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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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Why I Love Writing — And Why You Should Write More, Too

Posted on December 20th, 2016

It’s a blazing, sunny Sunday afternoon and anyone with a brain between their ears is outside basking in all its life-giving glory. I, on the other hand, am locked up in my hotel room with the drapes pulled shut. There’s just so much to write.
 
I’m pretty much one of those loner writer types who thinks of herself as her own favorite person. But if I can’t just bask in my own company, ideally with a leather-bound journal in my right paw, I’ll happily accept a book as substitute. 
 
I do like people, being a loner doesn’t mean I begrudge my fellow humans, I just prefer them hanging in a delicate balance with my treasured creative time, a sensible counterweight to life’s most pleasurable activity, which for me would be nestling up in quiet bohemian cafes with a chai latte growing cold as I lose myself in hours of books and words and scribbles and story.
 
These days I’m in Mexico, forgoing my favorite occupation of being single, unemployed, and preferably living in Berlin in order to make money. (Well, “unemployed” is just what the outside world sees when I’m actually writing full-time.) Luckily, this money-making intermission is a great gig. Sexy start-up, looks great on my resume, they’re sending me all over the world, and I don’t mind the work. But this is the life of a writer — always managing a parallel career, hopefully a semi-lucrative one, to keep the wheels of another amorphous life objective rolling.
 
Lately what’s got me hooked about writing, as well as the vital complementary practice of reading great books, is discovering just how interesting my own life is. Before you think I sound terribly smug, let me explain. Reading a great story is watching an artist unpack the most mundane moments of life in a way that unfurls my own memories and gives me the feeling my life merging into a collective memory, like my meager existence actually connects to a huge, common web of human experience. 
 
It’s how I feel when I learn that Scarlett O’Hara relishes the smell of bacon, or when I read an entire book about how Oscar Wao pines to be loved, or when Tolstoy describes that Konstantin Levin as irritably “ill at ease” in his 19th century dinner parties as I am on a bar-hopping Friday night. Not to mention the joy I feel that Oblomov once brilliantly “rose from his chair, but, failing at once to insert his foot into a slipper, sat down again.” These banalities, once transmitted into the written word, have the power to make us marvel at our own preferences and emotions and brief psychoses, just like the ones of Anna Karenina or Don Quixote. 
 
Through literature, I realized I could describe myself last night, sitting curled up in a pink sweater in a cafe in central Mexico, sipping my iced latte and pondering all of existence with my head of fluffy blonde hair in the clouds — a perfectly prosaic activity — but the beauty of it lay in the fact that, by using words to paying tribute to my daily humdrum, I was not only extolling myself, but a hundred other humans. Or maybe a thousand or ten thousand, because our lives all accidentally mirror one another. 
 
And that tribute to the mundane becomes art, doesn’t it? Isn’t that all art is, our attempts to dignify the mundane? To dignify ourselves?
 
All the littlest moments and details of my life collide with yours and with the rest of the world when I write. The mundanity of life suddenly becomes relatable, admirable, fascinating, and profoundly unifying. There’s a certain magic in the written observations of the world’s endlessly repeating iterations of experience, the words that bring to life the feeling of swimming in a cool lake in late summer, of clasping a tiny child’s clammy hand, pressing your forehead to the steering wheel of your car for just a moment in rush hour traffic, or rolling over with sleepy doll eyes to see your new lover stirring next to you, reaching his furry arms over to snuggle your bare flesh closer to his, and his smell, a smell that will escape your memory as soon as he’s gone despite repeated attempts to suck it into the deepest recesses of your brain. 
 
Don’t these relatively plebeian life experiences suddenly take on a new power once they’re immortalized in letters and syllables that carry them across interpersonal airwaves and dance with your memories and senses?
 
This is exactly the power of the written word that has transformed me, that has woken me up to a comforting contemplation of my own importance and my ability to be captivating in my own right by virtue of mere existence. I exist, therefore I matter. I exist, therefore I’m interesting and worthy. Sustained by creation, I occupy a place in this ordinary, but at the same time extraordinary, world. The shallowest breaths, the tiniest moments, the simplest awareness of life around me can somehow be majestic and almost canonizing once I write them all down. 
 
That’s why I pull my drapes shut and sink further into my contented world of words and stories. That's why I write this blog, my half-decade labor of love. Because it's where I go to discover our universal human connection. And by writing it down, by paying homage to the re-runs of human experience, someone else, perhaps on the other side of the world with their own drapes shut reading this, will discover how they too are fascinating, worthy, and timeless.
 
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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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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.

 

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Currently in: Malawi

 

 

Previously in: Berlin

 

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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

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Follow me on twitter

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