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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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My Tips for Packing Like a Boss – And Maybe Enjoying It, Too

Posted on December 19th, 2014

Photo from www.travelingteams.com

 

It’s almost Christmas, so I’m doing it again – flying over 24 hours across the world to get home. Johannesburg, Dubai, New York. But NOTHING makes me happier than seeing those JFK stickers on my suitcases as they get chucked down the conveyor belt behind the check-in counter. 

 

And so, once again, I’m packing up the 46 kilos I carry with me wherever I go and popping 2 Dramamine that will get me to Dubai without feeling a thing.

 

46 kilos might sound like a lot, but remember that I live abroad 11 months of the year and could be sent to literally any country on Earth.

 

No, I don’t work for the CIA. But my job is crazy nonetheless.

 

Because I’m completely nomadic, I pack up everything I own and move to a new country 4-5 times per year. And that doesn’t even count the other dozens and dozens of times I fly somewhere for the weekend or work out of another city for a week.

 

What does this make me? Ridiculously good at packing.

 

 

Actually, I LOVE packing. I guess when you do something this much, you might as well make peace with it. I love all the organizing and cleaning that happens, I love getting rid of old things, I love daydreaming about the next adventure, and I love the feeling of victory when I zipper up the beast and check-in under 23kg. #Winning.

 

Ok, maybe this is where you all figure out just how weird I am…

 

Here are my pro trips, perfected through trial, error, and a lot of ruined blouses.

 

Hangers. I always pack a hanger for every suit and every good dress I own so no matter when or where I arrive, I can hang those pieces and start letting the wrinkles fall out.

 

Dry cleaning bags. You know those plastic zipper bags (good) dry cleaners give you when you pick up your clothes? I save a few and put all of my suits, dresses, and otherwise “good” clothing in them, on the aforementioned hangers, ready to be easily unpacked when I arrive. This method is also the best barrier against spills. 

 

 Photo from www.treehugger.com

 

– Ebags packing cubes. I have 4 large ones, all in different colors: one for professional wear that doesn’t need to be hung, one for casual wear, one for under garments and swimsuits, and one for toiletries and cosmetics. These turn my suitcase into a little mobile dresser with drawers and makes packing (and un-packing) twice as fast and organized. This is what it winds up looking like:

 

 Photo from www.vagabondish.com 

 

Eagle Creek shoe cubes. I never carelessly toss my shoes into my suitcase. I have these cubes for every pair of shoes or I wrap them in plastic bags if I’m in a pinch. This prevents my clothes from getting dirty and keeps my suitcase organized. (You’re noticing the theme now, right? Organization!)

 

Digital luggage scale. Priceless. I weigh and re-weigh my bags before heading to the airport to make sure I avoid overweight charges. Here’s the one I have, which I swear by. 

 

– Collapsable tote bag. Sometimes I get to the counter and I’m still overweight. Since it’s usually cheaper to pay for an extra bag than to pay per kilo for how much I went over, I keep a light, expandable tote bag tucked into my biggest suitcase to throw the extras into and check it separately if need be.

 

Keep the boxes. I always pack my “fancy” make-up and perfumes in their original boxes, which are usually padded or otherwise more protective than tossing them into a generic bag of cosmetics. In a pinch, pick up some bubble wrap and make sure any glass bottles are protected.

 

 

Triple check all toiletries. It’s a no-brainer, but every once and awhile I still arrive somewhere with purple shampoo exploded all over the place. Make extra sure all lids are sealed, put everything in your toiletries eBag, and then wrap it with a plastic bag. Better safe than sorry! (And remember, if your good clothes are sealed in the dry-cleaning bags you should be fine even if something does spill.)

 

Stain remover. I always have a 3oz bottle of liquid Shout in my carry-on. What happens if you arrive and, despite all of these sound tips for avoiding that in the first place, your pink blush somehow smashed all over your favorite white blouse? Better to have the remedy on-hand. (And if you’ve just landed in Lagos, good luck finding a decent stain remover.)

 

Electronics and chargers. Guess what I also have a small packing cube for? All of those pesky chargers. I pack them together, check all my outlets before leaving the house, and toss it into my carry-on. Remember, TSA can now ask you to boot up your laptop, cell phone, or iPad at some major airports. If you fail to have those devices charged or readily chargeable, you can be denied boarding.

 

Laundry bag. I have a small hanging laundry bag that I always pack to keep my dirty clothes separate from the clean ones. It also let’s me easily identify what wash I need to do when I arrive.

 

Photo from Ebay

 

My biggest secret is that I shamelessly pack 3-4 days before traveling (if I have been given that much notice). This gives me time to pack, re-pack, check for things I may have left behind, and avoid rushing, which is the major culprit of forgetting things or ruining items by not taking care of them while packing.

 

Also, make sure you triple check your airline’s baggage rules before flying. You don’t want any unpleasant surprises at the check-in counter.

 

Hope this helps on your next trip!

 

What are your tips and tricks for packing? Share in the comments section below. You might also like: 15 Things I Never Travel Without and How to Start Traveling Tomorrow Like You Dream About Today

 

 

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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.

 

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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