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. I now move to a new country every 3 months, where I execute marketing projects in emerging markets.


You can read about My 30-Day Life Overhaul here.


I love what I’m doing now. I get paid to travel and explore unique corners of this Earth, and I have a degree of autonomy and accountability in my work that I never thought possible at my age. I am growing at a much more rapid pace as I learn about the world hands-on, meet people who teach and challenge me, and have time to reflect about what I want to tackle next.


I am thrilled to be living out this important part of my life to the fullest – and I want to help every one of my peers feel the exact same way! That’s why I started this blog in September of 2012.


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. 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, West Africa, and Asia, and backpacked solo in four 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 have finally learned to cook for myself. I jaywalk and drink a lot of bubble tea.


What I Do Now

In addition to my day job, 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.


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 elaina@lifebefore30.com.  




About Life Before 30


Life Before 30 is a blog written by a twenty-something (me) for other twenty-somethings, dedicated to helping us navigate a time in our lives of unparalleled importance, when we are filled with important questions about ourselves and the outside world.


We wonder if and when and how we will “figure things out.” More than any previous generation, we feel a strong commitment to doing something meaningful and discovering ways that our professional work can integrate our passions and values. We struggle to balance ambition with maintaining and cultivating our personal relationships.


Traditional concepts of success may be at odds with new, unconventional ideas of achievement that we now have to consider. We want to be entrepreneurial, independent, innovative, and recognized for making unique contributions to our world.


We are also a “hyper-international” generation. Many of us live overseas, travel extensively, and have long-distance relationships of all kinds.


These are unprecedented times for us, in our lives, and in the history of modern human society.


Life Before 30 strives to bring both practical and philosophical guidance on tackling these issues our generation is facing. Writing this blog does NOT mean I have all of these challenges and contradictions figured out. In reality, writing about the issues my peers and I are facing helps me work through my own personal and professional challenges and bring clarity to my thoughts and feelings. It allows me to realize that I am far from alone in my struggles, many of which are a product of large-scale, global, and societal factors.


All in all, twenty-somethings have an enormous amount of potential to choose how we approach the rest of our lives and careers in today’s world. Through several years of traveling and making out-of-the-ordinary career choices, I have learned not to be disillusioned with the idea that “success” – in conventional terms – is what brings satisfaction and meaning to our lives.


I think a fulfilling life comes from prioritizing the roots of what makes people happy: pursuing meaningful relationships, doing exciting work, helping others, securing freedom, and improving oneself through purposeful learning and honest self-reflection.


I hope twenty-somethings find this site as inspiration for nurturing these roots of fulfillment through practical advice on achieving our goals and developing attitudes towards every aspect of life that drive us towards building a more productive, positive, innovative, and altogether happier generation, now and in the future.

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Life Before 30

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Current Location: Doha, Qatar




Previous Location: Johannesburg, South Africa



What’s Hot

What's Hot

Top 10 Tricks for Budget Travelers

As someone who has done a fair amount of vagabonding, I have become something of an expert on spending months on the road with very little money. People tend to think I’m secretly rich because of the amount of traveling I do, but reality couldn’t be any farther from that assumption. It all comes down to saving well, planning properly, and spending strategically.


Here are my personal top 10 tricks for not going Read more

Recent Posts

Recent Posts

  • Want to Change Your Life? Try Making a Chaos Plan

    I would venture to say that when it comes to questions about life, your career, what you want, and what you think will make you happy, you probably have your head in the sand.


    Most of us twenty-somethings do, actually.


    You know what I mean by head in the sand? Ostrich style, like this:



    You, in your 20s


    This isn’t by choice of course, because, career-wise, most of us crave unique work experiences Read more

Office Hours

Office Hours

Step into my office!


Two 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 wake up in the morning dreading what’s ahead?

Do you dream of starting your own business but don’t know how? Read more

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