About Formidable Joy (And the Author Behind It)

Hey. I’m Louise. And I’m the face behind Formidable Joy. I’m a self-employed travel blogger/content creator, and when I’m not working/travelling the world, you’ll find me at home with my partner in a little cottage just outside of Milton Keynes.

My hobbies include true crime documentaries, sweary cross stitch and gaming (find me playing games like Don’t Starve, Graveyard Keeper, World of Warcraft and Stardew Valley). I’m also an avid bookworm and I’m always up for a spontaneous adventure, whether it’s hopping in the car and taking a road trip to the Cotswolds or finding spooky things to do nearby.

I fell in love with travel in 2017, when I travelled to Mexico on a group travel tour with TrekAmerica. It was fascinating, eye-opening and pretty daring for my first proper trip alone. I came back with a thirst for travel (and an ankle tattoo) and haven’t looked back since.

From solo travelling in Copenhagen and Berlin to fun day trips around the UK, I love experiencing new things. I’m immensely proud of any solo travel trips I’ve taken too, many of which I found incredibly rewarding.

In recent years, I decided to start sharing my travels on this website. I love sharing inspiration for places to visit in the UK, quirky things to do around Europe and budget travel trips. Because who doesn’t like to save money whilst travelling?!

Alongside Formidable Joy, I also run the niche spooky travel blog, The Morbid Tourist. If you like your adventures on the darker and alternative side, you’ll want to check it out. On The Morbid Tourist, I share guides to fun spooky attractions around the UK and beyond, as well as haunted locations and other scary recommendations.

Louise swimming in the blue-green lake of Champex-Lac. A mountain of trees surrounds the lake.

Since finding my passion for exploring the world, I’ve managed to travel to some pretty awesome places. I’m often taking day trips and city breaks around the UK. As for Europe, I can tick countries like Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Romania, Czech Republic, Iceland, Spain, Austria and the Netherlands off my list. And as for further afield, Mexico, America’s west coast and Egypt have been ticked off too.

As you can tell, I’m just getting started! In the near future, I’d love to take another road trip in America (this time coast to coast!), return to Romania to explore all the country’s stunning castles and I’d also love to return to Iceland in the summer for the midnight sun. And, of course, explore everywhere else I haven’t visited yet!

When it comes to writing about travel, I have a genuine motivation to help and inspire people. I love recommending affordable trips that anyone can go on, even with the ridiculous cost of living right now. Finding quirky and offbeat things to do is a real passion of mine too, so I love recommending those types of places also.

My value comes from real experiences too. I’d never recommend somewhere on this blog that I’ve not visited or enjoyed myself. I’ll always share my honest opinion if I’m on a press trip. I’m always vocal about the downsides of travel too, like that time I got lost in Berlin and cried at an empty train station for an hour. Or the fact that I’m actually a bit of an introvert really and would rather go back to my room and read and book after a long day of travelling, rather than make friends with random people in the hostel and go party.

Louise posing at Duomo di Milano in Milan, Italy. She is wearing a mustard yellow dress with white polka dots, and the grey stone of the stunning arches surround her.

I’ve been blogging ever since I graduated from university in 2011. That’s a long time! I actually have a degree in Magazine Journalism (fat load of good that has done me now!). Luckily, with over ten years of blogging experience under my belt, I’ve picked up lots of great digital marketing skills, including SEO, social media and copywriting.

Between graduating and now, I’ve mostly worked in publishing, marketing and, unfortunately, retail roles. I really recommend everyone spends at least six months of their life working in retail. It gives you such a thick skin.

I spent the best part of ten years freelancing on the side. I’d offer things like social media support and data admin help on websites like People Per Hour and the like. By the time Covid-19 happened, quite frankly I was fed up with working for other people. I hated having to request time off for my travels and working 9-5 five days a week. Life is way too short for that shit.

So in January 2023, I took the (very) scary plunge of leaving my job and registering as self-employed!

Not only does being self-employed help me gain a fantastic work-life balance (being able to do a food shop in ALDI in the middle of the day when it’s quiet is an absolute game-changer!), but it means I get to spend more time on my blog too. It means I can attend amazing networking events for travel bloggers and content creators and go on more trips than I thought possible.

As I explained earlier, I have been blogging since 2011. Back then, I launched my blog under the name Inspire Magazine. It was just when blogging was taking off and I thought launching a blog would be a great way to get feedback on the ideas I had for my dissertation in my last year of university. My dissertation was to put together a magazine and I settled on the name Inspire Magazine, because I wanted to inspire people with my writing!

In the early days, the blog was filled with the most random topics and posts (many of which I’m still clearing up!). I’d blog about anything from Barry M competitions, to the time I gave up wearing jeans for lent (and shared an outfit photograph every single day). Eventually, I moved towards more lifestyle content and the odd travel post. I never really took travel blogging seriously at first, not until I attended my first-ever travel conference (Traverse in Brno). The entire event was amazing and eye-opening. I made so many amazing friends that week and it led to lots of great opportunities too. This was around about the time I was trying to find the confidence to leave my job and go self-employed. It definitely helped push me in that direction. Attending Traverse also made me realise that if I started taking my blog a bit more seriously and putting more work in, maybe one day I could blog and travel full time too!

Oh, along the way my blog got a name change too and turned into Formidable Joy. The name was a great idea by my sister (and is a play on my second name). I absolutely love it.

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a medal! Head on over to my blog page to learn how we can work together get stuck in with some travel posts.