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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. These are the best years of your life and you deserve to be FREE! 

 

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 lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for 5.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York in 2013. You can read my full story here. I’m now living my dream, settled in Bali, Indonesia, fully independent and working happily on projects that support my deepest passion! 

 

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 now make my living helping others break out of ordinary living and get clear on their mission in life. I get paid to help people MANIFEST THEIR DREAMS like I did — how cool is that?  

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’ve always done things a bit differently and I think there are SO many feasible ways for people to live “off the beaten path”. I hope my blog lets you see what’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. Drop me a line at elaina@lifebefore30.com or apply to work with me directly! 

From Malawi to Bali: 12 Ways I’ve Changed My Life over the Past 6 Months

Posted on March 26th, 2018

It’s been a hectic and transformational past six months for me: volunteering in the poorest country in the world, living in a hut in Hawaii, and studying yoga intensively in India. I’ve now up and moved to Bali to join the world’s most famous digital nomad community for the next few months. I’m truly blessed to have my financial ducks in a row in order to keep the circus that is my life on the road. 

 

 

If you’re curious as to what I’ve been up to, here’s a little recap. 

 

In September, I went to Malawi to volunteer in a local non-profit organization and raised $2,000 to send 40 Malawian kids to school. I lived with a Malawian family for a month and spent time taking local minibuses to see some of the country. (Yes, solo travel for women in Africa is totally fine, but truthfully the harshness of the climate, poverty, and cultural disparity in Malawi took a toll on me and I ended my journey early with a plane ticket from Lilongwe to New Delhi.)  

 

 

I then spent two months studying hatha yoga in India, embarking on the most serious work I’ve ever done on my spiritual development. I studied yoga intensively, took courses, read scriptures, and did three hours of yoga and meditation (my personal practice) every day, educating myself and learning from dedicated yogis on the inner workings and potential of my body and mind. Westernized exercise yoga (“Vinyasa flow”) has never resonated with me — but learning straight from some of the seminal texts of the ancients and following a traditional Indian yoga regimen did. And it found me at a time in my life when I was experiencing a certain inner instability and irritability that begged for healing. 

 

 

At Christmas I flew home to see my parents and then went to California to take a graduate-level course in international impact investing, aka re-entering the career-mania vortex. Although the coursework itself was interesting (I love learning and keeping up with my professional development) and I did meet some genuinely wonderful people, the majority of the class was worried about finding a job or getting promoted, something I just don’t worry about in the same way anymore. 

 

Instead of taking a fellowship at an impact investing firm, I decided (in the face of all rationality) to move to a hut on the Big Island of Hawaii. Hawaii had been calling to me for years and it became a pressing item on the bucket list. I spent two months living in a shack in an eco-community on the Big Island of Hawaii, walking alongside lava, working with my shadow side, learning to play guitar, going to my first Rainbow Gathering, and discovering that hippies are still very much alive and well in Hawaii. 

 

 

I’ve changed a lot over the past six months, and I wanted to share some of the best practices I’ve picked up that I can also recommend to you. These ideas, both big and small, have helped me renew my commitment to financial autonomy, location independence, consciousness, and a deep aliveness and presence in my daily life. 

 

1. Learned my own yoga practice

 

I’ll never have to go to another yoga class ever again. After two months studying some of the oldest hatha yoga on the planet, I now wake up every morning and do an hour of asana, pranayama, meditation, and cleansing kriyas every day. (If you’re interested in doing the same, please reach out. I’ll be certified by the end of the year and I’m committing to teaching others to do the same in order to reduce their reliance on expensive classes and teachers. Having a deep, personal practice is the path!) 

 

2. Fine-tuned my financial perspective 

 

If everything works out, I plan to never have a “job” again. I want to have investments, small businesses, freelancing opportunities, clients, and passive income. I’m slowly experimenting with ways of doing each of these avenues already — stay tuned! (And if you haven’t read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, I really recommend it.) I’ve renewed my dedication to freelancing, remote work, and passive income strategies. I don’t want money to run my life anymore! 

 

3. Stopped swearing

 

This may seem random, but this is a very important practice in my yoga school. Purifying the throat chakra purifies the mind and body. I’ll never forget accidentally letting an f-word slip in front of a fellow practitioner and seeing the shock and horror on his face, cringing from the polluted airwaves. I felt so uncultured and not in control of myself that I haven’t dropped another f-bomb since — and I’ve found myself spending less time with people who swear on a regular basis. 

