Hi, I’m Elaina!
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 until April 2013, when I quit in pursuit of growth and adventure (you can read about My 30-Day Life Overhaul here). I found a dream job that let me move to a new country every 3 months, working as a project director for an international media company specialized in emerging markets. I did that for over two years, working everywhere from Nigeria to Mongolia, Ethiopia to Guyana. I resigned in September 2015 to work full-time as a digital nomad, making enough money to cover my travel expenses through writing and coaching. I came home in November 2016 and landed another dream job on the international operations team of a major start-up that will send me all over the world on rotating country assignments. When I'm not at work, I'm still a blogger, freelance writer, photographer, travel planner, and career coach.
I am thrilled to be living out this important part of my life to the fullest – and I want to help every one of you feel the exact same way! That’s why I started this blog in September of 2012. I don't preach quitting your day job and traveling aimlessly — my message is to dream big, take risks, and live your twenties (and beyond) as a great adventure. If that means travel, wonderful. If it means finding your dream job at an established company, great. If it means starting your own small business, that works too! It's all about identifying your mission, pursuing what you find fulfilling, and rejecting constricting norms and ideas.
Some Things I Think
I am embracing the present. I like listening, but I think I need to speak out more. I think we all need to use technology less. At some point, I think everyone should travel alone and live out of a backpack for at least a year. I think we were all put on this Earth together for a reason. I believe in a God that's more like an omnipresent creative intelligence. I want to treat people the way I want to be treated, but I am not always successful. I accept my personality flaws and embrace them as what makes me unique. If everyone spoke more than one language, the world would be a better place. I understand that I cannot change people. But I like helping others. I believe in having experiences, not things.
Above all, I believe that life is an adventure.
Some Things I’ve Done
I wrote dozens of books when I was in primary school, complete with my own 64-crayon illustrations. I have never broken a bone, but I once fell off a camel named Michael Jackson. I love traveling and I’m proud of my adventurous streak. I have studied in Singapore and China, worked with non-profit organizations in Guatemala and Egypt, worked in New York, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia, and backpacked solo in five different regions of the world. I throw myself into situations, cultures and languages full force. I have been financially independent since the age of 17 and one of my parents is a cancer survivor. I am an only child. I love cooking. I jaywalk and drink a lot of bubble tea.
What I Do Now
I just finished 15 months of digital nomadism, making my living all over Europe and Asia through freelance writing and coaching, and now I've landed a job at a major start-up on their international operations team. I will likely go back to being a freelance nomad in the future, but for now this career opportunity is unbeatable.
When I'm not at work, I use this blog to promote innovation in how my generation approaches the intersection of life, career, travel, and self-discovery. I encourage pursuing unconventional goals, traveling and exploring more than society tells us we can, and altogether living intensely. I write about managing professional and personal development, feeding healthy entrepreneurial desires, nurturing a global network, and promoting success as how well we embrace the journey of life.
Additionally, as someone who has successfully landed – and left – a corporate job in favor of an experience better suited for my spirit of adventure and entrepreneurship, I also provide career-coaching to other twenty-somethings looking to shake up their professional lives, rebuke the norm, and find meaning in the early stages of their careers. I've also landed several "real" international jobs that have taken me to over a dozen countries on four continents — for work in business development, sales, project management, and operations. One is a major company you've all heard of, another is a small media agency that works with big name media brands.
As an experienced traveler and backpacker, I also serve as a travel consultant, helping adventurous twenty-somethings plan both short trips and extended backpacking sabbaticals.
Find out more about my consulting packages on the Office Hours page. I'd love to work with you!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy discovering what I've created around here. If you have anything you'd like to share with me, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.