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Welcome to the World of Boutique Adventures!

Hi! I’m Amanda, a London based traveller, photographer and wine appreciator. My blog focuses on unique experiences, boutique hotels, spas and wellness and local wine and gastronomy. I love finding out what is unique about a city or town – what can you do here that you can’t do elsewhere? What are the interesting local stories that have given this place its character?

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.

The Boutique Adventurer Statistics

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 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 and I am now a full time digital publisher.

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 80 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.

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.

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 225,000 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 try to make it a mix of somewhat entertaining and 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.

To manage all of my websites, I have set up a company called Beyond the Horizon. The company owns all three websites. Here are the contact details:

Beyond the Horizon

86-90 Paul Street
London, EC2A 4NE
United Kingdom
+44 203 966 0041

And feel free to email us:

General Enquiries

Media Enquiries

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Carrie Doty

Monday 26th of February 2024

I am so glad that I came across your blog this morning. I look forward to reading your blog and EBooks.

Is there any other way to fly on long haul flights except upgraded premium, business or first class (prior to meeting my husband's I travelled economy most of the time as that was what I could afford , until he spoiled me).

I will soon be a widow as my darling husband has end stage kidney failure & other serious health problems and has decided not to go on dialysis). I do not have any children and I am in my early 60’s.

My husband and I have traveled all over our beautiful world together as we loved finding new adventures & I always discovered the most wonderful places to eat I am currently making plans to go to Germany, Denmark and the Czech Republic in the fall to visit some dear family and friends. I am a little nervous about going solo but I will overcome my fears. I have always been an adrenaline junky. We have almost exclusively stayed in Boutique Hotels. I absolutely love them. I am a definite castle and cathedral enthusiast.

You give me the inspiration to just do it! I will be okay traveling alone!

Thank you!

Carrie. Doty

Stacey Wittig

Saturday 28th of October 2023

I love what you say, "today, I am still my own favourite travel companion." I resonate with that spirit of solo travel!


Monday 19th of June 2023

Hi Amanda

I just wanted to say that your "17 Most popular Stops on a Road Trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco" is very informative and interesting. I live in the UK, and I'm shortly going to visit my Son and his Family in Austin, Texas. Whilst there, we plan to do the Pacific Highway over 4 days. Thanks for your time and hard work in preparing the article.


Monday 6th of November 2023

@Amanda OBrien,

Hello Amanda, I am working full time in London. Is there anything I can do to help you with your writing blogs or writing reviews? Please let me know by email.

Amanda OBrien

Monday 19th of June 2023

Thanks so much Jerry! Hope you have a wonderful trip.

Donna Duvin

Monday 12th of June 2023

Hi Amanda,

I love your travels and photos on the web. I recently received the below request as retold to a friend. "I also wanted to share with you that not long after my last email, I heard from a friend I made in Ann Arbor some 10 years ago. Heather served on my Board of Directors, and she had just met the love of her life. I watched their relationship grow from inception to one much deeper before Ed and moved from AA. Years later, Heather and Jeb planned to marry. Just two weeks before the wedding, Jeb contracted and passed away from COVID. Such a tragedy! Recently, Heather shared with me that Jeb always used to give her sunflowers. She wanted to commission me to do a watercolor of sunflowers for her. I was so moved! Of course, I'd only do this as a gift, but I was very touched. While I already know the special watercolor paper I've been saving for the right occasion, I've been looking for just the right image to paint from." Amanda, I wanted to see if you'd give me permission to paint from your wonderful Texas Sunflower Field with the Sun Dropping Behind? Your inspirational photo will make this painting even more special when it's completed.

BTW, I am strictly an amateur artist sharing paintings largely through Facebook with friends/family. I would attribute you for the photo composition if having your permission to paint from this.

Thanks for considering this request!

Best, Donna

Amanda OBrien

Monday 21st of August 2023

Hi Donna - apologies for the delay - this somehow slipped through! I do not own the image to which you are referring. I obtained it through the website Canva for use on my site. Perhaps you can ask them? I am sure they wouldn't mind.


Tuesday 14th of March 2023

Amanda, my travel companion passed away earlier this year, so I find myself with 5 weeks of vacation and what do I do now. How challenging is it traveling solo? It's not something I've done since my early 20's.

Amanda OBrien

Wednesday 15th of March 2023

Sorry to hear that Spencer. Why don't you look at joining an organised tour? Many tour companies have special offers/prices for solo travellers. I recommend Exodus. Good luck!

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