Skip to content

drive your life by diconium – Route 1 | Southeastern Europe

What is drive your life actually? We wanted to prove that Hybrid Work actually works – under the motto "it doesn't matter where you work, it matters how you work", we enabled 3 constellations of drivers to take a unique trip through Europe: including extraordinary encounters, technical highlights, exciting accommodations, office visits and, of course, lots of fun – without missing a single day of work. Over 1,000 applications, both external and internal, had to be screened. Deserving winners Lisa, Eric and Jennifer chronicled their experiences in our drive-your-life blog. Eight weeks of Hybrid Work in Europe, eight weeks of life-work balance. That was drive your life.

The first tour took our colleague Lisa and her sister through Southeastern Europe and back to Stuttgart. On this page you will find a summary of their experiences. Have fun reading!


...or check out straight away what Lisa & our company founder Daniel had to discuss on the beach on hybrid work:

drive your life: Lisa meets Daniel

 


d58f6c6e-bd8f-4245-baa1-5260f3e3f56c (1)-png

 

Hi everyone!

We are Vicky and Lisa and we are the lucky winners of drive your life (DYL) which means we are currently on a roadtrip with diconium. We're 'driving our lives' and work remotely from wherever the route takes us! We are sisters and as we usually live in two different countries, because of work and studies, drive your life was the perfect choice for us to spend some quality time while likewise work, experience memorable adventures together and get to know new, exciting things, people and cultures all in all: do epic things.

b75073ef-b0ff-4d6f-825b-f1456c33f740

When we heard of DYL there was no question we would apply as we have both been working remotely for 2 years now, we are convinced: working from anywhere is possible! So here we are eager to take you on the road with us through South & Eastern Europe, starting in Slovenia. So let’s go, first stop: Ljubljana.

From the beginning on we are excited about Ljubljana. It is exactly the opposite of what we had expected, even if we can't really define what our expectations were ;) Ljubljana is a lovely, really clean city with stunning architecture, really diverse people, a vibrant night live and a lot (!) of nature and green spaces. It is at no surprise that Ljubljana was nominated the greenest European capital already in 2016.

The first two weeks have already proven succesfully to us: Hybrid working models provide flexibility and definitely do boost productivity, motivation and mood & there's already no doubt: it doesn’t matter where we work, but how we work 'cause working from anywhere is possible even in consulting (as long as there is the fitting mindset and a good internet connection)! ;-)

#BusStories

Since May 8th now, the bus is accompanying our roadtrip and taking us loyally from place to place, putting up with our missing singing talent and the kilograms we encumber with our luggage.

#StrikeAPose
One thing can be anticipated: The bus attracts attention and keeps raising questions like 'what is driving your life' and 'who or what is diconium' at the end this is what makes everything even more exciting because often we get unintentionally into conversations with various people and exchange on the topic of hybrid working and the roadtrip we do meeting foreign people and finding a common topic to exchange in most cases results in really great encounters ;-)

 

c70decf3-e631-4189-bbf3-a4396cb309a8
a2d8a57d-d729-4cfb-b8fd-0dfe3fae137f
bf383bf2-33ab-4699-89c0-543842198ceb
4bf2f11c-d1bf-47ad-a126-6861c45553d6

 

Our route update so far: Ljubljana (SLO), Trieste (IT), Venice (IT), Zagreb (HR), Budapest (HU), Oradea (RO), Bukarest (RO)

#Bucharestupdate

Last Friday, we had the chance to meet Daniel and Catalin, both Business Development Managers at the Impact Hub Bucharest, and exchange on various topics from hybrid working models, to Innovation potential in Romania and further.

The golden word here is flexibility. And this is exactly what hybrid working models embody and co-working hubs offer a great possibility to live this flexibility up. The other perspective on flexibility at workplace is as Daniel posted it in our conversation: 'Allowing flexibility means that employers invest trust in their employees' which from my point of view is a very valuable statement that needs to be acknowledged at this point.

Several other, specific aspects go hand in hand with flexible working models, or rather form the required fundament: Without a culture equipped with strongly anchored values, trust and the right, forward-thinking mindset, the establishment of flexible working is hardly possible. Agree?