 

4. Gotten off all dating apps

 

Speaking of pollution… Again, this may seem random but de-commodifying my approach to dating was a critical turning point for me. I know the partner I’m meant to be with isn’t spending his time swiping over women’s photos, making superficial judgements about them, and then going on 3 dates a week in the hopes of finding a lover. Cringe. I want organic connection that comes from looking up, connecting with real people, and working on myself in the meantime. Funnily enough, since I deleted my Tinder account, I’ve found lovers who take the same approach: presence, authenticity, and real world connection. 

 

5. Became vegetarian

 

Any true yoga practitioner should be completely vegetarian according to the principles of ahimsa (nonviolence), so giving up meat was a simple matter of following the yamas and nyamas (not to mention that meat is hard on the body to digest, so it really interferes with a serious yoga and meditation practice with so much energy being directed elsewhere). Six months later, I feel amazing. Truthfully, I’ve had meat a handful of times, especially when I was in California for a month, but every time I’ve gone back and tried it, it’s been less and less appetizing. I’m staying vegetarian for now because 1) I don’t want to ingest the fear of slaughtered animals, 2) I don’t want to support a cruel industry, 3) I don’t love the taste anymore, 4) I’m saving a lot of money, and 5) I feel great without the added animal hormones in my body. Even milk and cheese taste funny to me now, so I’ve easily transitioned to living without those, as well. 

 

6. Learned and followed my Ayurvedic dosha

 

If you don’t know your dosha type, search online for a free quiz or search for an Ayurvedic doctor in your local area. Knowing my dosha allowed me to introduce some easy diet modifications that have been a huge difference in my digestive processes and daily energy levels (ie. I don’t eat raw food after 4pm, drink a big glass of warm lemon water first thing in the morning, and take a little-known power herb called triphala every day). 

 

7. Tried out new ways of making money 

 

I’m currently learning how to create a private label business and sell products online through Amazon as a passive income strategy. I have no idea if it will work out, but I’m willing to spend some of my savings with the hope that it does. I’m also investing in impact funds, learning to trade my own stocks, and of course keeping a little stockpile of cryptocurrency. The key here is to not just think about doing different things financially, but to actually set aside some funds and experiment with new ideas.

 

8. Changed what music I listen to

 

I quit watching TV and most Hollywood movies well over a decade ago, and consequently freed up my time to travel, read, invest, and create more. I actively choose not to let mainstream ideas get in my head or be influenced by the gross bias towards violence, perverted sexuality, uncultured language, and materialistic values that dominates the media. However, I totally overlooked this same problem when it came to music, until I recently started listening to a lot more conscious music (sometimes referred to as “medicine music”), which spreads positivity and love at its core. I wrote a post with some of my new favorite artists if you want to check them out too: Music That’s Actually Good for Your Soul

 

9. Became outspoken about insensitive use of technology

 

If you pull out your phone while we’re speaking (and I actually care about our relationship), I WILL say something. I will ask you to put it away so we can connect face-to-face or I’ll stop talking and wait patiently until you notice that you’re being rude. At Christmas, I was lecturing my 13-year old cousins about their insane inability to look up from their devices — and by the end of our conversation they actually seemed to get where I was coming from and why it was harmful to them, too.  

 

It’s a vulnerable thing to do really, to basically say to someone, “Hey, I want you to pay attention to me,” but it’s the truth, isn’t it? I won’t settle for giving or receiving divided attention. If we all start speaking up and calling each other out on our technology addiction, we can and will make a change.

 

10. Cut out alcohol completely

 

Although I have been mostly alcohol-free since May 2015 (minus a glass of red wine with dinner here or there), I haven’t had even a single drop since September. Keep in mind, this has never been about me saying NO to alcohol but about saying YES to the bigger picture: how amazing and clear I feel every single day, how deep my yoga practice is, how clean and pure my body and aura is, and how full my pockets are — with extra money I save from spending on booze! At 28, I barely have any wrinkles and no one ever guesses my age — where others my same age who drink are aging much faster! Getting 100% clean from any intoxicants has allowed me to become keenly aware of the energy in myself and others, including the energy of alcohol itself. Now when I’m around it, I sense its toxicity and its aggressive and very masculine nature. I’m so happy to be on the path that I am and I encourage everyone to try going cold turkey for at least 30 days to see how you feel without alcohol in your body — then you can decide for yourself. It’s also fascinating and alarming to do research on the alcohol industry itself (something like $4B a year is spent just on advertising the stuff), not to mention its placement in TV and movies and how casual getting drunk is made to look. It’s a big part of our mainstream culture and it’s really eye-opening when you start to notice it. Why would something need to be promoted so heavily if it was good for us? 

