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Career

9 Mistakes People Make When Looking for a Job Overseas -- and What to Do Instead
9 Mistakes People Make When Looking for a Job Overseas — and What to Do Instead
Published On: September 27, 2016
Photo source: The Chronicle   I’ve worked in more than a dozen countries over the past three years, including Mongolia, South Africa, Turkey, Qatar, and Nigeria, but I used to have a much less exciting job working in the consulting division of a huge multinational company in New York City.    Having spent my college years studying Chinese and conducting research in Latin America, I dedicated my post-grad nights and weekends to figuring out how to put my International Relations degree and foreign language skills to good use. I wanted out.    Eventually I landed my global dream job, but it took two years. Since then, I’ve learned to help other young professionals find the international jobs they really want, Continue Reading
The top books I’d recommend to anyone looking to change their life and career
The top books I’d recommend to anyone looking to change their life and career
Published On: September 21, 2016
  I try to read a book a week and I'm often guily of reading more than one at a time. It's safe to say I'm a huge book worm, always have been and always will be. I never understand why people play video games, watch TV or movies, sing karaoke, go to bars, or do just about anything else. I'm always thinking, "But there's so many books to read!"   Since I often get messages asking what my favorite books are or what I'd recommend for someone in the middle of a life crisis or career transition, I finally decided to do a post dedicated to my absolute must-read books that truly bestow the power of self-transformation on their readers. Continue Reading
Life

Why Avoiding Student Loan Debt Was the Best Thing I Ever Did for My Career
Why Avoiding Student Loan Debt Was the Best Thing I Ever Did for My Career
Published On: September 25, 2016
  Most of us want to find meaningful work, travel while we’re young, say no to the wrong opportunities, experiment with entrepreneurship, save for the future, and create a lifestyle that allows us to live fully and maximize the impact of our limited human lifespan. Unfortunately, the financial structures behind higher education in the United States today are constructed in ways that actually cripple the freedom of some Americans, and we’ve only begun to understand the social and economic implications of this systemic malpractice.    I believe student loans were created with good intentions: to help provide a vehicle for upward mobility for the lower classes. With no possible way to fund a higher education, a loan was a sensible Continue Reading
How This Small Change in Thinking Helped Clarify My Purpose and Reignite My Motivation
How This Small Change in Thinking Helped Clarify My Purpose and Reignite My Motivation
Published On: July 15, 2016
I’ve been suffering from a bout of a serious “illness” lately, one that bloggers and entrepreneurship gurus don’t seem to cover very often: feeling deeply, darkly unmotivated.   Over the past few weeks, I’ve been living in one of the hippest and most inspirational cities on the planet -- Berlin -- and sticking my toes into what, with the recent Brexit decision, is about to be Europe’s most dynamic locale for technology, start-ups, art, and creativity.   But I’ve been having serious blinking cursor syndrome...for weeks.   Not only did I have writer’s block and feel paralyzingly unmotivated to work on my usual projects, but some days I couldn’t even think of anything in the whole world to Google and just learn about.   I’d Continue Reading
Travel

What I Learned at Burning Man (And Why You Should Go, Too)
What I Learned at Burning Man (And Why You Should Go, Too)
Published On: September 18, 2016
Photo by Singapore-based photographer and friend, Luke Elijah Lim   It was the middle of the night, and I couldn’t see more than two feet in front of me as white cake-like dust swirled around my face, clogging my nose and stinging the back of my throat. When the dust storm cleared, a 50-foot long fire-breathing dragon cruised across the horizon, music pulsated from 100 different mutant art vehicles, and 70,000 people in fur, neon lights, goggles, and dust masks biked among dozens of multi-story, LED art structures. I’ve officially fallen down the rabbit hole, I thought.   Burning Man is a circus, vaudeville theater, hippie drum circle, techno rave, rowdy pub crawl, and art-gallery-on-steroids rolled into a giant summer camp for adults Continue Reading
My Ultimate Guide to BURNING MAN (for Playa Virgins)
My Ultimate Guide to BURNING MAN (for Playa Virgins)
Published On: September 16, 2016
  I decided to go to Burning Man while I was backpacking around India, sipping chai and listening to the umpteenth hippie in dreadlocks tell me it was the most transformative experience of his life. I guess I'm pretty much a hippie, minus the dreadlocks, so I was all in.   When I got my ticket by sheer luck, the only people I knew going were my best friend from Canada, a fellow traveler from Sweden (“Hey, want to go to Burning Man with me?” “Sure, why not?”), and a friend from university who lives in China. Collectively, we knew little to nothing about Burning Man -- I didn’t even know it was in Nevada or that people wore costumes. Continue Reading
Health

A Short Story That Might Just Change How You Communicate With Everyone
A Short Story That Might Just Change How You Communicate With Everyone
Published On: September 16, 2016
  I want to share a short little story that has a big message.    I just got back from Burning Man, and one of my biggest takeaways was about radical self-expression. I think Burning Man might have been talking about how to dress at the event, but I came away understanding it as how I should express myself not with clothes, but with words: clearly, concisely, openly, honestly, and directly.    By keeping this in mind as I explored the whole wild world of Black Rock City, I cultivated many new friendships, deepened my existing ones, and even connected more profoundly with random people during brief interactions.    It was in the midst of cultivating this mindset and putting it into Continue Reading
So You
So You’re Happy, Now What? Is Happiness the End Goal?
Published On: August 18, 2016
  A lot of things you only learn after you’ve made the mistake, sometimes again and again. And this is how I learned about the pitfalls of happiness.   Ever since being dumped out from my blissful university days into the bleak and disorienting labor force at age 21, I’ve been on a mission to design a lifestyle and career that would make me happy -- and help my peers do the same.    It sounds like a noble purpose, and I’ve managed to be reasonably successful at it by building a popular self-development blog, coaching dozens of my peers through major career and life transitions, and writing for a few mainstream media names. I also managed to land my dream job, Continue Reading

About Me

About Me

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Hi, I’m Elaina and these are my thoughts on the most important decade of our lives.

 

Originally from New York State, I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in International Studies and Mandarin in 2011. I worked for a Fortune 500 company as a management consultant in NYC until April 2013, when I quit in pursuit of growth and adventure. I took a job in international business development and moved to a new country every 3 months for two years. During that time I lived and worked in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Turkey, Mongolia, Paraguay, South Africa, Qatar, Oman, and Guyana.

 

Now I’m traveling indefinitely since September 2015, paying my way as a digital nomad: writing, career coaching, travel planning, and blogging. I write about self-development, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world.

 

Most importantly, I want to help YOU find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Read on or get in touch: elaina@lifebefore30.com (I answer every email)!

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Current Location: Berlin, Germany

 

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Previous Location: India

 

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Three years ago, I changed my whole life in 30 days. I scored the job of my dreams, quit my job in New York, sold everything I owned, moved to West Africa, and never looked back. Read about it here.

 

Now I use Office Hours to help my clients do the same.

 

Do you want to travel but are scared to quit your job?

Do you want to find a job overseas but don't know where to start?

Do you wake up in the morning dreading what's ahead?

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