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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! 

Someone Drew Timelines All Over Your Life — And It Wasn’t You

Posted on February 16th, 2017

timelines
 
I’ve been living outside the United States for four years, but I still can’t help it. Yesterday at the supermarket in a small Mexican town, I found myself shifting from side to side, sighing, and crossing and uncrossing my arms as I waited for the woman in front of me to exchange a litany of pleasantries with the cashier before searching for exact change and finally meandering off with her carton of milk. 
 
For most of us, there’s no difference between waiting in line at the supermarket and planning out the rest of our lives. There’s this ingrained understanding in American culture that time is money, so we’ve been raised not to waste a minute or a dollar in getting there, somewhere, anywhere. We live our lives in the express lane, timelines and milestones carefully measured out according to society’s instructions. 
 
Especially for members of my generation, we want to have it all: multiple degrees, a star-studded career, a well-worn passport, and a loving family of our own creation. And so at the intersection of biology and culture, we’ve compromised on a fair ration of time for allowing ourselves some freedom and self-enrichment: the roughly ten years between college graduation and a reasonably delayed walk down the aisle at age 30.
 
While I tend to think, hey, at least my generation is giving ourselves ten years to live a little, the other part of me goes, but it’s only ten years
 
Up until very recently, I was cramming in all the experiences I wanted to have before I thought I had to settle down. I was living in a state of panic, trying to plan out how I’d fit in that cross-continental Africa trip or hitchhike across China or develop my non-profit in Ethiopia. I wanted to know how I’d spend more summers in Berlin while still staying on track to get a PhD, write a book, and live in Tokyo at some point. It suddenly dawned on me: there’s so much life I want to live, and squeezing it all in before the socially-sanctioned deadline for “settling down” is simply not feasible. 
 
So what am I doing about it? 
 
For one, I’m turning down the volume on what I’m told by music, art, television, parents, grandparents, friends, and employers that I should want. As a woman, I’m thinking critically about my relationship to motherhood in the future. Do I actually want to get married? Do I need to do it by a certain age? Do I actually want to have kids? Or could I decide for myself whether child-rearing is my calling or something I’ve been lured into accepting as fate by way of social custom? Do I want a single-pronged, work-my-way-up kind of career, or do I want to experiment with many different ways to make money throughout my lifetime? 
 
It’s not the answers to these questions that are important, but the fact that I’m finally stopping to ask them in the first place. It’s the fact that I’ve stopped measuring myself against some preconceived notion of where I’m supposed to be headed, at what speed, and when I’m due to arrive. 
 
I woke up and realized: someone drew timelines all over my life — and it wasn’t me. 
 
I’ve now warmed up to the brilliant idea that I don’t have to have my career cemented by 30. I don’t have to buy a house if I don’t want to. I don’t have to declare myself the marital property of one man and I don’t have to raise children (thank you, birth control). Or I can do all of these things, but in vastly different ways and at vastly different times in my life. 
 
Of course, this kind of thinking is not only possible when we stop living as if there’s only one way to set up a good life, but when we realize that no matter what life we choose to lead and when we choose to lead it, we will miss out. We will sacrifice something. We will feel regret. That’s something my generation has not gotten very good at understanding.
 
I know that by questioning marriage, delaying or denying motherhood, and jumping around in my income-earning strategies, I’m taking risks and making sacrifices. That’s just the way life goes. Having a permanent address, fixed income, ring on my finger, and children to care for me in my old age is also not an insurance policy against regret or uncertainty.
 
As I’m fond of saying, life is long, so why do we impose so many artificial barriers on our freedom, imagination, and breadth of human experience? We’ve finally given ourselves our twenties, but what about our thirties, forties, fifties, and sixties? Are we resigning ourselves to “getting it out of our system” and then saddling up to all that good old fashioned responsibility we’ve been told we need to take on to feel fulfilled and be accepted by society? 
 
By all means, I encourage you to rock your way up the corporate ladder, get married, and have kids by 35, but do it because you really thought about it. Do it because you looked at all the possibilities for life and liked those options best. Or do those things whenever you feel like doing them. Or not at all. If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of the lucky ones who gets to make these kinds of choices…so choose wisely.

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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. 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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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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