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Welcome to the World of Boutique Adventures!

Hi! So glad you visited! Well, it’s a given that as a luxury travel blogger I love to travel and that I do it frequently. I’m over 40 (well closer to 50 ugh! ) and strangely the older I get the more adventurous I get.

But I do like the little luxuries in life. I can enjoy a day out trekking much more when I know there is a hot shower, glass of good sav blanc and sheets with a high thread count waiting for me at the end.

On my site you’ll find a mix of off the beaten track places to go as well as some different perspectives on places you may know well. You will find ALOT about food and wine and photos in particular.


What Exactly is a Boutique Adventure?

So glad you asked! I was initially inspired by the wonderful tales of the world‘s early luxury travellers. I loved reading about adventurers in the 1930s taking loads of cases and gin and tonic into a desert or on safari – all wearing some fabulous hats.

These travellers were heading into the unknown but with life’s luxuries to keep them comfortable once they finished exploring for the day.

So where can you have adventures these days? I live in London (more of that to come) and I love it. I write about London quite a bit as well as other frequently visited cities.

But I tend to look for the tales that are not so commonly told. I love finding interesting new neighbourhoods when I travel, food tours, food markets, street art – where the locals go for fun.

woman in luxury train carriage

I also love finding the spots in a well-known country where the locals go. I am originally from Melbourne so I like writing about places like the Mornington Peninsula.

This is where people who live in Melbourne go when they want a holiday but don’t want to travel too far. Cornwall in the UK. nova scotia in Canada. These are some of my favourite places to explore and share.

I do love a boutique hotel. I am not so into the classic 5 star hotel. Boutique adventures mean that you know exactly where you are when it comes to where you are staying. What is the point in visiting Fes but staying in a hotel that could be anywhere in the world?

Hotels that have been designed using the best of local talents and ingredients are my absolute favourite. Even better if they are run by the owners.

Once in a destination, I focus on finding great food and wine, unique experiences and taking photos, When I travel I ask the locals – where or what is there to do here that cannot be done anywhere else?

This could be a food or wine experience, it could be meeting a UNESCO listed hat block creator in Caussade France or seeing Taipei at sunset from the top of 101.

I am pleased to say that I have completed my Wine & Spirits Education Trust Level Two and that I am a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.

2022 BGTW member badge
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Quad Biking in Sossusvlei, Namibia

Who is the Luxury Travel Blogger The Boutique Adventurer?

Let’s start with the fact that my name is Amanda O’Brien. I was born in Melbourne, Australia in the early 1970s very close to Ramsay Street from Neighbours.

My first overseas trip was when I was 10 years old to Hong Kong with my mum and grandmother. Most of that trip was spent searching out Hello Kitty items, chicken sandwiches and chocolate milkshakes. I was not so into discovering the local culture at that point.

When I was 11 my family moved to the United States and we lived there for 4 years. My dad was a big traveller. He had gotten on a ship at 18 years of age and left country Victoria to travel on his own through Europe for a year. He was determined that we would travel as much as possible whilst based in the US – and he created life long travellers of myself and my two brothers.

I returned to Australia aged 15 and my next big travel adventure was 4 months backpacking through Europe after studying at Monash University.

At the time I promised myself that if I didn’t complain too much about the youth hostels I would never ever stay in one again. I am proud to say that I have honoured that agreement with myself.

solo travel groups

At the age of 31 my then husband and I moved from Melbourne to London to travel and have adventures. This is where my travelling really went to the next level. We were the classic Australian in London travel cliche – heading to Heathrow every weekend we could to literally go anywhere!

A couple of years in this became rather exhausting and we calmed down but still travelled frequently. Over this time I worked in marketing for organisations including Heinz Foods, Direct Line Group and B&Q.

After my husband and I split up in my late thirties I couldn’t imagine how my travels would continue as I was petrified about travelling alone. However, I don’t like being scared of things so I became determined to figure out how I could travel on my own and enjoy myself.

I have written quite a bit on the blog about how I learnt to do that – and today I am still my own favourite travel companion. I always have such great ideas!

Luxury travel blogging started during an ill-fated year when I decided to try living in Australia again. To cut a rather long story short I realised London was my home and returned.

However, whilst feeling rather miserable and out of sorts, my travel blog began sitting on the couch at my brother and sister in law’s home in sydney with my niece designing my first ever logo – which featured a hat of course,

woman in hat with cano cristales behind

I fell in love with being a luxury travel blogger and decided to put a hold on my career as a marketing director and try marketing consulting combined with travel blogging. And four years later, fingers crossed, it is all turning out rather well.

Half the week I am a marketing consultant for organisations like London University UCL and the other half I travel the world working with tourism boards and travel organisations. I love what I do and am so delighted to have found a second career in my forties. There are quite a few opportunities for this in travel – like becoming a travel agent which has loads of great virtual options.

My world now revolves around digital marketing which I love. The last thing for you to know about me is that I have had a competition going with my brothers for many years involving who has visited the most countries.

