My name is Elaine Mercedes Mendoza and I’ve been traveling the world since I was six years old-as a first generation American. I am Venezuelan born but raised in the Washington D.C. metro area. From that moment I first stepped into the USA, I developed life long skills in compassion, curiosity, a thirst for the unknown and understanding different cultures. By the time I was 22 years old, I had lived in three countries, five cities including Paris and New York City, and my journey was just getting started. After finishing my Bachelor’s in Communication, I entered a performing arts school in New York City where I continued to train as a singer and actress. I wanted to express myself in different forms. My eight years in NYC changed my life. After rubbing elbows with celebrities and being around creative people, I knew the cubicle would slowly kill me.
I became a train conductor to continue to feed my travel bug. My six-year railroad career allowed me to further explore the USA while writing about my travels. I went cross-country and back from. D.C. To Seattle. I lived in Delaware, Harrisburg, Miami, and South Carolina before working the North-East corridor between Washington D.C. and New York City. However, my thirst was not just to see the USA but to continue to see the world. As my writing engagements increased and as my railroad life became too demanding on my physical body, I decided to fully focus on my natural abilities as a professional traveler and writer. The clients were there, now I just needed to give them my time and commitment.
The life coaching started when a passenger of mine gave me her business card after seeing how I handled a very angry person. She told me “I want to do that. How did you keep your calm?” Without realizing it, I have always been the person people looked for when it came to their problems for a bit of guidance. When you add my personal life experience, the work I have done with my counselor, my compassion and empathic abilities combined with my education-I do life coaching more as a way of giving back than to solely focus on a coaching career. My wish to travel and see the world is not just my job, it is my passion.
However, like most Americans I only had one week vacation my first year on the railroad and it would take 25 years before I got 5 weeks vacation. The song “I’ve been working on the railroad” suddenly seemed ironic. I met a man in 2010 that I did not know would change my life. James Watson, from ItsBohemian.com was planning his first trip around the world. As the years passed, I was still giving my time to the railroad while he was balancing himself on a rock in some exotic island. He taught me that there was another way to live. I had accomplished material abundance but I had life poverty. While thankful for the railroad and my time there, I knew it was time to fully embrace my purpose. I wanted life abundance and not just the latest iPhone.
I said goodbye to the railroad and hello to a new lease on life. I realized that time is our most valuable possession. In a world far from 3am phone calls to give me my daily trip assignment as a train conductor, I wanted to have more control over my life. Most importantly, I wanted to live my best life not just “a pretty good life.”
Sep 20 - 30, 2018 (11 days)