#roadtripupdate

Past week in Bucharest and departure to Greece!
Of course, Bucharest was not just working at Impact Hub but luckily we also had some time off with a long weekend because of German bank holiday, which we succesfully used for some sight-seeing in and around the city, here are our top 5 highlights:

1. Bukarest Rooftops: there are plenty of rooftops in Bucharest, but don't be disappointed in searching them in the highest buildings. Bucharest rooftops are mostly located either in high class hotels or on the top of historic buildings within the city center, which usually are not that high. However this doesn't mean you won't be rewarded with a great view - check out these three we can definitely recommend with great food and drinks at good prices:

 Amethyst Sky Bar (located at the top of Union Plaza Hotel)
 Linea Closer to the moon
 Nomad Skybar

2. Stroll through old city and city center along all Bucharest historic buildings and monuments highlights, here are the most known:

Nation's Heroes Memorial
Saint John Chrysostom Church
Palace of the Parliament
National Museum of Romanian History
Stavropoleos Monastery
Macca Vilacrosse Passage (Historic Passage with Cafes and Bars)
Lipscani (Old City Center)
Piata Universitatii (University Square)
Romanian Athenaeum
Arcul de Triumf
Cismigiu Park

3. Pizza at Buoni e Bravi: just a 10/10 nothing to add

4. Therme Bucuresti: both for fun and relaxation, the biggest wellness and relaxation center in Europe offers plenty of possibilities for a day off just 10 minutes outside Bucharest: Relaxing in one of plenty saunas, swimming in one of 9 pools (outside and inside), diverse waterslides, an artificial beach and good food in one of the restaurants - Tip: Book the Elyseum Ticket for full experience (ca. 40 EUR/day) ;-). As we experienced 34 degrees Celsius that weekend in Bucharest this was asolutely welcomed for refreshment.

5. Trip to Bran (Transylvania): On Friday, before leaving Bucharest, we decided to follow the tracks of Dracula and therefore spent the last day in Romania in Bran, visiting the castle. Bran castle is often commonly known as Dracula's castle outside Transylvania, even if (sorry to disappoint you) in fact, there is no evidence that the castle served as role model for the Dracula stories. A great plus: the way to Bran let us along great landscapes, mountain slopes and picturesque villages if you have more time: Feel free to drive further and visit Siebenbürgen as well!

After enjoying the rest of the evening back in Bucharest at a nice spot directly located at Lake Floreasca, the next morning we headed further to our next destination passing the south of Romania, crossing Bulgaria with a short coffee stop in Sofia to finally arrive in: GREECE! Current stop: Thessaloniki.

By the way, on the way towards Greece we hit the 10 km mark with our travel companion😉, exactly halfway through our road trip wow, can you tell that 4 weeks have past so quickly?

Screenshot_5d433ecc-85e6-479c-8c5e-29fc05c60d6c
4617fede-45a0-4243-b5c4-9f498ba9d05e
81a2f380-66ed-4ad3-a4aa-03704d3839e2
8fd0d10b-a59d-434b-b064-3774c2a28c7a
6274c5db-313a-4be7-aaab-428bad981bc5


#ThessalonikiRecap

Thessaloniki? The majority of people speaks of Athens, Santorini and Crete when thinking about Greece but have you thought about a weekend trip to Thessaloniki? It's the second largest Greek city with a thriving, young and modern city centre with fancy food and drink spots nearby the sea. Thessaloniki vibes cannot be expressed but one thing is for sure: In case you consider spending vacation close to Thessaloniki (e.g hiking on Mount Olympus, going for discovering cultural heritage as e.g. visiting Meteora or going to the beach at one of Chalkidikis three fingers, definitely do consider a weekend trip in Thessaloniki: enjoy the view from the castle wall over the entire city, stroll across the seaside along the White Tower and famous Umbrellas, have food and drinks at 'Ladadika' in the evening, a coffee nearby the water and last but not least for me personally every time a MUST I am in Thessaloniki: a traditional, handmade bougatsa (greek traditional breakfast pastry filled with either custard, cheese or spinach) at Jianni's place (10/10 recommendation).  Trust me I've been going to and passing through Thessaloniki a couple times a year since childhood I've never been to the city without having a bougatsa there n e v e r! :D

#courage
Having finished the working week in Thessaloniki, one of diconium's values was about to be put into an activity for us: #courage. So we went canyoning on Mount Olympus, which was approximately one hour drive away from Thessaloniki. This was really fun, especially because we climbed, hiked and dived in the freezing cold water flowing directly down from the mountain peak which was great considering that outside temperature at this day was 32°C. Our highlight was definitely the 8 meter jump into one of the natural mountain pools which indeed needed some courage. Also cool, after two years of social distancing: we were in a small group of 5 people from different countries plus two guides.

Lastly: the best thing now that we are in Greece: We do not need to make up or minds about going punctually out for food 'cause in Greece you'll easily get to eat in restaurants even after 11pm and as we are used to rather this schedule than to 'the kitchen closes at 9pm' we are luckily happy to now chill and enjoy eating out and having drinks whenever we like without hurrying up! #greecelove
Byebye Thessaloniki!

