Travel Bug | 5 + 5 With Anna Dawson

Anna Dawson, the mind behind the lovely blog The Balloon Diary, is a woman that never really felt a 100 % at peace back home in Sydney. She was always longing for something else but other things got in the way. Until one day, she made the decision to finally take the leap and move across the globe, to the one city she had always been dreaming about, Paris. Tag along as we took the opportunity to talk to her about her pink balloon, move abroad, life in Paris and what she has planned for the future. Here you have her in 5 Long + 5 Short with Anna Dawson!

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Anna at Quai de la Seine

5 Long

What was it that triggered you to take the leap and move to Paris?

Ever since I can remember I’d always wanted to move abroad. The feeling was just there, constantly pulling me away from the familiarity of Sydney, where I grew up. But practical matters came first. Once I finished college, I started my own event-planning business, which took up most of my 20’s. But even though I was doing the work that I chose and ticking all the right boxes, somehow I began to feel restless. I began to question what I was working towards and what I was actually saving for?  I’d always dreamed of traveling and living in Paris but for me the idea of actually doing it seemed overwhelming.

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Years went by and I turned 30 and that’s when I decided enough was enough, it was now or never. With no real plan, I finally made the decision to leave behind all that I had worked for because in my heart I wanted something different and I was tired of making excuses for my own happiness. So I booked a ticket and moved to Paris.

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Pont de Bir-Hakeim

Tell us about your pink balloon

Being on the other side of the world, I decided to create The Balloon Diary to share my life in Paris with friends and family back home in Australia. As for the idea of the actual balloon as simple as it sounds when you walk down a busy street in Paris with a pink balloon, people smile. It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak the same language, or if you have nothing in common with them at all – there’s still that moment where you share the joy of this tiny little thing that’s just a bit out of the ordinary.

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My pink balloon has allowed me to connect with so many different people who would usually have just passed me by.

Tips on things to do in Paris?

Simply walking around is the best way to discover the beauty and eccentricities of Paris. Just the idea of not knowing where you’ll end up or what you’ll find is what makes it so exciting. That’s why my motto for The Balloon Diary is “getting lost in the right direction.” I never know where I’m going (and I still don’t), but perhaps if I really had to suggest one thing, in particular, it would be to pack your own picnic and head to the beautiful Tuileries Gardens in the center of Paris. Filled with beautiful and traditional statues and monuments but also more abstract works of art and, of course, the Arc du Carrousel it’s easy to spend an entire day just wandering around getting magically lost.

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Tuileries Gardens

Paris has lots of hammers: traditional North African steam baths and after visiting a few I have to say that it’s one of my favorite things to do in Paris. The Mosquée de Paris has become my monthly ritual since I arrived. It was built in the 1920s and is by far the most beautiful architecturally. For € 18 you will find a steam room much like the real hammams Maghreb which is a succession of rooms with temperatures each time a little higher. Once you’ve enjoyed the hammam you can sit in the courtyard, drinking mint tea and tasting delicious North African treats that they serve at the cafe.

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Parc des Buttes Chaumont

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What does the future hold for you?

I originally had no set plans for the long-term. I saw it as just a twelve-month adventure, but that was until I met a wonderful French man. We met not long after I arrived in Paris late last year. He takes my photographs for The Balloon Diary and in fact, we just got married! I now plan to stay in Paris and continue building our new life together and continue sharing all of the beauty and eccentricities of life here in Paris.

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Colonnes de Buren

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The best part with moving to Paris vs. the hardest part?

The best part of moving to Paris was meeting my husband and the hardest part was not speaking a word of French when I first arrived.

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Rue Crémieux


5 Short

Making plans or Being Spontaneous

A home cooked meal or Eating out

Sightseeing or People Watching

Big city life or beach? - City during the week and beach on the weekend!

Favorite place in the world? Paris

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Read more about Anna’s adventures in Paris on her blog!

And follow her on Instagram!


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Interested in other inspiring travel stories? Check out Cilla’s, Malin’s, Christina’s, Terry’s and Charlie’s!

Elin Ingelsten
Chooses a hot, tropical and sunny holiday over a snowy one every day. Loves to stroll around in lively big cities just as much as charming small villages and dreams about experiencing the pulsating vibes of all the big cities in the world.