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About Me

About Me

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Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I’ve also lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for the past 4.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York back in 2013 when I landed an international role at a media company that sent me all over the world to work. You can read my full story here

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I’m currently freelance writing, coaching professionals through career transitions, and working on a few small business ideas while splitting my time between Berlin, the US, and India. 

 

I write 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. I’m not a full-time digital nomad and I’m not a full-time corporate professional: I’ve done things a bit differently and I think it’s feasible for more people to live “off the beaten path” this way. I hope my blog lets you see that it’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because 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 1:1 session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

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7 Rules to Simplify Your Dating Life

Posted on October 1st, 2017

 

I’ve been single for 8 years now, so this may very well be one of those “take my advice because I don’t need it” situations. Take it for what it’s worth, but being a single nomad for as long as I have has allowed me to stand (quite happily) at the sidelines as the relationships of most of my friends regularly go down in flames. 

 

My objective point of view and deep fascination with the human animal has always allowed me to see what the once-happy couple couldn’t see and identify the root causes of such painful heartbreaks. 

 

That — and I’ve also been casually dating on every continent on the planet for the better part of a decade. You name a kind of man and I’ve probably dated one: Australians, Kenyans, Brazilians, British guys, Chinese guys, film directors, wandering hippies, corporate execs, tap dancers, and worst of all, lead singers of bands. 

 

All of this experience dating for the sake of learning about intimacy (instead of pursuing a guy for the sake of a future-oriented relationship due to the restrictions of my lifestyle) taught me how to formulate meaningful connections in the present and learn about how people relate to one another romantically all over the world. 

 

It was a long and instructive period of my life that, while not preventing me from getting my heart stomped on multiple times, did teach me 7 key principles that I genuinely think can solve 99% of all relationship problems. 

 

Set these as your standard operation procedure for dating and while you may not find your life partner right away, they will definitely help you have more healthy, meaningful, and less painful romantic connections. And remember, there’s no set timeline for finding love or getting into a relationship!

 

  1. Radical respect: Human being first, dating partner second

This is the first commandment, the golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated. First of all, treat every person you’re dating as a person first instead of a potential sex object. Be kind and compassionate, empathize with where he or she is coming from, and show concern for your partner’s well-being over their commitment to a relationship with you. 

 

If this relationship becomes physical, continue applying this philosophy of deep respect in the bedroom. Treat this person’s body with care. Treasure what makes him or her unique and show appreciation and respect for their unique beauty. Go slow, listen, be gentle, and let each person put the pleasure of their partner before their own. If both people do this, this opens up an ability to genuinely deepen the connection through physical odysseys together. 

  1. Define and protect your standards

Your bottomline is to be respected, so help solve the problem before it occurs by refraining from entertaining the companionship of anyone who doesn’t get that it’s all about respect. If someone mistreats you or crosses a boundary, there should be no second chances. You deserve someone who will treat you the way you’ve decided you deserve to be treated (and that criteria is up to you, these are just my suggestions). 

 

You show other people how you think you deserve to be treated. Don’t settle for late night visits or thoughtless dating practices if that’s not what you’re looking for. Know what you want and how you want to be treated and show the other person that that’s what you expect. Whatever your standards for a relationship are, protect and uphold them at all costs. Have a high barrier to entry and the intimate connections you do permit will be far richer. 

3. Commit to honest, direct, and kind-hearted communication

Nothing works without this. 

 

I owe my ability to take this principle from a mere intellectual understanding of why it’s important to communicate honestly to a practical application of it in my daily life from, of all places, Burning Man (read more about how this festival taught me a lifelong lesson about communication). 

 

Building a temporary city of 60,000 people in the middle of the harshest conditions in North America tests every threshold of patience, camaraderie, creativity, intimacy, and empathy — which is why all us lunatics who love it go in the first place. If you don’t speak up about what you need, you won’t get it. Speak up (and take action), and the reality you want will manifest in a way that astounds you and reminds you of your capability — and responsibility — to create the life you want. When it comes to relationships, meet someone out there, where there’s no cell phone reception and 59,999 other sexy misfits running around in the desert, and you’ll be sure to never see that person again unless you cough up what’s on your mind. 

 

Since coming home from my first burn a year ago, I’ve been experimenting with taking this dedication to raw honesty and 1) applying it to myself to know what I want, and then 2) assuming the responsibility to share it with compassion to the people who need to hear it. Sometimes other people just don’t know what you need, or they don’t realize you need help understanding something they think they’ve made clear. Ask questions when things aren’t clear, communicate feelings and boundaries with confidence, and refrain from leaping to conclusions.

