Career

My RE-Definition of the Most Hated Word for Job Seekers: Networking
My RE-Definition of the Most Hated Word for Job Seekers: Networking
Published On: May 24, 2016
One of the most overused -- and least understood -- words in the professional development space starts with N: networking.   If I use it in my articles or when working with clients, everybody’s like, “Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m supposed to go to events and pass out my business cards and send follow-up emails and suck up to people since it’s all about who you know...”   And I want to say, “Nooooo! Stop right there! We are using the same word but meaning different things!”   Networking is a horrendous word. It conceptualizes people as objects and characterizes the relationship as entirely fake and transactional.   I know thousands of people from every continent and every industry -- and I’ve NEVER Continue Reading
When You
When You’re Different: How to Stop Comparing and Find Courage to Live Off the Beaten Path
Published On: May 15, 2016
Last week I took four flights for two days straight to get from the capital of Nepal to my hometown of Buffalo, New York. I packed up the backpack I’d been living out of for 8 months and plopped back down into the middle of America and the middle of something that looks like most people’s day-to-day reality.   I'm watching my dad go to work at 6am like he’s done for the past 40-something years, while my mom wakes up at 5am to make his coffee and pack his lunch, like she’s done for the past 30-something years. I'm talking to friends who work in offices by day and come home to boyfriends, dogs, and sometimes kids by night. I went to Continue Reading
Life

Discover Your Authentic Self and Live the Life You Really Want With This Little Method
Discover Your Authentic Self and Live the Life You Really Want With This Little Method
Published On: March 31, 2016
For all the various questions I get from readers of my blog, from “How do I land my dream job?” and "How can I network with confidence?" to “How do I nail all my job interviews?” and “I have no idea what to do next in my life, what do I do?”, there is really just one answer: You have to know what you want. Have you ever gone shopping without a list? I do that sometimes (which is against my golden principles for money management) and I actually get dizzy, like so physically uncomfortable I have to call it a day and come back when I know what I need to buy. Especially here in India where the bazaars of Continue Reading
Is This Addiction Preventing You from Discovering Your True Calling? Thoughts on the Relationship between Education and Accomplishment
Is This Addiction Preventing You from Discovering Your True Calling? Thoughts on the Relationship between Education and Accomplishment
Published On: March 7, 2016
I recently spent 10 days in silence in India, studying Vipassana meditation. And let me tell you, there’s nothing like 120 hours inside your own head to start seeing the world from an entirely new perspective. In Vipassana, we observe our bodily sensations with an equanimous mind, teaching ourselves not to entertain feelings of craving or aversion, which are the default settings of reactionary human behavior. Because every experience in our lives creates sensations, we essentially live in a constant state of craving pleasant sensations or hating unpleasant ones, a road never leading to peace, compassion, and enlightenment -- unless we use meditation to reprogram our mind-body relationship. Like everything in my life, meditation was, at first, a game: I wanted Continue Reading
Travel

Backpacking India and Southeast Asia: What’s Always in My Bag
Backpacking India and Southeast Asia: What’s Always in My Bag
Published On: May 18, 2016
There are tons of articles about what to pack for major backpacking trips, but if you’re anything like me, half the time what I bring traveling doesn’t make it into my purse or daypack so it’s actually available when I really need it. And so I find myself sweaty, sticky, dirty, or lost in the dark thinking, “The flashlight and hand sanitizer are back in the hostel, aren’t they?” After 8 months spent making my way from Singapore to Nepal, here are the key items that were -- and always are --  on my person.   ...Or if they weren’t, I learned the hard way.   1. Toilet paper. A budget traveler is going to see very few bathrooms that provide toilet paper almost anywhere in Continue Reading
The Other Kinds of Poverty
The Other Kinds of Poverty
Published On: March 13, 2016
I sat on the rickety wooden terrace of my guesthouse in central Swaziland, blinking mosquitoes out of my eyes and sipping a cold Savannah cider, fixed in the kind of late-night philosophical discussion you can only have in places in the world that don’t burden its visitors with a constant internet connection. Most members of the group had spent extended periods of time living or traveling on the African continent, so the conversation turned, predictably, to poverty. I had just spent the past twelve months working in Nigeria, South Africa, and Ethiopia, in addition to working and traveling widely in South America and Asia during the past eight years, and wanted share a controversial thought, bracing myself for rebuttals. "The most Continue Reading
Health

How I Cope with My Negativity
How I Cope with My Negativity
Published On: April 6, 2016
I pouted, pleaded, whined, and argued, but nothing was getting me into the meditation chamber. The middle-aged Indian man with a formidable mustache and topaz eyes, the guardian of Auroville’s famous Matrimandir and my current adversary, was not budging. “You can come back on Tuesday morning between 10 and 11am and book an appointment. Now please step aside.” Tears burned in my eyes and my cheeks flushed as I realized a line of other yogis, hippies, and those truly holier than me had overheard the petty conflict over the literal location of where my concentration on becoming a better person was supposed to take place. I was in the wrong. To access one of India’s most unique and, in my opinion, Continue Reading
Running Log of My Thoughts During a 10-day Silent Meditation Retreat in India
Running Log of My Thoughts During a 10-day Silent Meditation Retreat in India
Published On: February 21, 2016
I’m still not sure what inspired me to enroll in one of the most intense meditation courses in India last month, but I’m sure glad I did. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, an insane roller coaster of struggle and growth, anger and happiness, agitation and tranquility -- emotions racing from one spectrum to another minute after minute, hour after hour, for 120 hours of silent meditation. Here’s a very personal, light-hearted look at what I experienced. Day 1: You have one job: Sit still, breathe, and be perfectly reasonable about everything. We start meditating before the sun comes up, in the ultimate stillness of early morning. This is really nice actually. I think I’m going to 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: India

 

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Previous Location: Burma

 

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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.

 

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