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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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Everyone Has Something to Teach Us

Posted on January 15th, 2016

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It was a scotching afternoon, typical of central India, and I was sipping chai at a table of comically well-traveled young people. By day, we rock-climbed, rode motorcycles through villages, and swam in lakes surrounded by bemused locals. By night, we threw back beers, swapped stories, and slept under mosquito nets on the roof of a family home, curled up on thin mattresses under the stars. The effect was something like a hyper-international summer camp, and it was food for the wanderer’s soul.

 

Our topic that afternoon was, “In all your travels, who has taught you the most?” and the stories unfolded easily one after another — the inspiring farmer, the marathon runner, the orphan turned non-profit leader, the unbelievably generous local — until we reached Adam.

 

Adam himself was inspiration personified. He’s a Swedish-American emergency flight nurse and has been traveling the world for over ten years, one year of work followed by one year of travel. “I work to live, not live to work,” he explained to me between puffs of his cigarette one night.

 

He helped start a hospital in Ethiopia and just got back from rehabilitating Himalayan porters in Nepal with the two of the most famous mountaineers in the world. He’s a connoisseur of adventure sports and excels at everything from mountain climbing and dirt-biking to surfing and skiing. There’s nothing he hasn’t done or wouldn’t try, and needless to say his body is basically a work of art. I would have nominated him as one of the most inspiring people I’ve met in my eight years of on-and-off travel, but present company was excluded.

 

“I think everyone has something to teach us,” he responded after a few moments of thoughtful silence, reels of faces and bygone adventures no doubt running through his mind.

 

It was such a basic statement, one we knew should be guiding our interactions with all people at all times, but, like most really good bits of wisdom, had washed up on the forgotten shores of our deepest consciousness.

 

Since that conversation, I’ve been looking at everyone I meet on this whirlwind trip — and on the ever-unfolding expedition that is life — through these lenses, the “Hello, nice to meet you, now I’m going to learn from you” lenses. And they’re already coming in handy.

 

For example, I just moved into a hut on an organic farm in southern India where I’ll be volunteering for the next couple of weeks. After a journey of more than fifteen hours to reach the farm, the owner, Yelu, snapped at me for reasons I couldn’t comprehend through his thick Tamil accent, but I knew I was in the doghouse. And I wanted to turn right back around and stomp out like an admonished toddler.

 

But I stuck around and made it a point to wake up early the next day for the breakfast shift, helping him prepare the first of three meals for more than thirty people on the farm. Working side by side with Yelu, there were not a single trace of anger from the day before. His frustration had erupted in one moment and was forgotten in the next. That easy forgiveness, that expression of an emotion without any attachment to it, was something I needed to learn from.

 

It wasn’t until later I learned that the owner of the farm for the past thirty-five years had just passed away two weeks ago, and Yelu suddenly found himself in charge of the everything. He was grieving the loss, undoubtedly, and yet worked tirelessly from dawn to dusk to keep everyone and everything happy and healthy under his care. My admiration for this quirky Indian man only grew.

 

“Everyone has something to teach us” — a simple mantra that reminds us to look for the gifts and inspiration each person has to share with the world, and to remember that we, too, are important teachers.

 

Why is it that it sometimes takes traveling halfway around the world to understand life’s most basic principles?

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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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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.

 

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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