  1. Don’t pursue anyone who isn’t interested

If you’re following Principle 3 and are committed to communicating openly and honestly with all people in your life, then you can commit to no chasing. You may be deeply infatuated with someone, but if he or she is not reciprocating that interest in you, it will be short-lived and painful. He or she may entertain your pursuits for some time because they feel flattered or obligated, but it won’t lead to a well-balanced connection because the foundation of the relationship was off from the beginning. 

 

This deserves a bit of a deep dive. Let’s say I’ve been going out with a guy for a month and we’ve been seeing each other about once a week. All of a sudden it’s been 10 days and we haven’t set up another time to meet. I’m thinking about him and missing him, so in the spirit of honest communicated, I will typically send a no-pressure, no-chasing message like, “Hey, thinking of you. Hoping you’re having a great week.”

 

I’m expressing exactly what I’m thinking and opening the doors for a reciprocal exchange. If I receive one, then I know we’re still good and he’s just probably been busy (see Principle 5), but if he doesn’t respond, then I know pretty clearly that he’s just not as interested as I am (see Principle 7). That’s fine, and because I protect my standards at all costs, I will respect the other person’s wishes and respect myself. 

  1. Don’t take things so personally!

Most of us are egotistical little maniacs. We think everything is about us! This person you’re dating or are interested in dating has a LIFE, more than likely one he or she has been building up for two, three, four decades without you. Sometimes if someone goes off the radar or even directly communicates that he or she wants to stop seeing you, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s not even about you. They may be focusing on work, getting back together with an ex, traveling unexpectedly, experimenting with celibacy, or had a realization that they just only date brunettes, whatever.

 

This is hands-down one of the biggest wormholes I see dear friends fall into as I look on from afar. Don’t text him if he hasn’t sent you a smoke signal in 48 hours — the man has a job and hobbies and friends! It’s not all about you. Or if she goes MIA, she may have just met someone else. It doesn’t mean anything negative about you as a person (and ideally she should be communicating this to you anyway per Principle 3), it just means she has her preferences and the right to pursue those preferences.

  1. Be mindful of your expectations

Another wormhole. Or maybe a blackhole because a lot of people don’t see this one coming. Granted, it’s hard to be aware of our own expectations, so don’t be afraid to write a post-it note that says “Mind your expectations” and slap it on your bathroom mirror after meeting someone spectacular. 

 

Examples of some expectations you should watch for: If you went on one date, do you expect to go on more dates? At what frequency? If you slept with her, do you expect daily, biweekly, or weekly sleepovers? Will you expect to exchange more text messages with her because you just took your relationship to another level of intimacy? If he says he cares about you after a few weeks of dating, are you beginning to expect a long-term commitment? If a guy got your number at a bar, do you expect him to call the next day? 

 

There are millions of tiny things we have expectations about, so start paying attention and save yourself the grief by acknowledging that you somehow formulated these fantasies — and then go about your business. I find this is the best way to mind my expectations when it comes to my relationships with other people: I just live my life. When and how we choose to mutually connect, that’s wonderful, but I keep in mind that it may be like that today but not tomorrow. Shrug. I have a lot going on anyway. 

 

Specifically on expectations regarding sex, it may be good to have what Steve Bearman, PhD and founder of Interchange Counseling, calls “the other safe sex conversation” to establish what sex means to each of you and what expectations may arise or change — before you sleep together. 

  1. Go on more third and fourth dates

This is one of the best pieces of dating advice I’ve ever received and I owe it to Aziz Ansari’s book, Modern Romance. These days, we expect instant gratification and we apply that to human connection, too (ugh). At the start of every relationship, you’re strangers, so expecting an instant connection isn’t realistic. Give people a chance.

 

Instead of going out on all your first dates scanning for that “wow!” factor, start looking for “connection potential.” Apply this strategy (which is also an exercise in managing expectations) and you may find that you went from going out on strings of unsatisfying first dates to finding someone special who simply took longer than a few hours to open up.

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About Me

About Me

IMG_5937

Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I’ve also lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for the past 4.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York back in 2013 when I landed an international role at a media company that sent me all over the world to work. You can read my full story here

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I’m currently freelance writing, coaching professionals through career transitions, and working on a few small business ideas while splitting my time between Berlin, the US, and India. 

 

I write 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. I’m not a full-time digital nomad and I’m not a full-time corporate professional: I’ve done things a bit differently and I think it’s feasible for more people to live “off the beaten path” this way. I hope my blog lets you see that it’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because 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 1:1 session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

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Five 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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Currently in: Malawi

 

 

Previously in: Berlin

 

img_6015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Hot

Recent Posts

Coaching

Coaching

Step into my office!

 

Five 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

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Elaina on Instagram