There is an elaborate set of criteria for what visiting a country actually means eg minimum time spent, must have at least one meal, must use local currency etc. I am delighted to say that I am the reigning champion even though I am the youngest. (that’s what happens when you stop and have children guys!).

woman from behind in hat with church

Latest count is that I have visited 77 countries and I don’t plan on stopping until I have visited them all. Since I started blogging I have been lucky enough to work with a number of tourism boards and hotel companies.

These have ranged from Visit Nova Scotia to Tarn et Garonne in France to VisitBritain to Latvia Tourism plus many more. My articles have appeared on numerous tourism websites from Discover Halifax to Visit Calistoga California to Visit Nova Scotia to Visit South Devon.

In 2019 I was nominated for Travel Blogger of the Year in the Visit USA UK Media Awards. And The Boutique Adventurer is currently in the top 10 UK Solo Female Travel Blogs.

I have written articles for some of the top travel blogs in the world from A Luxury Travel Blog to the Y Travel Blog to Girl About the Globe to Female Travel Bloggers. I have also written for local websites like Sassy Hong Kong, Medellin Guru and Medellin Living.

My blog has been featured in articles on the BBC website, Parade in the USA, City AM, The Scotland Herald, Flipboard and publications in Greece and Sicily.

I am involved in some of the key travel communities like Travel Massive, Traverse, TBEX and TravMedia.

I would love to hear from you. Please do email me at [email protected] and make comments, ask questions etc etc.

Read my Ebooks

There is nothing like a good book to keep you company when travelling! I keep adding to my list – please email me with more suggestions at [email protected]

I keep them all in my Amazon shop. And I have just launched a range of Ebooks that are aimed at solo travelers.

I have an ebook on solo travel, my trip to Colombia with Unsettled and my trip to Everest Base Camp with Exodus.

Join me on Social Media

More than 115,000 people follow me on Social Media – they can’t all be wrong. Come and share in my adventures on






And of course please sign up for my newsletter. I only send it out once a month and I try to make it a mix of somewhat entertaining and featuring some good deals.

And if you’re a cat lover check out my website The Discerning Cat – For Finnicky Felines and their Discriminating Servants living their best 9 lives. And for dog lovers I have The Dog Snob. And my newest blog is all about interesting facts – check out New Interesting Facts.

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Monday 23rd of January 2023

Hello Amanda,

I love your hats! May I ask where you bought them?

Amanda OBrien

Monday 23rd of January 2023

Thanks Lisa! I usually buy them on my travels so they come from all over the world - sorry not a very helpful answer!

Rob C

Monday 16th of January 2023

Hi. Your "most beautiful cities" story is interesting, and, not surprisingly, quite debatable. Cities? Or towns? You include a number of locations that would not qualify as cities even using the most flexible of definitions. I stopped reading after around 30. San Fran not in top 10? Even at 30, no Prague, no Rio, no Honolulu?


Sunday 4th of December 2022

Reading your story 15 clear lake in US, dear, you have created confusion for travelers, the 5 famous lakes are not known as "The Greatest Lakes", but are are simply named The Great Lakes comprising of Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior, and while the US may have 15 clear lakes, Ontario(the province) has the "Thousand lakes" and many more interesting bodies of water than anywhere on earth. Take Bon Echo Provincial park, which has an upper and lower lake that you could wade a cross the middle between the two and that Scottish stone masons carved into one of the rock faces(I forget what it says... Look it up.) OR maybe Killbear, where on one side Sandy beach you can walk out in the water almost a quarter mile with water up to mid thigh and on the other side massive rock slabs that angle straight down into the water, how deep who knows. My wife when she was alive in her 20's and 30's traveled with me to almost every provincial park, a different one every weekend in the summer and fall. We had been to 4 of the 5 great lakes. I miss doing that. It was such a rush.

Melody Melody

Wednesday 20th of April 2022

The Nevada hot spring community is really upset with your article on those 23 springs and we would like you to take it down. Most information is inaccurate. Many of the photos are the wrong spring, some of them are also on tribal land that don't no tribal members without giving them a $500 fine. Gold strike and Arizona Hot Springs are treacherous hikes. There's no information about how challenging they are that the trail is closed half the year because people die trying to hike that in the heat. Anyway, I'm afraid with all of this misinformation, people could get really hurt, could destroy sacred native land, and another spot, the owner does not want people trespassing on his land. And will fill in the hot spring if it continues to get destroyed and trashed. Please just take it down. Posts like this ruin special places

Amanda OBrien

Friday 22nd of April 2022

Hi Melody. Thanks for sharing your views. I am sorry that the article has upset anyone - that was never my intention. Is there someone in the community who would be willing to work with me to update the article so that it is accurate? I would of course compensate them for their time. kind regards

Wayne Gordon

Thursday 2nd of January 2020

Do you book tours? We are interested in Puglia and Matera. We are a group of five.

The Boutique Adventurer

Friday 3rd of January 2020

Hi Wayne. I'm afraid I don't book tours. I just blog about my travels. Perhaps try a speciality company like Cox and Kings?