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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 Travel

Posted on November 13th, 2012

Peru

 

As I prepare to hop on my flight to Rio de Janeiro for a month-long vacation in Brazil, I have been taking note of all the reasons I am excited to once again hit the proverbial road.

 

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a solo backpacking veteran – I spent 3 months traveling through Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru last year and spent 4-5 months solo in the Middle East, Asia, and parts of Europe over the past couple years.

 

There’s an indescribable thrill to flying to another continent with nothing more than your passport, backpack, and guidebook – and a rough idea of the possibilities awaiting.

 

I also remember the feeling of what must be a close relative of sheer terror running through my veins as I sat alone in Heathrow airport two years ago waiting for my flight to Cairo, where I planned to spend the next 3 months working and traveling. I had the address of the apartment I rented from the US printed in Arabic on a sheet of paper and about 4 words of Egyptian dialect in my back pocket. Back then, I was a travel novice, but those memories of anxiety are a good reminder that traveling in far and foreign places alone is not always an easy thing to do.

 

 why i travel2

 My favorite back alleys of Cairo

 

Some people tell me solo travel also isn’t a very smart thing to do – but I completely disagree. Every trip has progressively been the smartest decision I have ever made.

 

Most everyone I know loves to travel, and we all have our reasons. I could list a thousand, but here are a few of the things that come to mind as my favorite parts about hitting the road.

 

1.  Packing. I LOVE packing, mostly because I love seeing how little I can live with for an extended period of time. It’s so refreshing compared to the relentless accumulation of material possessions most of us pursue while in the comforts of our own space. Throwing out (or donating) useless things that I find when I pack is a guilty pleasure. Post on minimalism coming soon.

 

2.  New languages. I’m a long-term student and speaker of Spanish and Chinese, and I love picking up bits and pieces of new languages wherever I go. I’m frantically trying to learn Portuguese phrases in the 48 hours before I ship off to Rio, but this time I’m behind the curve. Now I can say a handful of words in a dozen different languages, which, if not totally practical, is highly entertaining, ie. speaking Thai with the waitresses in NYC and actually knowing what I’m ordering. It’s priceless!

 

3.  The music. Wherever I go, I fall in love with the music. It’s one of the ways travel exposes me to wonderful things that don’t require a full understanding of the language or culture to appreciate them simply as a human being – and all humans love music. I now have a passion for K-Pop, Arabic techno beats, Taiwanese rock, Reggaeton and I’m sure I’m on the brink of falling for the Brazilian music scene. My iPod is a true musical melting pot, which makes for amusing “shuffle” experiences.

 

4.  You can take advantage of how small the world is. There’s nothing like meeting an Israeli friend you traveled with two years ago in Guatemala on a stopover in Jerusalem, clubbing in Seoul with a Korean you met once through a friend in your American college town, or meeting a friend of a friend of a coworker in London (All true stories, by the way). Better yet, there are those unplanned happenstances, like when you run into a friend from college at a bar in Buenos Aires or meet someone from your university at a hostel in Peru (Again, true stories). The bonds formed in a foreign place with new (or old) friends are surprisingly strong because of their uniqueness and sheer serendipity.

 

5.  Travel takes you out of your context and forces you to relate to people as…well, people. When travelers meet outside of their respective contexts (ie. their workplace, university, hometown, etc), it forces us to relate to one other on a different level than how we would normally get to know someone in a familiar environment. Especially when cultural or linguistic barriers are in place, people are forced to get creative with how they develop relationships. When I was in China, I met a guy from South Korea who spoke ZERO English – to match my nonexistent Korean – but we both had a decent grasp of Mandarin. It was an ironic situation, given that the lingua franca these days is usually English, but one that enabled me to learn about a person I otherwise would have never been able to know. I was grateful for our mutual openness to new places, people, and languages that enabled this interaction to happen.

 

6.  Realizing (your) world goes on while you’re away. In this way, going on a long trip is kind of like dying. Parties happen and you’re not invited. (But you see the pictures on Facebook.) High school reunions happen, but you’re on another continent. People get engaged, married, and pass away while you’re hiking on a mountain with no cell phone reception. It’s a big reality check, but one that allows me personally to feel less attached to what’s immediately happening in life because the connections that matter will endure those temporary absences.

 

The main idea is that traveling has allowed me to flatten my personal world by expanding my global connections, exposing me to new music, culture, and languages, and learning to appreciate all people as simply…people.

 

 

 

 

Why do you travel? Share in the comments section below!

 

 

Did you find this article helpful? Please share with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter.

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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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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.

 

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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