Bridges and Balloons
Explore the world. Explore your mind. Explore creativity.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
We are Victoria and Steve, a writer and filmmaker with a fondness for cake, independent bookshops and cosmic wonder. In February 2012, we packed up our lives in London and set off on a journey to explore the world and our place within it.
We started in South America, nearly stayed for good in Mexico, moved on to Bali, then set up base in Berlin. Along the way, between us, we trained as a yoga teacher, made an award-winning film, got held hostage by monkeys, and continued on a quest to find the world’s best Old Fashioned and most delicious vegetarian food.
This blog is about that continuing journey, following our lives as digital nomads, and offering travel stories, photos, personal tales, interviews, curated content, and practical guides that hopefully inspire you to explore, dream, discover.
If you’re new here, then take a look at this getting started page for an idea of what’s on offer.
This site was born of a love of writing, exploration, and this particular story…
Once upon a time, there a was a small girl with a mess of curly red hair born to two parents who loved to explore. As nurses, they weren’t rich but they’d go away at every chance they got, even moving to Quatar for a year to work when the little one was just three years old.
As she got older, the girl developed her own wanderlust. At 13, she fell in love with Spain on a Spanish exchange. People ate at 10pm, 13-year-olds went to nightclubs, and the culture had its own scent. The world and its richness was opening up. Then a life-changing exchange trip to Tanzania at 15, volunteering in a school, experiencing African village life and seeing a world beyond what she’d ever imagined, cemented travel as a love of her life.
She indulged that love as often as she could, travelling solo through nine countries at 18, from Sri Lanka to the Cook Islands, and then taking off at every chance through university, internships and work. She couchsurfed, she volunteered and learned to see the world through others’ eyes.
Along this journey, there was sadness. The girl’s Dad died in 2002 after a long battle with alcoholism. Eight years later her Mum died from MS, followed by her Nan three weeks later. The three of them stay with her, guiding spirits and inspiration. Death and grief are difficult journeys but also ones that give rise to compassion, empathy and perspective – a profound lesson in impermanence.
These experiences took the girl on an exploration of her own mind. She studied psychotherapy and began to question her path in life.
At 27 she was in a job she’d spent her life trying to get – working for a humanitarian charity as a writer. An English BA, Journalism Diploma and endless internships had got her there. The problem was she was restless. Working in an office didn’t suit her, and every day she’d stare at her desktop with its photo of a jungle and dream.
She dreamed of the world beyond – the places she’d already travelled and the countless ones there were still to see. She dreamed of doing what felt right, of finding that thing that made her glow.
So, two years after her Mum’s death, the girl whose hair was now less red, decided it was time to really explore. She didn’t know exactly what she wanted or where her journey would take her, but she knew she needed to make a step into that unknown.
She and her filmmaker boyfriend Steve packed up their home in London and set off for South America. He continued to make films and she started this blog.
Which takes us up to now…
Bridges and Balloons started as a hobby, something to keep me creating along the way, but it’s grown into something more. Sometimes people write to me and say it’s inspired them to explore their own path, whether that be at home or around the world – and that’s why I continue to share. I share my own stories, I share our photos, I share tips, and I share things that inspire us as we go. It’s evolved into a hybrid blog, magazine and guidebook for all dreamers and digital nomads.
It’s more than two years since we left London and we’re still on the road. We tend to move much slower these days, spending up to six months in any one place, to get a true feel for the local life. One day we may stop for longer and find a place that we’ll call home, but for now that search continues. I don’t, nor can I, know where this path is leading.
The same goes for my work. Alongside this blog, I dabble in freelance writing, teaching yoga, doing writing workshops, pondering about a life of teaching, and hatching plans for start-ups. Sometimes that uncertainty is difficult and the insecurity quite frightening, but the journey is also my fuel. As someone wise once said: “The journey is the destination”.
Thank you for sharing my path.
Other things to know about Victoria
I love cake more than anyone else I know. My favourite is Victoria Sponge.
Spending time in cafes with a coffee, cake, book and crossword is one of my life’s greatest pleasures.
If a café or restaurant is described as whimsical, cosy or hipster, it’s likely I’ll be a fan.
A little bit about Steve
Steve is my best friend, my love and the most wonderful man I know. He also takes a lot of the photos on Bridges and Balloons and of course features in many of the stories. Steve’s job is making films. He produces, he edits, he directs, he does a little bit of it all, and also has his own company, the most excellent Planetary Collective. In 2012, they made a film about an amazing thing called The Overview Effect. It captured people’s imagination and has since been watched by more than 5 million people online. That number blows my mind. Now he’s working on an epic and ambitious feature-length documentary about our story as life within this cosmos. He has done all of this during our travels – he’s a true digital nomad.
Other things to know about Steve
He’s a self-confessed geek, forever teaching himself new passions, from animation and coding to the finer details of Buddhist philosophy.
He uses the words snake, biscuit, mega and sandwich A LOT.
He’s creative at almost everything. Just look at this little self-portrai.