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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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A Short Story That Might Just Change How You Communicate With Everyone

Posted on September 16th, 2016

 communication

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 the briefiest interactions. 
 
It was in the midst of cultivating this mindset and putting it into practice that I…met a guy. Because we met in such a special place with our radically purposeful and energetic Burning Man mindsets, we developed a special connection. And he’s been teaching me a lot about communication ever since.
 
Let me give you a concrete example. 
 
He lives on the west coast and I’m a nomad, so when, a couple weeks after the festival, he asked me to come out to California for a show of his, I said (over text), “I’d absolutely love to, but I’ll be overseas for work.”
 
But instead of stopping there, I added a snarky little remark, 100% pure defense mechanism and 1000% immature. “I’m sure you’ll have no trouble inviting along another girl.”
 
So he responded, “So bummed, would love to have you here. By the way, what do you mean by, “I’m sure you’ll have no trouble inviting along another girl?"
 
And I blushed at having to actually elaborate on my snarkiness. 
 
“I meant that, well, you’re a super hot guy and will have no shortage of women to take you up on that offer.”
 
He calmly took it a step farther, with no snark on his part. “I know what you meant, but why did you say it? It bothered me a little bit.”
 
This is when he really started winning me over, not only by expressing that something didn’t sit well with him, but also by asking me about my intention behind it. It gave me a chance to reflect on why I felt the need to make that statement in the first place.
 
I explained myself something along the lines of, “I guess I’m coping with the reality of being far away from you and other people I care about and the reality of that situation is you being with other people, and I’m trying to project that I’m okay with that because my lifestyle and my choices are making that the reality, and if I’m not okay with this reality maybe it means I’m ultimately not okay with my whole lifestyle…” Something deep and complex like that. But he got that point.
 
He thanked me for the explanation, added in his own experience, and said he was grateful I clarified my thoughts because he had read my initial comment as judgmental towards him, like I was calling him a player. (Not at all what I meant, but I see how it could have come off that way.)
 
Okay, at this point you might be thinking, is she really giving us such an analytical play-by-play of this short conversation?
 
YES! That’s the whole point! SO MUCH was being communicated in that short span of time and with so few words. He could have easily taken what I said, interpreted it from his own worldview, and kept on chatting, assuming something about me or what I thought about him in the back of his mind.  
 
But he didn’t. He did three things that took a verbal slippage on my part and turned it into an opportunity to share, grow, and get closer:
 
1.) Openly shared that something I said bothered him.
2.) Calmly asked what I meant by my words.
3.) Kindly asked why I chose to say it.
 
Imagine how many words we use — and misuse because of carelessness or insecurities brewing beneath the surface — on a daily basis. Imagine how many times we’re simply assuming what someone means by their words, or letting things that bother us slide. What if we called each other out more — kindly — and offered up a space to ask about intentions, listen, explore, and grow through better, more authentic communication?
 
A guru of mine once said that we very seldom listen to others; most of the time we’re actually judging. I believe this little method can help us avoid subconscious snap judgements, deepen our connections with others, allow them to feel safer around us, and help each of us learn more about the experiences we’re all having as human beings. 

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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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Currently in: Malawi

 

 

Previously in: Berlin

 

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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.

 

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

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

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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

Instagram

Elaina on Instagram