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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 Never Knew How to Travel Until I Got to India (And a Bunch of My Favorite India Pics)

Posted on February 16th, 2017

Like most travelers who’ve been around the world and back again, I left my heart in India.
 
I sit in Mexico as I write this, a year later and still stubbornly refusing to go home and be normal. And no matter what I do, my mind wanders back to India every chance it gets. So I dig my toes into the powder white sand of the Mayan Riveria and indulge in the waves of memories shamelessly washing over me. 
 
I think of the afternoons spent riding on the back of a motorcycle in central Karnataka, my fingers full of silver rings slung around the waist of a fellow wanderer, my jeweled skirt flapping in the juicy afternoon breeze, villages of colorful boxes stacked into a green swampy landscape peeling by on either side of the horizon. I remember squealing on the inside, thinking, Without a doubt this was the happiest I’ve ever been and maybe ever will be. Freedom, sweat, and spice oozing out of every pore. Stopping in a tiny town, half a kilometer from running out fuel, and skipping from door to door until I come back with three new local friends, two cups of chai, and a water bottle of yellow gasoline to dump into the tank of our ancient Honda. Stealing a kiss from my beautiful blue-eyed companion and riding the bike back through emerald rice fields. Falling asleep on the roof of a hostel, the stars peeking through wisps of mosquito net. 
 
Fast forward to a hundred other moments of my first four months in India. Lazing in the Goan sunsets, hopping on my scooter with wet hair and skirting the south Indian coastline from one sandy cove of paradise to another. Sneaking barefoot into late night temple ceremonies, the cascades of “om” carrying me further and further from the life I used to want. 
 
The days of balancing a cup of chai in one hand and a fresh coconut in the other, speaking purposefully and tentatively with a lovely new traveler friend, navigating our blonde selves though an afternoon marketplace with the greatest amount of subtlety we were capable of. (Six months later, I would fly to Stockholm to see this same traveler friend, and she would fly halfway around the world to join me on a grand adventure in California. Friends for life, I am certain, thanks to Mother India.) 
 
The night I met a Welsh rugby team driving a tuk-tuk across northern India and hopped in for a nighttime cruise through Agra’s narrowest back alleys, where everyone’s beloved pastime seamed to be corralling a small flock of livestock while simultaneously shopping for tomatoes, bangle bracelets, mustard seeds, and saris, their furry beasts apathetically blocking traffic. And the absolute hilarity of wide-eyed Indian children popping their heads into the front seat of our stalled tuk-tuk and seeing four blonde heads grinning back at them, the children all collapsing into frowning laughter the way only Indians are capable of balancing two polarized expressions on one face.
 
Shame on my first decade of travels, because somehow I don’t think I learned how to really travel until I got to India. To be somewhere with no plan for leaving, to throw my filthy backpack on the train and spend as little money as possible and hitchhike to another city just because some Dutch guy invited me along, to ride in moped gangs of other young wanderers and give up all sense of needing to see anything, at all, ever. To meet people with all kinds of plans, or many with no plans at all, and to be profoundly reassured by all their various ways of life.
 
Traveling had finally stopped becoming about seeing things. It had become a way of life. A constant shuffle to perpetuate the ability to linger and loiter around the world, some of us pursuing art or other entrepreneurial work, others simply growing longer dreadlocks.
 
Traveling had become about working on a farm in Tamil Nadu, where everyone settled around the fire at night, plucking at a variety of instruments and mulling over new iterations of our favorite topic of conversation: Where can I go next? Where can I work next? Where can I try to live for $5 a day? Or free? How can I lighten my material burden even less, reduce my ownership to little more than the footprints I’m leaving in this silky red, life-giving, life-changing Indian soil? 
 
If we do this thing right, we realized, we can stay here forever.
 
Because of India, traveling stopped becoming a temporary interlude in my life plan and became a life plan in its own right. It ceased to be an outlet for another agenda and became something pure and heartfelt. It became an exercise of utterly reckless abandon that somehow flushed my veins, cleaned out every pore, and pumped fresh oxygen into lungs that gasped for air in other parts of the world. 
 
I found, like nowhere else on Earth, India exerts a palpable love for everyone moving through her atmosphere. All you have to do is surrender and let yourself be carried away.
 
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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

 

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