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Where I’ve Been

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Travel is the most powerful tool of education and exploration we have at our disposal. It improves our capacity for empathy, heightens our level of tolerance, helps us embrace uncertainty and discomfort, and entices our appetites for adventure in all areas of our lives.

 

I often get email inquiries about where exactly I’ve been and what are some of my recommendations for friends and readers embarking on travels of their own. Here is a brief overview of the countries I’ve visited.

 

Do you want to travel, but are not sure where to go, how to go, or when to go? If you need help organizing your own trip, shoot me an email at elaina@lifebefore30.com or visit my Office Hours page for more information on adventure planning with me!

 

I’m also the owner of an adventure travel site dedicated to helping independent travelers get off the beaten path. It covers some of my journeys doing things like hitchhiking through Laos, riding motorbikes across India, and visiting villages in Nigeria, along with curated contributions from a network of travelers who embrace meaningful, adventurous travel. Learn more at tripsunscripted.com 

 

NORTH AMERICA

 

United States (home)

Canada

Mexico

Guatemala

 

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At home, on the Brooklyn Bridge with one of my best friends, August 2014

 

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Near Antigua, Guatemala, when I volunteered for a Guatemalan NGO for 2 months, July 2009

 

Favorite country top-to-bottom: Guatemala

Favorite city: New York City

Best food: Mexico City

Worst food: Guatemala

Friendliest people: United States

Must-see: Tulum, Mexico

Off the beaten path recommendations: For the classic, all-American experience, stay a few nights in Austin, Texas. For the best of Central American beauty, don’t miss Nebaj, Guatemala.

Most over-rated spot: Cancun, Mexico

 

SOUTH AMERICA

 

Brazil

Uruguay

Paraguay

Argentina

Bolivia

Peru

Guyana

 

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Backpacking Brazil, photo over Rio de Janeiro, December 2012

 

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Backpacking through South America after college graduation, August 2011

 

Favorite country top-to-bottom: Brazil

Favorite city: Rio de Janeiro

Best food: Buenos Aires

Worst food: Bolivia

Friendliest people: Paraguay (and probably the nicest people anywhere on the entire planet)

Must-see: San Carlos de Bariloche, Patagonia region, Argentina

Off the beaten path recommendation: For a completely unspoiled South American experience, don’t leave Cordoba, Argentina or Asuncion, Paraguay off your itinerary!

Most over-rated spot to avoid: Colonia, Uruguay

 

EUROPE AND MIDDLE EAST

 

Spain

France

The Netherlands

Denmark

Germany

Austria

Hungary

Slovakia

England

Ireland

Italy

Czech Republic

Turkey

United Arab Emirates

Jordan

Israel

Qatar

Oman

 

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Exploring Segovia, Spain, March 2013

 

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At the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland, March 2013

 

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Muscat, Oman, July 2015

 

Favorite country top-to-bottom: Italy

Favorite city: London

Best food: Italy

Worst food: England

Friendliest people: Turkey

Must-see: Petra, Jordan

Off the beaten path recommendation: Segovia, Spain outside of Madrid

Most over-rated spot: Dubai

 

AFRICA

 

Egypt

Nigeria

Ethiopia

Kenya

Tanzania

South Africa

Swaziland

Seychelles

 

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Visiting the pyramids, June 2015

 

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Visiting a market in southern Ethiopia, February 2014

 

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Visiting Makoko village in Lagos, Nigeria, June 2013

 

Favorite country top-to-bottom: Ethiopia

Favorite city: Cairo

Best food: South Africa

Worst food: Nigeria

Friendliest people: Swaziland

Must-see: Lagos, Nigeria and the Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Off the beaten path recommendation: Dire Dawa, Ethiopia and Swaziland

Most over-rated spot: Table Mountain, South Africa

 

ASIA AND OCEANIA

 

Singapore

Thailand

Malaysia

Burma

Laos

Indonesia

Cambodia

Vietnam

Laos

China

Japan

India

Nepal

South Korea

Taiwan

Mongolia

Australia

New Zealand

 

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Visiting temples in Bali, September 2015

 

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Riding horses with a Mongolian family, middle of nowhere, October 2013

 

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Staying in a Mongolian ger, 4 hours outside of Ulaanbaatar, October 2013

 

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Dogsledding in Mongolia in the dead of winter, December 2013

 

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Making friends in Tokyo, Japan, April 2013

 

Favorite country top-to-bottom: India

Favorite city: Hanoi, Vietnam and Luang Prabang, Laos

Best food: Thailand and India

Worst food: Mongolia

Friendliest people: Taiwan

Must-see: Tokyo, Japan (especially Harejuku and the world’s busiest cross-walk in Shibuya)

Off the beaten path recommendation: Go dog-sledding in Mongolia!

Most over-rated spot: Kyoto, Japan

 

What are your favorite places on Earth? Where should I go next and why? Send me an email at elaina@lifebefore30.com and let me know YOUR travel tips and tricks!

 

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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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Currently in: Malawi

 

 

Previously in: Berlin

 

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