travel-money1

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! 

How Well Do You Know Your Shadow Side? How 2 Months on Hawaii’s Big Island Shaped My View on Inner Darkness

Posted on March 14th, 2018

When I received what felt like a universal calling to travel to Hawaii, I figured I was in for an ecstatic spiritual awakening. A healer I spontaneously met in the south of India told me about the Big Island, home of the Hawaiian goddess of volcano and fire, Pele, who is known for being a grounding and transformative force in the lives of those who feel and respond to her call. 

 

Once I realized it was a fire goddess beckoning me to make her island the next stop in my 5+ year nomadic journey, I was all in. 

 

I booked a two-month volunteer stint in an eco-community of 20 people on the Hilo side of the Big Island, which is infamous for drawing wanderers and weirdos ashore. I expected to meditate at the base of a volcano for 60 days, learn about Hawaiian culture and spirituality, and frolic with a dreadlocked gang of Pele-worshippers (that last part, for the record, wasn’t far off from reality). 

 

I expected to come away grounded with my root chakra purring — centered in myself, secure in my place in the world, and reconnected to Mother Earth.

 

Instead, I felt like a rocket re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, burning up and exploding as I skidded to the surface of the Hawaiian islands. The Big Island immediately plunged me into darkness, where I spent weeks bumping into the worst versions of myself. 

 

I was completely unprepared. I expected aloha — love — and a sun-kissed enlightenment. Instead, I felt depressed, ugly, and alone. The first week was the worst: 7 days of torrential downpours, tsunami warnings, and my pre-paid living conditions were pushing all my buttons: I had laid out $600 to live in a 10×10 Home Depot tool shed with no water, no electricity, and a kitchen shared with 20 other nutty people who thought this would be a fun experiment in communal living. 

 

Finally, exasperated by not being on cloud nine in paradise, I opened up to few older women in the community and was extremely relieved to hear my experience was apparently perfectly normal! Pele was just saying hello!

 

Unbeknownst to me, I was becoming acquainted with my shadow side. 

 

The term “shadow side” was new to me at the time and it may be new to you now. All of us have a shadow. It’s the part of us we try not to look at: the memories we ignore, patterns we fall into, our behavioral blind spots. What Hawaii’s Big Island is known for is drawing her newcomers into their shadow and making them take a good look at who they are when they’re unconscious.

 

I got so well-acquainted with my shadow that one day I pulled out my journal and made a page-long list of all the terrible things about myself I was discovering. My shadow self feels small and powerless. She has little confidence and she treats others badly out of her own insecurity. She’s selfish. She wants to hide from the world. She’s fearful and lives with a scarcity mentality. She always sees what’s wrong with everyone and everything, incapable of genuine gratitude. 

 

And that’s who I got to be for weeks on end. I could barely speak, my power drained down into the molten lava beneath my feet. I tiptoed around, spooked by everyone. 

 

I had never felt like this in my life. 

 

Sure, there were moments or days maybe where these feelings had crept out into the light, but I had never experienced them without reprieve. Had I morphed into a monster?

 

It wasn’t until I found myself lurking around in a guitar shop in town, making out the door with a beautiful acoustic guitar from Spain and teaching myself how to play in my mold-ridden-toolshed-house that I realized something else about spending time deep in the shadows: it’s also where our hidden talents lie.

 

I had never played a musical instrument or written a song in my life, but all of a sudden I was waking up from abnormally vivid dreams with lyrics in my head and singing in the car with a new voice. I was deeply motivated to play guitar and I’m still spending an hour or two every day plucking away until my fingertips have deep, raw ridges in them. 

 

I also learned that although the shadow is where old wounds still hurt and where “forgotten” traumas are remembered, the shadow is where those heal up for good. Since experiencing a near-death car accident when I was 19, I’ve had a deep-seeded fear of driving. But when I got behind the wheel in Hawaii, I was suddenly fearless. I drove safely for two months, taking friends to festivals, picking up friendly hitchhikers, and even sleeping in the backseat on occasional last-minute expeditions. I was healed of a fear I had mostly forgotten about for 10 years. 

 

But don’t worry, you don’t have to fly to Hawaii and subject yourself to the fiery wrath of Pele to work through this stuff. It turns out that simply being conscious of the fact that you have a shadow side allows you to do this work anywhere. 

 

You have patterns you fall into that harm yourself and others. You have blind spots that keep you from living your best life. You have hidden talents and hidden traumas. And you can call them out by shining light — your awareness — into the dark corners of your being.

 

I’m sure you also feel small, ugly, insecure, incompetent, and fearful sometimes. Maybe you feel that way too often. The way I see it, if I hadn’t gotten a good, hard look at the worst of myself, I might still unconsciously act or feel that way. 

 

Now I know what I look like at my worst, so I can focus on being my best. I’m aware of my patterns, I know where my buttons are that get easily pressed, and I’ve seen myself mirrored back in others in both beautiful and hideous ways. And I know which way I prefer. 

 

However, it wasn’t until I came completely unhinged, bought a one-way ticket to Indonesia, and blasted out of Big Island’s volcanic atmosphere that I found myself able to process all this, no less write about it. 

 

It took physically removing myself from the palpable energy of Pele (of course with a deep reverence, gratitude, and a healthy dose of fear) in order to pivot back into the light. It took stumbling around in my shadow for 8 weeks to see the importance of looking at — and then overcoming — my darkest self. 

 

The best part is: you, wise reader, probably don’t need 8 weeks to figure this out. Sitting right where you are, you can call on Pele to show you your shadow. You can meditate on your own personal darkness and ask for awareness whenever you’re unconsciously moving into that space. And, most reassuringly, you can ask for those hidden gifts to be revealed, as well. 

 

Our shadow side will never go away. Our ugly is as much a part of us as our beauty. But I believe that by simply cultivating our light of awareness and not being afraid of exploring the most tender part of our being, that we’ll never hurt for long. Unafraid of our own darkness, we can face the world with courage. 

 

Hey, it wasn’t all bad! (Hiking in Maui)

 

A glimpse of Hawaiian eco-community living

 

Meeting Pele face-to-face after a 7 mile hike across lava rock to one of the only places on Earth where you can stand next to flowing lava! I’m smiling but it was super intense.

 

Learning to draw music out of my shadow

 

My hut — beautiful from the outside (and best zip code in the USA) but tiny, dark, and moldy inside. Trade offs.

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! 

As Seen On

As Seen On

Sign Me Up

Sign Me Up
I'm planning something big! Stay in touch and be the first to know what I'm up to.

Location

Current Location

Map

Current Location

Currently in: Bali

 

Previously in: India

What’s Hot

Recent Posts

Coaching

Coaching

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

Like Me on Facebook

Follow me on twitter

Follow me on twitter

Instagram

Elaina on Instagram

Please enter an Access Token on the Instagram Feed plugin Settings page.

As Seen On

As Seen On

Sign Me Up

Sign Me Up
I'm planning something big! Stay in touch and be the first to know what I'm up to.

Current Location

Current Location

Map

Browse Articles

Currently in: Bali

 

Previously in: India

What’s Hot

Recent Posts

Coaching

Coaching

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

Like Me on Facebook

Follow me on twitter

Follow me on twitter

Instagram

Elaina on Instagram

Please enter an Access Token on the Instagram Feed plugin Settings page.