About Flora

Hi, I’m Flora.

I like to think of myself as a writer, a poet, a volunteer and above all, a traveller.

I started this site back in 2012 when I spent six months travelling through Asia. Back then, it was a way to keep my family and friends involved in my travels, but soon I realised I was devoted to writing stories about my travels that a wider audience might enjoy.

Luckily, they did, and so Flora the Explorer was born: my alter ego who’s apparently happy to undertake the risks and challenges I’d often shy away from in normal life.

As this site has grown over the years, it’s developed into something of a community – both here, and on social media. I post regular micro-stories on my Facebook page and on Instagram, which is a wonderful opportunity to explain where my adventures have taken me in real time.

For more background, here’s a brief rundown of my travels since beginning this site.

In 2012,  I spent six months exploring Nepal, India and Thailand, where I busied myself with looking after orphans, working with Bollywood singing sensations, learning how to make compost toilets, and impulsively cutting off all my hair in an Indian hostel bathroom. After another six months travelling around Europe I headed for South America in 2013, where my travelling style changed and developed.

I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t return to the UK until I’d become fluent in Spanish. A somewhat tricky task, as I didn’t speak a word of the language before arriving. But I soldiered on: becoming an English teacher in Ecuador, a beach bum in Peru, a builder in Brazil, an artificial limb maker in Bolivia, and a journalist in Colombia – amongst other bizarre and wonderful adventures.

I returned to London in the summer of 2014 to study for my Masters degree in non-fiction writing (which I’m still currently doing, as of late 2015). But I travel as much as I can in the meantime – both physically and through my writing.

So what can you expect from Flora the Explorer?

You won’t find any how-to guides, accommodation reviews, or listicles round here. It’s not that I don’t enjoy this type of writing, but I’m not passionate about producing it.

What you will see is a wide array of stories about the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met – hopefully with a healthy dose of humour and embarrassment from time to time.

Like accidentally watching my Colombian neighbour having a threesome. Yep.

You’ll also find a number of personal narratives about the issues I face when travelling. From a lack of self-confidence, fears of heights and falling and struggles with language, to getting sick on the road, saying goodbye and even falling in love: they’re all hot topics for a solo traveller and there are no holds barred when it comes to writing about my feelings.

Hope you’re ready for that.

A final word…

I’m still amazed and humbled by having a platform where people come together to share their love of travelling and writing. It means the world to me that you’ve decided to have a read of my explorations. Hopefully I’ll do them – and you – justice.

Welcome to Flora the Explorer.

Looking out across the view from Ceahlău Massif

51 Responses to About Flora

  1. racmccaf April 30, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    Hi Flora, my name is Rachel and I’m setting up a volunteer placement in Nepal through ELI. I am wondering if you would be willing to send me some notes on your experience there? I would love to hear from someone who as actually lived in the volunteer house/worked over there. Thank you so much!

    • florabaker April 30, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

      Hi Rachel! I’d love to send you some info. What project are you thinking of doing? I was working in an orphanage and at a school (both in Kathmandu and walking distance from the ELI house) so if you’re interested in those areas I can certainly help you out 🙂

  2. justchuckinit May 9, 2012 at 5:21 am #

    Awesome goals, happy you are traveling! India sounds spectacular, cannot wait to visit someday! P.s. do you have a Twitter? Would love to follow ya!

    • florabaker May 9, 2012 at 6:14 am #

      Thanks Ryan! Yep my handle is @florabaker, I’m not great at WordPress so haven’t made the link obvious on here yet, but I’m working on it! If you ever need any tips for India I’m more than happy to oblige – and I’m storing up your NZ knowledge for future use..

  3. sunny May 17, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    kinda gettin addicted to your blog.. Nice writings must say.,. If u ever travel to ludhiana(75 kms from chandigarh) do let me know. Have u thought of visiting andamans? Give it a shot you would be surprised(pleasently).

    • florabaker May 17, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

      Aw thanks Sunny! I’ve actually already been to Ludhiana for a press conference, but I may go again! I had thought about the Andamans actually. Have you visited? What did you enjoy about them?

  4. Colleen Setchell May 18, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    Hi Flora
    Sounds like you’re having a great adventure. I’m currently in US, just come from Toronto and will head back to England via Iceland. Then it’s Thailand from August and then, well, who knows… Lovely to meet you, take care on your travels…

    • florabaker May 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

      Hi Colleen, sounds like you’re on a pretty epic trip too! And Iceland – what a wonderful country, I can truly recommend it. I’ll be heading there for the Airwaves festival in October and can’t wait to be back, despite the cold. When will you be there?

  5. Colleen Setchell May 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

    I’ll be there for just 3 days middle of July. I’m really excited. Can’t wait to get some photos… 🙂

    • florabaker June 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

      Definitely take a large and empty memory card, you’ll need it! And I’d suggest hiring a car so you can see a wide range of the beautiful scenery Iceland has to offer. Fingers crossed that you see a glimpse of the Northern Lights, too..

