Keys, wallet, phone, giant pink balloon.
While it's not your ordinary leaving-the-house checklist, it's a reality for Anna Dawson.
She's the face (or should that be arm?) behind the delightful Instagram account The Balloon Diary -- a chronicle of travels and events of a girl and her candy pink balloon.
Following her dream of living in Paris, Dawson packed up her Sydney life and set off on an adventure just over a year ago.
"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," Dawson told The Huffington Post Australia.
"But practical matters came first. Once I finished college, I started my own event- planning business, which took up of most of my 20’s. 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 travelling and living in Paris but for me the idea of actually doing it seemed overwhelming."
Years went by and Dawson turned 30, at which point she decided enough was enough and 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."
From her new home in France, The Balloon Diary was born.
"Being on the other side of the world, I decided to create a way to share my life in Paris with friends and family back home in Australia," Dawson said.
"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."
Quizzed on the practicality Of the balloon, Dawson revealed that she believes it brings her a little piece of magic.
"It’s amazing how many people ask about the logistics of the pink balloon. I like to think it’s a magic balloon but, of course, it’s just an ordinary pink balloon filled with helium. Though, since carrying the pink balloon around Paris with me my life has changed, so I think in some ways it is."
That magic she refers to is the man who takes her photographs, and her new husband.
"Not long after I arrived in Paris late last year I met Julien and fell in love. He took my photographs for me when I started The Balloon Diary and he continues to take my photographs," Dawson said.
"Originally I had no set plans to stay in Paris long term -- I just saw it as just an adventure in which I was going to be open to whatever came my way. And it certainly has been an adventure as Julien and I recently got married. I now plan to stay here and continue building our new life together and sharing the beauty of life here in Paris."
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