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 find special places to stay, creative corners of cities, food that alone is worth the trip, and all the beauty spots that wanderlust is made of.
Words that epitomise the style you’ll find on Bridges and Balloons are creative, cosy, independent, hipster, bohemian, boutique, 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 look for street art, independent bookshops, farmers markets and parks. And we’re always up for spending time in nature. We favour independents over chains, and while both my husband and I are 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.
We put these 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 I’ve also put together an in-depth guide with all my best travel planning tips.
We have a one-year-old son, so I’ve naturally started including a family travel element– but our trips will still appeal to people travelling without children as our focus and tastes remain the same.
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.
How much do I travel?
Steve (my husband) and I were nomadic for about three years. As we went along, we slowed down our travels until we started to spend at least six months in any one place, including San Pancho, Ubud, and Berlin. We were searching for a base. In the end, the base we chose was the the city we’d started in, London. And after a year there, we decided to move to Bristol, which is where we’re living now. We still travel a lot, sometimes just for the weekend, and other times for a few months. We try to do one big trip of at least a month every year, and then lots of smaller trips in between. The wanderlust lives on. In our son Otis’ first year, we went on five trips, including a two-month adventure to the USA.
What do I do for work?
Before leaving for our open-ended travels in 2012, I worked as a writer for the British Red Cross, and before that I worked for other charities and also as a journalist. Nowadays Steve and I run a small creative agency, Bridges and Balloons Creative, and I also freelance as a writer, editor and blogger, specialising in charities and travel. I write features, personal narrative and interviews for magazines. And I also do paid projects with this blog, and earn money through affiliates and advertising. You can read more about how I make money through the blog here. And you can see my freelance portfolio on my website: victoriawattskennedy.com.
About my 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 company, 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 tried ayahuasca and ibogaine, 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.
Six 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”.
Some facts about me and Steve
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.
Steve and I came very close to buying some land in Mexico and building a yoga retreat. Perhaps we still will one day.
We are both vegetarian and often shape our trips around food. Sourdough pizza, South Indian cuisine and Melbourne’s brunches are among our favourites.
We were once held hostage by monkeys.
Cake is one of my favourite things in the world. I once had a dream job, hunting down the best afternoon teas in London.
I’ve made a full list of all my favourite things here – it’s a page that makes me happy every time I look at it.