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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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Why I Quit My Job to Live Out My Big “What If…”

Posted on April 27th, 2015

Roughly two years ago today, I made some very big changes in my life… all by deliberate choice.

 

I purposely left a good, safe, stable, normal job. I purposely left behind one of my favorite cities on Earth. I purposely removed myself from the lives of all my friends and family. I purposely said goodbye to a potential relationship. I purposely sold almost everything I owned and indefinitely packed my bags.

 

I can’t forget that painful cab ride to JFK, tears streaming down my face as we rocketed through the midtown tunnel with all my remaining belongings stuffed in suitcases in the back, my eyes catching blurry last glimpses of everything I had come to know in my first years of “real adulthood.” Sad farewells to friends rang in my ears, and I could still feel that goodbye kiss.

 

I made a conscious choice to tear my life out of the ground with its roots dangling from my fist, clumps of dirt falling around the gaping hole where life was once growing and thriving.

 

I made a conscious choice to venture into the unknown, a choice that initially catapulted me into the chaos of West Africa, taking on a completely different job, living and working with total strangers, and getting to know a part of the world that was very, very foreign to me. 

 

So why did I do it? And, you may be wondering, do I regret anything?

 

I did it because I value leading a life that is more interesting rather than one that follows the norm with its head down.

 

I did it because I came to terms with my own worst case scenario. If I hated my new job, missed my friends and family, fell into a miserable depression, and desperately wanted my old life back…then I could go back. I could have my old job back, I could find another apartment in New York, and I could live off my savings while I picked up the pieces of a decision gone horribly wrong.

 

I left prepared for that, mentally (and practically) in a place where I could care of myself if I regretted my decision.

 

But what drove me to do it most was an intense, insatiable curiosity that did not allow “what if…?” to remain a question. I dreamed up an alternate reality for myself, made it a viable option, and unapologetically said “yes.”

 

I did it because I know what happens to a rosebush if you tear it out of the ground: it can actually be re-planted elsewhere, and with enough diligent care, can flourish again in new soil. I know my strength and adaptability, and I trusted that my curiosity will continue to have me envisioning more “what if…” possibilities for life. Not running back to the old, but creating the new.

 

Most ironically, my deliberate lifestyle choice first landed me in Nigeria, a country where not as many people have the luxury of making this kind of radical choice for themselves. 

 

In fact, the reality of living in Nigeria is that many things, like water, electricity, internet, cell phone service, transportation, and food, are not all reliable or readily available for choosing. I was also “strongly advised” to never go roaming the streets of Lagos (one of my favorite activities when traveling), because there was a chance I could wind up in a risky situation.

 

The irony of me exercising the epitome of my freedom and choice to travel to a place where I experienced limited freedom and choice was not lost on me. It made me both stronger and more self-conscious of my privilege… and my subsequent obligation to do something with it.

 

After Nigeria (which I completely fell in love with in the end), I worked in Mongolia, Ethiopia, Paraguay, South Africa, and now Qatar. Each place has had its own array of contrasting adjectives to savor: beauty and ugliness, opportunity and limitation, empowerment and frustration, joy and sadness, local and foreign, all of which I learned to love, hate, navigate, and deeply appreciate.

 

Since leaving New York, I have backpacked through Japan, road-tripped across Mongolia in the middle of winter, walked in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela in Soweto, started an NGO in Ethiopia, negotiated contracts with Presidents, Ministers, and CEOs, and made friends with artists, entrepreneurs, nomads, and tribal chiefs. I know that without taking that initial risk, I would not be reaping these rewards. And my sense of gratitude for the ability I have to take advantage of any and all opportunities available to me is immense, and growing daily.

 

It is with this sense of gratitude that I urge all of you to LEAP at the chance to answer your “what if…” questions, however big or small they may be. You have been blessed with the choice to try or not to try. Envision the worst case scenarios, prepare for all the possibilities, but do not be afraid to try.

 

Most of you, at the end of the day, are in a tremendous position of unlimited potential and imagination. As I sit here on the other side of an enormous leap of faith into a world of the unknown, I believe more than ever that we have the ability, and in my opinion, the responsibility, to go flourish in many soils.

 

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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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Currently in: Malawi

 

 

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.

 

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?

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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

Instagram

Elaina on Instagram