Every day, Anna Dawson, the Australian Expat known for ‘The Balloon Diary” shows how something simple transcends cultural barriers. When she walks the streets of Paris with her iconic pink balloon people smile. “A moment of joy is shared by something a little out of the ordinary”. Anna’s popularity has grown to new heights with over
120,000 140,000 followers, or Petite Dreamers as Anna likes to address them, on Instagram.
What inspired the idea of the pink balloon and why pink, not blue or red?
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. My pink balloon has allowed me to connect with so many different people who would usually have just passed me by. To me, the balloon represents joy and pink is the universal color of love so I don’t think I would ever change.
When did you noticed the general public were taking notice of The Balloon Diary?
After a couple of months of sharing on Instagram, I noticed that people were starting to follow my adventures. They would offer me tips and advice sharing with me their favorite things to do in Paris.
With over 120,000 followers you have a mass fanbase, why do you think so many people are connecting with The Balloon Diary
I think most people can connect with the idea of wanting to change the direction of their lives at one point or another. I also think Paris is the most beautiful city in the world and many people also share the same feeling and love to see it captured in a positive and inspiring light.
Your motto is “getting lost in the right direction”. Where have you travelled with your blog?
Since starting the blog last July I’ve been to Bali, Dubai and back to Australia a few times. I have plans to travel this summer to Greece and Italy and hopefully discover more of the South of France.
What’s your daily routine? And how many balloons do you use?
The great thing about my life now is that no two days are the same and that’s what I love. Most days are spontaneous where I just try to see something new. I love wandering aimlessly, going down alleyways, discovering small cobblestone streets and stumbling upon secret gardens. The balloons I use are inexpensive and Biodegradable and usually stay inflated for a few days. I say I would use around 15 a month.
You married fellow blogger and photographer Julien Gaulet (@Frenchnakedchef). How did he propose?
We were engaged 3 months after we met and married 3 months later. We were in the middle of a shooting at Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in front of the Louvre and Julien pulled out the ring and held it up in front of the camera as I was posing for a shot and proposed! It was an amazing surprise.
So the Balloon Diary is a husband and wife collaboration. Can you tell us a little about Julien?
Julien is French and has spent his whole life living in Paris. As a trained chef, he worked in restaurants for years but then decided that he wanted to combine his love of French cuisine with a more creative concept so he decided to take his clothes off and cook naked! He created the service French Naked Chef where he cooks at special events in Paris or at private parties. It is his great sense of humour and lust for life that I love most about him and let’s just say it’s never a dull moment! He continues to work for French Naked Chef but also works with me with on The Balloon Diary taking all the beautiful photos.
Julien is still photographing you? That’s great! What changes have you made to your blog since its creation?
At the moment I only shoot with Julien. We make a great team and taking photos everyday with your husband doesn’t exactly feel like work! The biggest change since I started The Balloon Diary is that now I not only want to share the beauty of Paris but I also want to discover and share with my community other beautiful destinations around the world.
What sort of reactions have you observed from pedestrians?
On my adventures, some people will stop in the street curious about the balloon or maybe they have seen my Instagram and we’ll get talking. Just recently a lady recognized the balloon and we ended up spending the whole afternoon together, she gave me a private tour and took me to places I would probably have never found.
What advice do you give someone hoping to build a successful blog?
Blog about what you love. Be clear with your audience about what your blog is all about and communicate this through your content. Find your own point of difference and be consistent. Engage with your community and most importantly be yourself. Authenticity is everything.
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By Karina Castrillo
Journalist at Expatriates Magazine and an avid Instagramer. Follow Karina on https://www.instagram.com/karinainthecity/