 

11. Tapped into my intuition 

 

I’ve had the most bizarrely wonderful things happen when I’ve listened to that little voice. One day I was driving home in Gokarna — my favorite place in India! — when my little voice said: “Go eat a dosa.” I wasn’t even hungry, but I drove to the local dosa and chai shack, sat down, ordered a dosa, reluctantly ate it, and just as I was about to get up, a beautiful man who I had met a month before and deeply connected with (who was supposed to have left Gokarna long ago) shows up! We reconnect and proceed to have a fabulous love affair. Thank you, intuition. I’ve had that little voice, mid conversation on another topic, say: “Tell this person about Vipassana meditation,” only to find out what person was in that very moment having a dilemma about whether or not to confirm her place in a Vipassana retreat.  I’ve had that little voice, upon entering a co-working space in a new city say, “Sit next to that guy,” only to land a new freelancing contract moments later when that person needed precisely the services I had to offer.

 

My intuition has led me to countless uncanny coincidences, new relationships, messages I received or transmitted at the perfect time, and opportunities uncovered only by listening to that little voice — and it’s changed my life. Not only do I find myself spontaneously driving home the long way, saying crazy random things mid-conversation, or honoring any bad feelings in my stomach, I’ve developed a newfound respect for the guidance of my unconscious intelligence. 

 

12. Cut out materialism from conversation

 

When I was back to the States this year from December to March (my longest stint in America since leaving in 2013), I noticed how much people talked about their “stuff.” What they bought, when or why they bought it, problems with their car or phone or house, new things they want to get, stores they go to or want to go to, and, very frequently, superficial remarks on each other’s clothes, hats, nails, cars, laptops, or hair.

 

I finally got so fed up with hearing this type of superficial exchanges that 1) I caught myself doing the same and changed my own behavior (change starts with yourself), 2) refused to engage when someone commented on my camera or shoes or purse and re-directed the conversation to something more personal, and 3) if I was more comfortable with the person, I’d call them out on it and engage them instead with something like: “You know, lately I’ve been realizing that people are speaking more about the stuff they own instead of the stuff that’s going on in their hearts and minds. Have you noticed it too? Why do you think we do that?” One vulnerable person is enough to change the dynamic. 

 

This last point touches on something else I’ve been trying to work on over the past several months, which is speaking less from the mind and more from the heart. I have a tendency to be very cerebral and analytical, so conversations with me can easily turn into more of an exchange of information then the kind of exchange that brings two people closer together. I’ve been trying to speak more about how I’m feeling about what I’m doing instead of just what I’m doing. I’m trying to share more about how I think than just what I think, and, in general, showing more vulnerability and authenticity.

 

Now it’s your turn. What have been the most important changes you’ve made over the past 6 months? Reflect on it or write to me at elaina@lifebefore30.com. I love connecting with my readers!

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. These are the best years of your life and you deserve to be FREE! 

 

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 lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for 5.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York in 2013. You can read my full story here. I’m now living my dream, settled in Bali, Indonesia, fully independent and working happily on projects that support my deepest passion! 

 

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 now make my living helping others break out of ordinary living and get clear on their mission in life. I get paid to help people MANIFEST THEIR DREAMS like I did — how cool is that?  

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’ve always done things a bit differently and I think there are SO many feasible ways for people to live “off the beaten path”. I hope my blog lets you see what’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. Drop me a line at elaina@lifebefore30.com or apply to work with me directly! 

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I’m sure there’s a reason you landed here. Maybe we’re meant to work together and your whole life is about to flip upside down… That tends to happen with my clients as they transform from the inside out.

 

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Currently in: Bali

 

Previously in: India

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Hey friend, thanks for finding me!

 

I’m sure there’s a reason you landed here. Maybe we’re meant to work together and your whole life is about to flip upside down… That tends to happen with my clients as they transform from the inside out.

 

I work with extraordinary, brave, and self-inquiring souls who are ready to do the inner work required to launch them into the next huge chapter of their life. I work with people who are willing and ready to wake up and become more alive and aligned than ever before! 

 

Does any of this sound like you?

  • Successful on paper but not fulfilled inside
  • Feeling like you’re working so hard but not getting anywhere
  • Knowing you’re destined to do

Read more

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Follow me on twitter

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