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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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The Unexpected Way a Year of Travel Completely Broke (and Rebuilt) Me

Posted on July 28th, 2016

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Today marks precisely the one-year anniversary of the day I left my job (one I loved, by the way) to travel for 14 months. I left with the intention to become a freelance writer and develop my coaching business, and see what the experience of becoming a real digital nomad would bring. I’ve done all that, stepped far out of the 9 to 5 norm, traveled widely, meditated deeply, and permanently changed my orientation to life.
 
But beyond all that, I’m now left feeling, for lack of a better description, blank and broken — but not necessarily in a bad way. Allow me to explain.
 
Traveling for this length of time, punctuated by adventures ranging from hitchhiking across Burma and trekking in Nepal to working on a farm in India and living in Berlin, has allowed me to step far outside of society. For one year, I’ve had enough money to live exactly how and where I’ve wanted to, work as much as I needed to, and follow my most spontaneous instincts from country to country. 
 
This allowed me to observe society without actually really participating in it. I lurked on the peripheries of how 99.9 percent of everyone else lives. I fell off the grid in a way, finding it suddenly hard to relate to peers driven by their start-up or people who’ve landed on a career fast-track. Most everyone, I realized, has their identity tied up in the work they do, but travel, meditation, and being my own small-time boss already severed that connection for me. While everyone remained focused on what they do, I'd been educating myself on how to be.
 
After 26 years, I can finally sit and be totally at peace in the present moment. I don’t feel the need to be “productive” for the sake of being productive, and my intuition speaks with a voice of calm confidence. I see the face of God, or whatever you want to call the pervasive intelligence and unity that characterizes the universe, in the eyes of little animals, and I see the reflection of myself in everyone from an Indian beggar to the CEO of a huge multinational. I’ve learned the importance of play, of taking life much less seriously (none of us get out of here alive, you know), and of viewing love as our ultimate calling, our essential human superpower. 
 
I recognize the privilege of coming to a point that many people will sadly never arrive at — enchanted with their capabilities of doing, they will never realize the artistry in being. While I feel blessed with this understanding, I’m also overwhelmed by the task of re-calibrating for the real world: what do I do now that I’ve learned how to be?
 
What I’ve found is the identity constructed for me by family, education, religion, society, media, and money has been shattered at my feet, and I’m left blinking stupidly at the pieces. Who am I now that I can stand still? Who am I now that I’ve stopped playing the game? Who am I when I’ve lived seamlessly against a dozen different cultural backdrops? 
 
This is why I feel blank and broken now, my friends. If you had told me this would be the result of my year away, I wouldn’t have believed you, or I might have run in the other direction. 
 
But it’s an exciting challenge now, to take responsibility for reconstructing my identity as a 27-year old, where many others are running around brandishing the self-image the world imposed on them, marrying others like them and giving birth to children who will become like them. If they do have an awakening, it may be too late, practically speaking, to create the space to start again.
 
The other most important lesson I’ve learned is that no real progress — and for me, no further progress — can be made by thinking. It has to be obtained by acting. So even now that I feel myself staring blankly into the future, dumbly paralyzed by a raw self-awareness, I know I have to move my feet. I have to turn thought into action, take risks with limited knowledge, make love my biggest priority, and face the uncertainty that defines our precarious human existence. 

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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?

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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

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Elaina on Instagram