#AthensRecap

Now, being in Mykonos we still owe you a recap from our one week stay in Athens - so here you go: In Athens I would say, we had a very exciting and intense balance of work and life with many highlights. It had not been our first time in Athens, so we knew exactly what to expect, where to go, eat and what to see, which I need to admit kind of relieved us from our constant FOMO :D (fear of missing out) when being in cities for just a short time and trying to manage both work full time and explore the city and sightseeings for afterwork. However, and although we had been here already a couple times, we are fascinated every time we come back: the vibrant mood, the city's flair and atmosphere being surrounded by art and cultural heritage paired with a mix of cool bars and the open-minded people: a big like!

c6be6488-7c7c-4b28-89d8-66f31467aa13
36ab31fc-ef5c-47aa-9fe2-719c617d8b09
d0e428a4-a71c-46b6-a6b0-f9bac712d3c5
ef30bcf0-c19b-4607-8586-842cfab78ec5



We already wrote in a previous blogposts about the fails we encountered in Athens, so let’s skip this unpleasant part and draw everything golden: SO WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS I MENTIONED ABOVE? Let me tell you:

#afterwork
As mentioned above, we've been to Athens a couple of times, but anyways for me personally, many locations are so worth seeing again and again so that we did not refuse to visit some of the most touristic spots for one more time. Hence, we checked out the view at Acropolis and the Parthenon from every angle possible climbing on different hills enjoying the view and a glass of wine or two (some recommended spots: Philopappou Monument Hill, Lycabettus Hill, several rooftop bars located at Monastiraki Square and Areopagus Hill). Apart from sight seeing, another highlight for us encompassed the opportunity to meet friends and family in the evening times or for lunch which also would not have been possible without hybrid / remote working. #worklifebalance

#weekendgetaway
As in summer times it gets really hot and stuffy in the city centre of Athens, as the weekend came closer we decided to do a day trip to Hydra Island, which was approximately 1,5 hours by ferry from the port of Piraeus. There, we spent the entire day with our cousin Chrisa, met some friends, hung out at the beach and returned late by night after an amazing dinner at a fish tavern by sunset.

#work@impacthub
Lastly work wise, we also experienced some highlights: We had the chance to work the entire week from Impact Hub Athens - a really cool co-working space in an old, historic building in a fancy quarter called Psyrri, located directly in the city centre close to plenty of lunch and dinner options, rooftop bars with a view at the Acropolis and generally a great way to spend working hours while likewise meeting new people. The community managers ElenaMarianna and Melina, but also all other co-workers there welcomed us in such a warm way that I directly felt comfortable from the very first minute on.

#worklifebalance
As luckily during our stay there was a long weekend due to bank holiday in most parts of Germany, we had the chance to really drive along and discover the island from every angle. #worklifebalance and that's totally what I love about #driveyourlife: Working while likewise exploring! As it was our 2nd time in Mykonos, we had a great idea of where we preferred to go and what to see, so we used one day for a getaway from out getaway and visited Tinos island, which is a 30 min ferry ride from Mykonos and spent the entire day there. Mykonos offers a great variety of both: a perfect spot to calm down but also experience great night outs at really cool party locations directly located at the beach. In contrast, Tinos is rather an island for sight-seeing and relaxing which was perfect for a day to calm down, and indeed with a lot less tourists.



#Astypalaia

Well from there, we continued our way through the Cyclades and Aegean sea towards our next stop where we currently are: Astypalaia, 'the butterfly in the Aegean Sea'. Stay tuned for more information about the greek, electric island which will follow in our next blogpost. And till then as always: SUNNY GREETS FROM GREECE,
Lisa & Vicky

#10weeksIn1Post

When I applied for #driveyourlife, my thoughts were 'why don't you just try that' and had a very strong 'just do it' attitude. Of course I was very surprised when I got the message I'd be in the race and to be honest I really did not know what to expect, considering this in retrospective: Even If I had concrete expectations those would have definitely been surpassed by now, sure thing. We've seen and done so many things in the past weeks, that most of the times it was hard in the evenings to realise and reflect scrolling down my camera roll on the phone now feels to me like seeing photos and videos of the past couple years or months, when in fact it was only some weeks ago truly a workation marathon I would call it.

10 weeks of travelling, 10 weeks of growing, exploring and getting out of the comfort zone, of laughing, organizing, fire-fighting, packing and meeting people and not to forget: all of this while working and being on the road with my sister, which was the cherry on the top.

