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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 Chinese 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.

 

In September 2015, I left that job to travel for 15 months through India, Nepal, Southeast Asia, and Europe, paying my way as a digital nomad: writing, career coaching, travel planning, and blogging.

 

As of November 2016, I've taken on a new challenge, landing a job as an international operations lead for the highest valued start-up in Silicon Valley. This job will take me to Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and beyond.

 

When I'm not busy at work, I'm on here writing about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There's simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love.

 

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 to set up a coaching session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

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Career

FAQ: Freelance Writing and Contributing to Big Media Brands
FAQ: Freelance Writing and Contributing to Big Media Brands
Published On: February 6, 2017
  For a writer, there’s nothing like finally seeing your name under the big media brands you’ve always dreamed of writing for. You think, has this been photoshopped or did they really publish me?    This month I got published for the second time on Fast Company and now have the opportunity to start talking over opportunities to write for them on a more regular basis. For six months, every month, I had sent the editor my best thoughts in 1,000 words or less and, saint he is, he’d write back, “Thanks, Elaina. This just isn’t what we’re looking for right now.” It was nice on his part and pretty demoralizing on mine.   I also pitched Huffington Post for Continue Reading
A Practical Guide to Using “Flow” to Create the Life of Your Dreams (With Examples from My Life Story)
A Practical Guide to Using “Flow” to Create the Life of Your Dreams (With Examples from My Life Story)
Published On: January 26, 2017
Some people don’t believe in luck. There are idioms in countless languages that mean some variation of “you create your own luck” or “the hardest-working people are also the luckiest.”    And then there are cultures like the Chinese, who believe luck is more of an ingrained biological trait, like the color of your hair, than a case-by-case intervention subject to the whims of the cosmos like we tend to think in the west.   Whatever your official stance on luck is, I think lucky people understand a few key things: curiosity, connection, and flow. And I consider myself very lucky.   Striking the Balance: Flow and Self-Determination   There’s a lot of talk about “flow” in the blogosphere. Self-development Continue Reading
Life

Someone Drew Timelines All Over Your Life -- And It Wasn’t You
Someone Drew Timelines All Over Your Life — And It Wasn’t You
Published On: February 16, 2017
  I’ve been living outside the United States for four years, but I still can’t help it. Yesterday at the supermarket in a small Mexican town, I found myself shifting from side to side, sighing, and crossing and uncrossing my arms as I waited for the woman in front of me to exchange a litany of pleasantries with the cashier before searching for exact change and finally meandering off with her carton of milk.    For most of us, there’s no difference between waiting in line at the supermarket and planning out the rest of our lives. There’s this ingrained understanding in American culture that time is money, so we’ve been raised not to waste a minute or a dollar Continue Reading
Taking Responsibility for Your Happiness: Practical Ways to Optimize Your Life
Taking Responsibility for Your Happiness: Practical Ways to Optimize Your Life
Published On: January 17, 2017
  I’m coming up on four full years a nomad in March of this year. Given that this is roughly the same amount of time it would have taken me to get a PhD, I’ve become an expert at arriving, settling in, and temporarily making a life for myself everywhere from Ulaanbaatar to Johannesburg.   Earlier this week I pulled up on my rented bicycle (with no kickstand, no lights, and quirky brakes, but it’s perfect) to the little casita I rented while working this month in the city of Merida. The is backyard full of overgrown tropical plants, the swimming pool is surrounded by 17th century stone walls, and I literally wake up to the sounds of birds at Continue Reading
Travel

Why I Never Knew How to Travel Until I Got to India (And a Bunch of My Favorite India Pics)
Why I Never Knew How to Travel Until I Got to India (And a Bunch of My Favorite India Pics)
Published On: February 16, 2017
Like most travelers who’ve been around the world and back again, I left my heart in India.   I sit in Mexico as I write this, a year later and still stubbornly refusing to go home and be normal. And no matter what I do, my mind wanders back to India every chance it gets. So I dig my toes into the powder white sand of the Mayan Riveria and indulge in the waves of memories shamelessly washing over me.    I think of the afternoons spent riding on the back of a motorcycle in central Karnataka, my fingers full of silver rings slung around the waist of a fellow wanderer, my jeweled skirt flapping in the juicy afternoon breeze, Continue Reading
What Makes a Good Travel Photo? (With Instructive Examples From My Own Portfolio)
What Makes a Good Travel Photo? (With Instructive Examples From My Own Portfolio)
Published On: January 20, 2017
  I think a great travel photo captures not just the place, but the journey.    We've all read the hackneyed "tips for better travel photos" articles (yeah yeah, find the light, rule of thirds, etc.), so I'm going to just share three key things I do to document my own travels that you might not have heard elsewhere. I'll also share a collection of favorite photos from my travels in order to walk you through a little bit about what makes them interesting and how to apply those lessons to your own photos.   A quick note on equipment: I'm currently traveling with a Canon Rebel T4i DSLR with 18-200mm and 50mm lenses, a Go Pro 4 on a long selfie stick, Continue Reading
Health

You Don
You Don’t Always Have to Quit: Ways to Actually Be Happier at Work
Published On: February 12, 2017
  Some blogs talk mostly about quitting your job to travel the world. Some talk about becoming a digital nomad or full-time entrepreneur. And others talk about helping you find your dream job.   Mine talks about how to do all of these, because there are many ways to build a lifestyle that works for you.    I’m a digital nomad, small-time entrepreneur, and freelance writer, but I’m also an international project manager who has worked for several major companies over the past 5 years. I lead parallel careers, sometimes working the 9 to 5 grind, sometimes spending extended time on the road paying my own way. I’ve come up with a formula that works for me, using my corporate Continue Reading
The Kind of Friends I Need (Poem)
The Kind of Friends I Need (Poem)
Published On: October 21, 2016
I don’t need a long list of friends, Especially not ones in the traditional sense, Titled just because we share a long history Souvenirs from a life best described in past tense. My circle is ever fluid, flowing, and changing Determined by a simple question asked under every hello: Are you ready to be open? Are you ready to accept my love, To share and be vulnerable and much less selfish? Are you ready to be fully present,  To share some beloved life experience? Can you be an angel on my path,  And walk next to me at this point in time, Extending your hand,  And opening your heart? I can be a safe landing place,  Another angel who walks Continue Reading

About Me

About Me

IMG_5937

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 Chinese 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.

 

In September 2015, I left that job to travel for 15 months through India, Nepal, Southeast Asia, and Europe, paying my way as a digital nomad: writing, career coaching, travel planning, and blogging.

 

As of November 2016, I've taken on a new challenge, landing a job as an international operations lead for the highest valued start-up in Silicon Valley. This job will take me to Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and beyond.

 

When I'm not busy at work, I'm on here writing about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There's simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love.

 

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 to set up a coaching session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

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Current Location

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Current Location

Current Location: Mexico City, Mexico

 

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Previous Location: Berlin, Germany

 

2016-08-04-16-51-41-1

Coaching

Coaching

Step into my office!

 

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?

Read more

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I'm planning something big! Stay in touch and be the first to know what I'm up to.

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Current Location

Current Location

Map

Current Location

Current Location: Mexico City, Mexico

 

img_9291

 

Previous Location: Berlin, Germany

 

2016-08-04-16-51-41-1

Coaching

Coaching

Step into my office!

 

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?

Read more

Like Me on Facebook

Like Me On Facebook

Follow me on twitter

Follow me on twitter

Instagram

Elaina on Instagram