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. 

 

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.

As Seen On

The Most Practical and Effective 4-step Process for Exploring Your Purpose

Posted on February 24th, 2016

If your current job is draining and unfulfilling but you don’t know what to do instead, or you’re thinking about moving to a new city or country but you don’t know where, or you want to go back to school but you’re not sure what to study, then you’re at one of the many crossroads of life, moments which require a deliberate pause to tap into the truth of the heart before going any further.

So how do you do that? How do you find out what your deepest Inner Being really wants? How do you block out the confusion of the world and your hyperactive mind, and take action that supports your genuine calling? How do you distinguish between what you actually want to do and what you think you want to do or what society wants you to do?

In my own life, I’ve found the most effective way to come to an important revelation is to tap into a positive feedback loop consisting of four steps that promote insight into my true nature and purpose: inspiration, action, boredom, and action.

When it comes to purpose, by the way, I don’t like to look at it as “finding” my purpose, but rather “exploring” my purpose. Human beings are dynamic creatures and we don’t have a one-dimensional, fixed purpose in life. We have a variety of interests, talents, experiences, and identities that intersect in different ways and different points in our lives, offering a number of plausible and perfectly correct avenues for contributing to the world during each of those unique moments and stages of our lives.

The trick is to identify what’s in your intersection at any given time, and understand how you can honor and play with those variables to the best of your ability. You are ever-changing, and so what you’re meant to be doing in the world is also evolving — it’s a pulse you must consistently keep your finger on. Let’s get you started.

Step 1: Inspiration

The first thing to do is enter into a period of deliberate, rapid-fire inspiration. I do this in the form of weekend retreats every few months, where I spend two days straight plowing through books, documentaries, podcasts, and intelligent articles on topics I’m actively interested in and other “weird” topics I don’t know much about. I also spend time (productively) stalking and contacting people on Facebook and LinkedIn, observing exactly what about their experience I find most attractive and brainstorming ways to incorporate those elements into my own life.


Then, I dedicate two technology-free hours every evening to making it through my weekly book, and I schedule at least one “coffee date” per week to get to know someone new. By doing this, I maintain a consistent and well-balanced diet of inspiration.

Step 2: Action

Ever heard the phrase, “When you pray, move your feet?” Inspiring people, books, movies, and articles can only take you so far. You have to get out there and try it all on for size. After digesting the new people and ideas I purposefully expose myself to, I brainstorm “tiny experiments” as I call them, to gain experience in my areas of interest, both new and old. If I become intrigued by agriculture, I find a way to work on a farm for the weekend. If I think I want to run workshops, I give a free seminar in my hometown. If I discover a passion for public health, I shadow a social worker in a local clinic for a day. Only through firsthand experience, by walking a few steps along one of the paths on your crossroads, can you give yourself meaningful material to reflect on and make a well-informed decision.

Step 3: Boredom

This is the heart of what makes this method successful: the alternation of action and pause, exploration and boredom. We must move our feet, try things out, force ourselves to grow through hands-on experience, but we must also act and step back and observe what reaction that action has provoked. Everything we do shuffles things around inside us, so stopping to take inventory is essential to digesting the information and experiences from our outside world and seeing what place they have in our inner world.

On the extreme end of the spectrum, I recently did a 10-day silent meditation retreat in India, which I found to be very intense and commensurately life-affirming, but I also undertake meaningful reflection right at home through regular weekend retreats. Every few months, I isolate myself in silence for two full days and nights with no phone, no books, no computer, no TV, no leaving the house, no nothing, except my journal, my meditation techniques, and my thoughts. It’s excruciatingly boring.

That’s the idea.

I write, I sit, I meditate, I think, I let my mind wander, sometimes I give myself topics to think about at different parts of the day (family, career, self, friends, boys) and inevitably, right at the brink of insanity and loneliness, the creative flow comes. Ideas and revelations that had been brewing in my subconscious spring up to the surface, and I come away flooded by a tidal wave of inspiration, but inspiration from within. I ask myself questions, and the answers come, from within. I’ve learned that boredom is a marvelous tool for self-awareness, decision-making, creativity, and good energy.

Step 4: Action

At the end of two days of silence and isolation (just imagine 10 days of that in India!), I’m raring to go. The last evening my of weekends away is dedicated to coming up with an action plan: What other little experiments can I do? Who do I need to meet next? How do all these revelations impact my daily life? How can I put all this into practice? During these retreats, I inevitably come up with to-do lists, topics and people I’m curious about, books I want to read, pages of goals and ideas, and visions of how to bring it all to life. Then, Monday morning comes and I’m free! I have a renewed appetite for life, and I’m excited to walk the talk and get back out in the world with purpose.

An ever-evolving awareness

To keep your finger on the ever-evolving “pulse” of your purpose, you must be consistently rotate through these stages and allow the positive feedback loop they naturally generate to drop an anchor of understanding deeper and deeper into the ocean of your Inner Being. The more you seek inspiration, the better awareness you have of what possible actions you can take in the world. The more you use an active and action-oriented method of exploration, the more necessary intervals of boredom become for you to marry the world’s external stimuli with your Inner Truth. The marriage of internal and external stimuli then motivates further purpose-filled action, which gives birth to more inspiration, and the cycle continues.

But don’t take my word for it — experiment with this technique and experience the results for yourself.

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. 

 

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.

As Seen On

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.

Sign me up

Location

Current Location

Map

Current Location

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

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.

Sign Me Up

Current Location

Current Location

Map

Browse Articles

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