didn’t let my prior education hinder me from doing the things that I love.
So be imaginative and be resourceful. For starters, know that there are a LOT of free resources online that can give you the skills that you're looking for. In my case, I scoured the web for months as I searched for tutorials that would make me learn what I needed to know, and when I was confident with my knowledge, I started to offer my services to different clients online.
Why online? I have come to learn that working online gives me the freedom to work anytime and anywhere in the world; plus, there is the fact that there is a huge array of opportunities on the web with employers who are willing to pay more for as long as you have the right set of skills.
For instance, I have met lawyers and consultants who quit their firms to work freelance online and they have earned far more than what they were being given in their past companies. When I learned these situations, surely I wanted to take advantage of that market too — and you should as well!
Create your own sense of security and find a mentor(s)
I had to start small at first as an online freelancer, but “Always think long term” was my life mantra; therefore, I always had it in my mind to think of more sustainable ways to support myself. I was surely open to whatever opportunity that would come my way, and an opportunity did come when I was inspired by one of the online clients that I was working for.
They had a really good business model that’s perfect for a traveler like me, and after learning almost all the processes that they had, I just knew that I can do it too. So after a bit of preparation, I decided to adapt their idea and then launch the online company, Adalid Gear, together with a friend. And since we developed a good relationship with the CEO, we even managed to take him on as our mentor — which is an absolute must when you're starting out as an entrepreneur! Guidance and sound judgments from 'experts' are certainly helpful factors that you should never miss out on.
Together with my business today as well as my travel blog, I have now created a life that has made all of my dreams a reality.
Overall, what this just ultimately boils down to is the main idea that for as long as you abandon conventions and embrace fear as you fervently go after your true passion in life, GREAT things will always happen. So break out of your shell, make informed decisions, and be hungry for new interactions and learnings.
The road to the realization of your dreams can be a fast process, though most of the time it can be slow; but like everything else, it’s not a race but a journey… and yes, if you persevere, you WILL get there.
To learn more about how I started this all in detail and how I am able to afford a travel lifestyle, read the articles below on iAmAileen.com :