Brianne is a Boston-based non-profit consultant and travel blogger with a particular interest in responsible travel. Her blog, A Traveling Life, focuses on how to balance a professional career with a life of travel. I met Brianne while I was attend TBEX in the Philippines last year. We both ended up on the same post-conference tour that was to volunteer and learn more about a local non-profit organization (very fitting given Brianne’s background). I chatted with her about how she maintains her life as an entrepreneur and also finds time to travel. Here’s what she had to say…
Tell me a bit about what you do for a living.
After a long career in public relations and marketing communications, mostly with non-profit organizations, I decided to start my own consulting firm four years ago. As the principal of Kind Communications, I help non-profits and start-ups learn how to talk about their mission in a compelling way, and tell their stories using both traditional and digital media.
Do you have a certain amount of vacation days a year at your job?
No. The one drawback about being self-employed is that you really don’t get vacation or sick days. You need to get the work done when your clients need it done. However, I do have some flexibility as to where and when I do my work. Since March my work has been entirely project based – before that I was on site at a client’s office 20 hours a week – so while I need to be in Boston occasionally for meetings, I’ve been able to squeeze in a good deal of travel in the United States and overseas this spring and summer.
How often do you try and travel within a year?
My goal is to take at least one trip a month, either within the U.S. or overseas. Some years have been better than others in regard to having the time and money to meet this goal, but this year has been a particularly good one! I traveled almost non-stop from mid-April to mid-July.
Do you ever feel limited to how often you travel because of your job?
Absolutely. I actually thought being self-employed would give me much more flexibility, but I think it’s giving me less. Oops! I don’t have a “back-up” anymore like I did when I was employed full-time for someone else; I don’t have a team who can answer calls or emails for me in my absence. My clients are paying good money to work with me, so I generally need to plan my travel around their schedules and priorities.
Do you find it hard to unplug from work when traveling?
Yes. I generally need to still be available via email for clients no matter where I am. And of course, since I’ve started blogging, I try to post regularly on social media while traveling. However, in May I treated myself to a two-week “digital detox” while on the Nomad Cruise from Cartagena, Colombia to Lisbon, Portugal. It was incredibly relaxing, and it was so nice to have conversations and meals with no one looking down at their phones. However, I’m still going through all the email that piled up my inbox during that time!
Why is it important to you to have a career but also incorporate travel into your life (instead of one over the other)?
Travel has always been and will remain a major priority in my life; however, I don’t ever think I’ll be a full-time traveler/travel blogger. Everyone is always shocked when they hear me say that because that’s the goal for so many travelers. However, I really enjoy my work and helping my clients. I also like earning a decent income at this point in my life – travel is a little more fun when you’re not completely broke!
What inspired you to start a travel blog?
I actually started my blog as a platform for freelance travel writing. Then the blog took a lot of time, resources and energy to get up and running, so I decided to stick with it. I’m glad I did – it’s opened the door to a lot of amazing opportunities. More recently, I’ve started writing for a few responsible travel publications, and I hope to do more freelancing in the future.
If you had a piece of advice for someone that is trying to maintain a career and also see the world, what would it be?
Don’t hide your passion for traveling. The U.S. in particular is one country that generally does not value travel – only about a third of Americans have passports, and U.S. law doesn’t require employers to give employees any vacation days or holidays. I think it’s important to prove to your employer, colleagues and professional networks that traveling doesn’t make you any less successful or reliable. In fact, it can enhance your career by teaching you more about yourself and the world around you.