Make your travels special
Bridges and Balloons is all about travel to special places. We create handpicked, unique itineraries, filled with beautifully designed places to stay and ways to experience life like a local. We love road trips, indy bookshops, glorious nature, thoughtful Airbnbs, farmers markets, street art and discovering the creative side of a city. We put all our finds into detailed itineraries, handpicked city guides, best-of collections and our dedicated special stays series. If your tastes are anything like ours, this site is your shortcut to creating a magical trip.
And I’m the creator of Bridges and Balloons.
I’m that friend you always ask for travel tips, who you can rely on to have done all the research and sought out the places that make a trip unique. I’m an 100% travel geek – and a certified cake and book fiend.
I live in Bristol, but I’ve been travelling regularly, sometimes full time, for the past 17 years. I travel with my husband Steve (a VR developer and filmmaker) and our sons, Otis (a two-year-old whirlwind) and Arlo (our lockdown baby). Between us, we’ve been to 50 countries.
I started as a journalist, still work as a freelance editor and writer, and dream of having my own guesthouse.
Our style of travel
Words that epitomise the style you’ll find on Bridges and Balloons are: creative, cosy, independent, bohemian, boutique, slow, design-led and characterful. We favour a local style of travel, so don’t always hit all the “must-sees”, preferring to soak up the atmosphere and experience local life. We favour independents over chains, and while we’re vegetarian, we tend to eat in restaurants that are known to be good for all food rather than just veggie stuff. We love places that have a story behind them, and we prioritise the experience over the price, featuring both budget and luxury styles.
I took my first solo trip when I was 18, traveling around the world and stopping at 11 countries, from Sri Lanka to the Cook Islands. I also went on a school exchange to Tanzania when I was 15, and lived in Qatar when I was three.
What you can find on Bridges and Balloons
We put all our finds into detailed itineraries, handpicked city guides, best-of collections, and a dedicated Special Stays series, featuring hip, boutique hotels, creative glamping experiences and beautiful Airbnbs. And we’ve also put together an ultimate guide with all our best travel planning tips.
We include family travel, but that’s not our focus, so our trips can appeal to anyone, with or without children. And if you do have kids, this is the place to be for tips on how to continue travelling in style.
And, alongside all this, I also share personal stories from along the way: stories of grief, false starts, love, nomadism, working on the road, frustrations, freelancing, confusion, trying to start a business, and the good, bad and ugly side of travel.
The Bridges and Balloons journey
In 2012, Steve and I bought a one-way ticket to Rio. I quit my job and he took his on the road. In part, I was on a journey of healing, having lost my Mum two years before, and my Dad eight years earlier. But I was also in search of that classic travel cliché: I wanted to “find myself” and work out what it was I truly wanted to do with my life. I was hoping for an epiphany.
And along the way, I had many epiphany moments. I started a creative business, I trained as a yoga teacher, I did a course in nutrition, I learnt to program, I started research for several books, I studied mindfulness, I was a digital nomad, I did a foundation course in psychotherapy, I freelanced, I nearly started a yoga retreat, I did the Artist’s Way, I threw myself full-throttle into creating a successful blog, I taught writing classes, and I decided not to knock anything until I’d tried it during a maddening experiment in Bali.
Eight years and 30 countries later, I’m still searching, but I’m no longer fixated on finding an answer. As some wise fellow once said, “the journey is the destination”.