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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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Are You Living Out Your Widest Spectrum of Possibility?

Posted on May 3rd, 2017

I've been living in Australia for the past two months and I have to admit the laidback, quirky, and creative Aussie energy has resonated deeply with me. In Sydney, I lived with a bunch of seriously talented Brazilian DJs, dated the lead singer of a heavy rock band, caught up with a friend from Mongolia who started a small leather goods business, then moved in with film students in Adelaide, met the full-time bassist for another major Australian rock band, made friends with the only non-Japanese member of a Japanese techno group, SCUBA dived with a bunch of badass dive instructors who live full-time on a boat out on the Great Barrier Reef, and later rented a house from two professional circus performers. 

 

Yes, circus performers.

 

When I told my pink-haired AirBnb host that I had never met a professional acrobat before and I found this career path both insanely inspiring and highly unusual, she looked absolutely mystified. Like, you know, accountant, secretary, circus performer, all perfectly normal day jobs.

 

"Not where I come from," I smiled. And she looked at me and asked seriously, "Where do you come from?"

 

The land of bankers, I thought sadly.

 

Besides indulging an obvious weakness for dating musicians, Australia (and other places like Berlin and India) has opened my eyes to all the incredible ways there are to make a living in the world. And how most of us get so caught up in making a living that we forget how to really live our lives.

 

We inflict so many self-imposed constraints on ourselves. The wildest spectrum of possibility many people I know apply to their lives is accountant or diplomat, mergers and acquisions or law, health policy or social work. 

 

Then there's all these imagined timelines. I need to have an MBA by 27, I need to be married by 30, I need to have started my own company by 35.  

 

Maybe my friends are simply more practically-minded than other people, but I see this as a widespread trend in a lot of communities of relatively "accomplished" and "ambitious" people — their ambitious eyes only see so far. 

 

These people, who are usually well-educated, well-traveled, and not exactly struggling to get by economically-speaking, don't take really big risks. Their idea of doing something crazy is going back to grad school or moving from strategy to operations. Maybe taking a six month sabbatical to travel Asia. 

 

They would never think about leaving their day job to do music full time, or become a mural artist (met another one of those in Adelaide), or take two years off to walk from Germany to China. Their sense of adventure is drastically limited. 

 

They don't imagine crazy cool ways to make money or they get so caught up in making money that they forget sometimes things are worth doing even if they don't produce an income.

 

Sometimes its limited by real constraints, like student debt (read about how I think staying out of debt is the best thing you can do to build a life of freedom and purpose), but other times it's simply fear, a lack of exposure to role models who have taken a different path professionally, or fear of falling behind in the job market or living without as much money as they've gotten used to. 

 

Let me stop right there and correct my pronoun usage. Not they, we. I think we all fall into this pattern. A great majority of us tend to see life as linear, with one accomplishment segwaying right into the next logical step. 

 

I wanted to write this post as my way of standing up in a room full of people who could perhaps spend the rest of their lives sending email and jump up and down shouting, "HEY YOU! WAKE UP! You're among the freest people on the planet and yet you live like a prisoner! What else might you like to do? Try something new! Worry less about money, security, and prestige. Worry more about the possibility of living in a tiny box you drew for yourself."

 

Some practical things to do if you've done an alarming amount of self-recognition in this post: Try making a chaos plan. Read a book like The Artist's Way (even if you're not an "Artist" with a capital A). Make friends with people who inspire you. Regularly examine the self-imposed constraints you put on the full spectrum of where your life and career could lead. Make a conscious effort to take more risks. Plan an adventure far away from your day job. Remember your childhood dreams. Work less, play more. Don't get caught up in making a living — actually life your life.

 

Before I wrap this up, I also want to give us all the benefit of the doubt, so if you know someone who's living life on a fabulously wild, undulating path — or even better is someone who's out there trekking through the forest, oblivious to any path at all — then send an email to elaina@lifebefore.com and tell me about this person. I'd love to share their story on LB30 and inspire others to be more daring in both our personal and professional lives. 

 

Australia in a film strip: watching the sunset in Sydney harbor, DJ roommates doing their thing, going to a rock-and-roll friend's show, boat life on the Great Barrier Reef, Adelaide creative vibes, and beach walks in Queensland that feel like touching the face of freedom itself. 

 

 

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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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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.

 

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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