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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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You Don’t Always Have to Quit: Ways to Actually Be Happier at Work

Posted on February 12th, 2017

huffpost
 
Some blogs talk mostly about quitting your job to travel the world. Some talk about becoming a digital nomad or full-time entrepreneur. And others talk about helping you find your dream job.
 
Mine talks about how to do all of these, because there are many ways to build a lifestyle that works for you. 
 
I’m a digital nomad, small-time entrepreneur, and freelance writer, but I’m also an international project manager who has worked for several major companies over the past 5 years. I lead parallel careers, sometimes working the 9 to 5 grind, sometimes spending extended time on the road paying my own way. I’ve come up with a formula that works for me, using my corporate experiences to provide some stability for a very amorphous set of passions. 
 
Most recently, I’m coming off of 15 months of freelancing and leveraged my previous years of experience in consulting, business development, and project management to land a great gig with one of the top companies in Silicon Valley. I’ve been based in Mexico for the past couple months, and after that I'm off to work on projects across Australia and New Zealand. 
 
Although I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity, getting used to being in front of a computer for 10+ hours a day, losing control over my daily schedule, and having to be responsive to corporate email at all times has required a bit of readjustment. But hey, these are the trade-offs for unparalleled professional experience, financed travel to new parts of the world, and a hefty paycheck that goes directly towards financing my passion. Above all, this is the lifestyle design that works for me. I encourage you to find yours. 
 
Whether you’re a freelancer picking up a steady paycheck for awhile, an unhappy cubicle employee, or a traveler just getting back into the swing of a full-time job, here are some concrete ways to be happier at work.
 
1. Have a specific goal.
 
Start by making sure the job you’re taking is going to help you develop a specific skill set, level up in your industry, or otherwise achieve an important goal for yourself and your career. When things get difficult, you’ll know exactly why you’re doing it. 
 
2. Make sure you’re getting paid what you want to be paid.
 
Money is freedom and plugging away at a job you’re neither passionate about nor getting enough money to save up for what you really care about is not worth it. Personally, this comes back to lies we tell ourselves about our passions. Make sure you’re getting paid what your time is worth.
 
3. Absolutely kick ass at what you do.
 
No matter what your job is, be in the top 5% of the company performance-wise. Doing stuff you’re good at is just more fun, and learning to get really good at whatever’s thrown at you is a solid life skill. Being ridiculously good at your job also ensures strong references and better future opportunities.
 
4. Jump out of bed in the morning.
 
This is a practical measure. For someone who didn’t have to wake up to an alarm for 15 months unless it was for an early morning cross-continental flight, getting up in the morning is still torture. The best thing I’ve done during my transition back to work has been to leave my phone across the room and literally leap out of bed every morning when I hear the alarm. Stopping my evil, self-destructive snoozing behavior has given me far more energy every day and revitalized my morning routine.
 
5. Get into a routine that sustains your values and interests.
 
I don’t waste time like other bloggers coming up with some down-to-the-minute “daily routine for success”, but I do have it boiled down to a few milestones I like to hit: at least 15 minutes for meditation in the morning, a good latte for my 10am pick-me-up, time to edit a couple articles during my lunch break, and a solid two hours of personal reading and writing time before bed. 
 
As a writer (but this applies to anyone who needs creative headspace that’s hard to get during the work week), I carve out huge chunks of my weekends for writing new material. Then my weekdays after work can be spent editing or writing the less cerebral portions of pieces that have already been outlined. This system helps me stay on top of my creative pursuits, which can otherwise get intellectually encroached on during the week. 
 
6. Stop drinking.
 
This might seem off-topic, but cutting alcohol almost entirely out of my life, especially as a primary recreational activity, has been the best thing I’ve done for myself in the past several years. I simply have so much more time and energy to devote to my passions that even having a day job doesn’t take away from my ability to produce the kind of work that excites me during my own time. My social activities have also become more enriching and my relationships much closer.
 
7. Try to get a grip on technology.
 
It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of corporate email. Volumes have been written on the topic, but these few tricks to manage my relationship with technology have worked wonders for me: my phone goes on airplane mode for the first and last hours of the day while I’m waking up or preparing for bed, I respond succinctly and thoroughly to all emails, I often pick up the phone for longer conversations, and I don’t reply to anything after working hours unless it’s an emergency. 
 
8. Live in a little piece of personal heaven.
 
I had to live in a hotel for the first two weeks I was in Mexico, and it ate away at my personal happiness. Identifying this as a potentially easy fix, I talked to my supervisor and got permission to rent an AirBnb. I moved from a Holiday Inn to a private loft in an 18th century building in the historical center of Puebla, Mexico (for $40/night!) and my happiness needle moved considerably. Think of how you can make your dwelling space a comforting place to start and end your day.  
 
9. Look for quick wins — and ask for what you need.
 
Like my housing example, what other relatively easy changes can you make to help make you happier inside and outside of work? Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to make your life and work better, as long as you’re coming to the table with specific and well-reasoned requests.
 
Stay focused on the good stuff
 
Whatever you’re doing, there’s something exciting there. In my current role, I love speaking Spanish all day, and in my old job, I got to work with the presidents of countries and corporations. Even in my tedious consulting job in New York, I became friends for life with many of my colleagues. 
 
One of the biggest things I’ve learned in my life is that the universe rewards the occupants who show gratitude at every turn of life’s winding road. The world opens up more opportunities to the ones who are ready to embrace them with open arms and who have consistently made the best of whatever lot they found themselves in. Keep being the person who looks for the shimmering flecks of promise in every situation and you’ll be the first to catch the next golden wave of opportunity. 

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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