travel-money1

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.

As Seen On

A Wanderer’s Home

Posted on January 14th, 2014

I teetered in my living room in downtown Ulaanbaatar with a backpack slung over each of my shoulders, clothes sticking out of one and a laptop bulging out of the other, cords hanging down over the sides of the zippers. I pulled on my boots and tearfully kissed my Mongolian kitten goodbye, leaving him purring cluelessly in the arms of my roommate. My knees bulged under the weight of literally all of my possessions as I closed the door on a place I had been calling home for the past 3 months.

 

It was a week before Christmas and I was finally bound for Home with a capital H, although the irony of leaving one home to go to another was not lost on me.

 

“Home” this time was Rachel’s couch in Greenwich Village, only a 36-hour journey away to JFK.

 

Things are a bit messy these days.

 

You see, my parents live in one place, I went to university a 15-hour drive from there, I lived in New York City for awhile after that, and my friends live scattered in dozens of places in all corners of the Earth. Now I’m one of the only Americans working for a British company based in Spain that sends me on 3-month rotations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

 

According to US tax laws, I am legally considered “nomadic.” You know you are something of an oddity when the IRS writes a specific clause for you in 8-point font. Professional gypsy I am, and have been that way since I was 17.

 

Everywhere I go, I am missing a hundred people, places, and things. Everywhere I go, I feel out of place. Everyone I go, I am saying simultaneous hellos and goodbyes.

 

When I’m with my parents, I miss my friends. When I’m in New York with my friends, I miss traveling. When I’m traveling, I miss the comforts of home and familiar faces. When I’m with familiar faces, they inevitably feel less familiar. It’s an endless cycle that plagues me.

 

I am deeply, genuinely grateful for having so much freedom and opportunity, but it causes its own set of problems. I have learned that being a wanderer means scattering your heart and soul around the globe, sprinkling little pieces of yourself as you go along. It means being joyfully open to the wonders of the Earth and its people in a way that those with roots simply can’t be. You become a cell with porous walls, letting everything seep in to you and letting everything take part of you away.

 

If you are a traveler, everything and everyone touches you, moves you, and shapes you until you yourself become a reflection of the world, a collection of everyone you’ve ever met, everywhere you’ve ever been, and everything you’ve ever done all at once.

 

This is the burden of being a “nomad.” We carry the weight of missing so many things around with us, not being able to fully share them with anyone else, and not being able to return to any of those wonderful places, people, and moments. 

  

I can be sitting on a train passing in Taiwan, passing through villages at sunset and my heart aches for lazy Sunday mornings with a lover in Brooklyn. I can be dancing samba in Copacabana, and suddenly yearn for tea in the central markets of Cairo. I miss the present before it has even passed by, knowing I will feel nostalgic for moments that haven’t even arrived. It is constant simultaneous pain and joy.

  

I never could have imagined this feeling before becoming so fluid, so distant and close at the same time. I should be thankful that life has given me so many precious gifts (and I am), but the laws of time and energy work their magic and the universe inevitably takes it all back. We’re always moving forward, while everything around us stays in a single place in time. Beautiful things happen, but they happen once and never again. Their fog settles into the back of our minds forever.

 

We just get to know that at one point we had those things.

 

I’d like to be able to take my memories out of the closet and put them on the way I slip into a favorite pair of jeans. Every time I put them on, they look and feel the same. I wish life experiences could be like that, that I could step right back into them at a moments notice. I want to go back to drinking in the college dorms, passing notes in algebra class in fourth grade, fighting nerves on the first day of my first job ever, having my first kiss, riding motorcycles in China, crying over an ex-boyfriend, shivering in the steppes of Mongolia. The good, the bad, the ugly…I want it all back.

 

A real home would be nice, too. More than a permanent tax address, more than a zip code, more than a nice one bedroom in SoHo, more than my childhood bed in my parents’ house, more than the apartment in downtown Ulaanbaatar that I called home for the past 3 months. For most people, home is where roots and relationships and that same route to work in the morning come into play.

 

But for me, for now, it’s where my backpack is safe and where I have someone to go to dinner with. It’s where my heart can take a moment’s break from the pain of leaving wherever it just came from and where it will ache for tomorrow. Home is everywhere and it is nowhere all at the same time.

 

Home is all in my head.

 

 

Liked this article? Please share on your favorite social networks below! Or write to me at elaina@lifebefore30.com and tell me about how you cope with being a traveler, with missing people and places, and with feeling like “home” is a foreign concept.

 

Want to start traveling but just don’t know how to start? Visit my Coaching page and schedule a 30-minute session with me to get your plans in motion!

 

Suggested Posts

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.

As Seen On

As Seen On

As Seen On

Sign Me Up

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

Sign me up

Location

Current Location

Map

Current Location

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

As Seen On

As Seen On

Sign Me Up

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

Sign Me Up

Current Location

Current Location

Map

Browse Articles

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