Balancing the Grind with Bianca Drieberg, Founder of About That Trip

Bianca Drieberg is the founder of About That Trip, a collection of people’s travel stories to inspire others to take journeys with purpose.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I’ve worked across advertising, marketing and communication for (eek!) 20 years! But as I was reminded recently, the type of work I love is where “blood runs through it” – anything related to people, really.

I’ve specialised in internal communications for the better part of a decade and have always maintained other interests outside of my full-time career – that I happened to be paid for too.

I was a fitness instructor for the better part of a decade, bookending my work days getting sweaty in a gym, leading groups of people through workouts until earlier this year.

Now workouts are for me but I still use them, like the classes I taught, to energise my day and leave my worries at the door after work. There was no greater way to get over yourself than when you had a room full of people waiting for you to give them a little push.

Travel has been a big part of my life over the last few years, teaching me to have big personal goals and just work them out.

In fact, I mastered the art of working many a trip around work commitments (and vice versa!) – so much so that I got myself qualified and started a mobile travel agent business almost a couple of years ago now.

Like anything, life comes with challenges and I’m not sure what that business is going to look like now, but this year’s hiatus has given me the chance to get stuck into more travel writing – what I got into the travel industry to do in the first place. So dependent on how you look at it, there are blessings everywhere.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Well, I’m based in Melbourne and currently working from home, so I’ve been taking advantage of maximising my days now that we’ve got more freedom back.

I’m usually up at 4.55am to get some planning done for About That Trip over a coffee and I’m at the gym by 6am. By the time I’m home I’ve got a good couple of hours to potter around the house or have (fun) meetings before the day job starts – I work for one of the Big Four, planning communication for initiatives or writing stories.

After work and on the weekends, I am pitching travel stories to the media, contributing blogs for travel brands that I love or interviewing travellers about their trips and writing stories to inspire others to travel with purpose.

Interviews are a big part of my process – I like speaking to people one on one because people often don’t remember saying the magic that comes out of their mouth in conversation, and I enjoy their reaction when they see it in writing. 

So, I’ve got a pretty intensive routine, but one that energises me from the inside out from when I get up, until my head hits the pillow around 10pm. 

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine? 

Although my full time job is in a big corporate and quite demanding, I’m grateful that it’s very flexible. I have a great team (and boss) that understands what things outside of work help me bring my best effort to work, and hours that allow me to get my workouts in with enough time to work on my business and general life stuff like spending time with family as well.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

For me, work-life balance is where I get the opportunity to do everything I love. I make commitments in my personal life – whether that be study, a business, a marathon goal, working out.

I love a challenge and personally think they make me better in my work. I bring that excitement of a challenge to my work too, so I make no secret of  my outside commitments and it seems to set up a really healthy respect for what needs to be done for work (of course there are times “extra” needs to be put in there too) and boundaries so that work and life aren’t in conflict. No one needs that unnecessary pressure.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life? 

This year I stopped intense gym workouts when I was trying to do them at home. Clearly I wasn’t up for them, despite being set up online to continue with the habit I’ve had for over 20 years!

Since getting back to more of a normal routine now, I realise how important it is for me to spend that energy at the start of the day – ideas start flowing, I feel amazing and just have more perspective on things not being that hard.

Since starting About That Trip, I’ve had a strong ritual around planning – I have monthly goals I want to hit (written on post-it notes on a wall sized planner), broken down into weekly tasks (which I write on a whiteboard), and a handful of daily tasks I write in my diary every morning.

At the end of the day I check off what I achieve and inevitably other actions (that will move my business forward) I took that I hadn’t planned for. It makes me feel accomplished even when I thought I was unproductive. It’s a great way to set up and look back on my day – I think it’s why I sleep so well.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

This year I became a bit of a podcast geek as a matter of routine, listening to lots of business podcasts – I like to learn by podcast if it’s not something I need to take notes about. 

But I live alone and I also learned I liked to go on walks “with someone” (in my ear) so a couple of great travel podcasts that kept me company during lockdown and that still manage to pep me up if I’m feeling tense are The Thoughtful Travel Podcast and Extraordinary Outback Stories.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Nothing too exciting – Office 365 Business for collaborating through SharePoint, file storage through OneDrive and Microsoft Teams for Planner and online meetings/recordings.

Also Canva – gone are the days you are reliant as a small business on a designer. I did invest in a designer up front who set up all my digital assets for me in Canva and I have complete (sometimes too much!) control to get on with whatever I need.  

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?   

My business coach. She runs an international business online – you can imagine, across different time zones, different programs, various teams for her to coordinate with and she’s all about just taking daily actions, celebrating wins, and slowing down to do more.

Until I met her, I focused on fitting as much into my days as humanly possible rather than focusing on the things that energised me and a handful of daily practises that would move my business forward.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I don’t think work-life balance is about there being an even weight of each. It’s more about the balance that feels right for the individual and making conscious choices to make the change if it’s not working for you.

For me it’s about energy, for others it might be about recovery or family commitments. But I think it’s important to understand the work-life thing will change at different points and it’s up to us to bring ourselves the balance, because if we don’t speak up, we’re the ones it impacts the most.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.