The mission was clear: proving that working from everywhere is possible and I think we have not only proven to ourselves but also to everyone else that this is the case, the statement is obvious: it does not matter where we work but how we work and this at the end makes the difference.


#hybridworkplaces
do not only offer for exploiting the full flexibility given in balancing work and private life but to me personally this also entailed a true motivation and productivity booster. The fact that being able to work from inspirational places I always wanted to visit, surrounded by people I love and sharing these precious moments together has truly been my highlight of #driveyourlife. One thing I realized throughout this trip: Being given flexibility by employers is also a matter of trust: Having talked to so many people among different co working spaces or at random occasions, I've seen that even after 2+ years of corona pandemic, more flexible and adaptable working models are not really a matter of course it is a bonus and definitely a privilege that requires trust from both sides, employers and employees likewise.

aab50714-1081-4d6b-aac2-54754f480fbc
da0fec32-3f98-421a-8c08-f51603d3e3f4
ccad3722-c861-470f-a75f-3ddbcdab3e3b
14fe188e-e566-4775-8812-1cfa8f100746
e5017ac8-4277-437c-b2d0-2282a2fb7666



#whathaschanged
Now upon return, I was often asked how working from other places differed from working at home or in the office. Well, to be honest it was not really different as a kind of routine had established already right within the first days at the beginning. Our working routine was pretty much the same, we just did our normal jobs, simply from different places! However, the great difference lied in how we spent our free time: instead of meeting friends, going after our hobbies or just netflix and chill our plans encompassed sight seeing, connecting with people, experiencing, learning and being fascinated by things most of the time. Well, and eventually, this is what we wanted to show: Everything is still the same same job, same team, same performance with a tiny difference in locations and mood. ;-)

#whatwehavelearned
Well, anticipated personally but also work-wise we have learned a lot. This trip was not only an adventure in terms of exploring, getting to know new people, places and absorbing impressions but it was also about growing and getting out of the comfort zone. #sharingiscaring so here you go with my TOP5 learnings:

Time management is key because being on workation does not necessarily mean reduction of working time but rather efficient, flexible planning of work and free time in order to perform at work but likewise get the best out of your free time to explore, learn and grow. The definition of work-life balance is very individual. My balance might not be another person's understanding of balance, so there is no recipe employers could learn of and build the master plan. Life situations are different, implying that working models need also to be adaptable.

#keepsmiling: be positive and optimistic about things, making up your mind about whether things will work out or not is just a waste of time, just do it and you'll see. Be prepared for the unprepared and just take things as they come, whether on workation or not, unforeseen things can totally ruin your time plans try to take it easy.

#hybridworkplace is the way to go why hybrid? Taking me personally, I have learned that I am neither the 100% office type, nor the 100% home office type, so #hybridworkplace is the go to option for me because I need the flexibility to bring private and work life in balance as I wish to and secondly, I still love having the option to work from the offices, see my team and colleagues and exchange with them face-to-face.

#whatyouneedtobring
I think there are definitely some preconditions making it easier for some than for others to adapt to changing environments and work from any place some characteristics for sure help in easily handling #hybridworkplaces:

openness to people and new things
positivity
curiosity
modern mindset, hands-on mentality
adaptability, flexibility

#factsandnumbers
And for those feeling rather attracted by facts and numbers, here some random facts:

~9000 km: the number of km we drove in the van (ferry rides are not included)
1 broken window shield and 1 exchanged
8 countries, 21 places in 10 weeks (Take a look at the polaroid collection to see all the places we've been to on this #driveyourlife trip while working)
10 times of charging and ~30 times of gas fueling
4 bottles of sun screen have been used up
15 different accomodations (of which 9 were AirBnb's, 4 hotels and 2 private accomodations)
3 times trouble with the police [not our fault :D]
Countless lovely, open-minded people met and exchanged inspirational, interesting stories


#SpecialThanks

737de901-25d4-43f6-ad8c-cafa9c09d76d (1)

I am beyond thankful for having experienced this, having taken the learnings with me and especially for having been given the chance to take my sister as travel buddy with me, this way intensively spending quality time that is priceless! Thanks diconium for offering that great chance I will always cherish with a big smile on my face.

Now DYL might be over for me and my travel buddy, but is continuing with my colleague Eric who is gonna rock the Scandinavian route well, what can I say, Eric? This trip will truly be a one-of a kind experience, absorb every moment, enjoy it to the fullest and I am looking forward to read about your experiences made throughout the upcoming 2 months on the blog! #gogogo

Well, and for the last time:
many greets from us and thanks to everyone who followed our journey and shared their feedback and stories on #hybridworkplaces with us… have fun following the second route! :-)

Lisa & Vicky