  6. sunnywheeze May 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    well i.ve been to andamans actually twice,. Its better than goa and thailand cos i.ve been to all these three places . Its not ur average hustle bustle tourist destination its a quite and sleepy place with awesome (read breathtaking ) beaches and some pretty good scuba and snorkelling spots and their.s no poverty there (can u believe it no beggars on street) do give it a shot . Feel free to contact when in ludhiana.., any time happy to help a traveller .,.,.and one more thing you look better in long hair., ciao,

    • florabaker June 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

      Thanks for the suggestions Sunny – but I’ve already booked flights in/out of Thailand, so the Andamans will have to wait until my next trip to Asia. But I’ll be sure to keep it on the list!

  7. Nick Sen May 24, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    Hi Flora, Ive only just discovered your blog, and Ive enjoyed reading it on a rather dull day at work. I’m both impressed and massively jealous! Its certainly a world away from working CreativEvents (I’m fairly sure that’s where I met you). Anyway, take care and enjoy! Who knows, our paths may cross again someday!

    • florabaker May 28, 2012 at 6:13 am #

      Nick! Thanks so much for reading, and for getting in touch 🙂 India is definitely a step up from Creativ… and I’m very glad of that. Knowing the way things work, I’m sure we’ll probably run into each other in a far-off hostel somewhere soon!

  8. kt h March 24, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    Very cool! Are you fluent in Spanish yet?

    • Flora March 28, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      Thanks! It’s a work in progress but I’m striving towards that fluency goal 🙂

  9. Oliver May 1, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Hey! Been following your blog a fair bit recently. I’m actually from Norwich. Hoping to head to San Francisco or NYC soon after uni in Nottingham 🙂

    • Flora May 22, 2013 at 2:44 am #

      Hi Oliver, thanks for reading along! I can definitely support your decision to go to SF 🙂 let me know if you need any tips!

  10. Colleen May 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Always happy to find another solo female traveler. Way to go! Glad to read along on your adventures.

    • Flora June 6, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      Thanks Colleen, hope you enjoy more of my writings!

  11. Julia September 12, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    Hey! I was googling for information about volunteering at Iceland Airwaves festival when I found your post, and it really answered many of my questions. But I’m still kind of concerned, as I’m 18, Finnish, and it would be my first time traveling alone…
    I just feel like it’s something I need to do. I haven’t been to a proper school in a year (had a gap year) and I just got told that the line of study I was about to attend this year had been cancelled due to lack of people. So I thought, maybe this is the time for me to get out of this country, because it’s been my dream for so long. Everything seems so little and meaningless here. I need something that would open my eyes and give me inspiration and courage to do stuff, anything. Although it’s just for a week or so, I know it would change things. I want to travel the world and live in other countries, I need to see all the things so I can believe they actually exist. I refuse to even think of living in Finland my whole life!
    I guess the reason I’m writing this is I need some encouragement. It would be a huge deal, and I’m scared. See, I’m a bit introverted and shy. I’ve improved since last year (alcohol seems to help a lot, haha) but dealing with total strangers still makes me nervous. This is one of my biggest dreams, and I know how to achieve it, but I think I need some advice.

    • Flora September 12, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

      Hi Julia, I’m so glad you found my site and thought to ask me for advice on this situation! I’m writing you a proper reply via email right now 🙂

      • Guda October 15, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

        Hi Flora pls i have bin volunteer all Time in my live i have Ben to italy Germany .malta now i n just volunteer at Homeland in kenya i m free next Year from 03/02/2014 to end April i have to go back to School i Want to volunteer in lithuania this Time how can i get a Project i have Ben lucking for Project bat i dot get if is to Pay i will Pay pls help me my Email is pilipili11@yahoo.com

  12. Robyn November 20, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Hey Flora,
    Glad to see you made it to Sucre! Hope you enjoy your time there.
    Best,
    Robyn

    • Flora December 19, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

      Thanks Robyn! I’ve left Sucre now but I had a wonderful month of pseudo-living there 🙂

  13. George December 29, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    From someone who is wanderlust………………you rock.

    • Flora January 1, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

      Haha cheers George!

  14. aya March 26, 2014 at 3:45 am #

    Hey, awesome blog! i just wandered what underwater camera you use? im off to south america in amonth! x

    • Flora March 27, 2014 at 4:03 am #

      Hi Aya, I don’t actually own an underwater camera so I’m afraid I can’t help you out! Good luck with finding a suitable one though – and if you have any questions about South America don’t hesitate to get in touch.

  15. Jasmine April 3, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    Just to say I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog this evening and it’s been very inspiring – I’m also from London and have travelled a fair bit (and recognise quite a few of your experiences) but not all in one go as you have. Setting off for 12 months is definitely next on the travel plan after I graduate and if I could document it half as well and as insightfully as you have I would be very proud! Particularly liked your posts on travelling solo in India (v useful advice), volunteering with children (I was going to write a blogpost about that but I think you’ve said everything I would have but better) and ayahuasca (kept hearing about it when I was in South America but was never entirely sure what it involved exactly!!). best of luck with everything!

    • Flora April 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

      Thanks so much Jasmine – I’m glad you were able to find some inspiration here! Good luck with your next travels. I’m sure they’ll be amazing 🙂

  16. Ivy April 23, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    Hi Flora,

    Can I just say how refreshing it is to come across your blog – really great stuff! I love seeing and talking to people who live to travel, and it seems you are definitely experiencing the world. I’m planning a trip to Colombia and Ecuador (and of course the Galapagos!) in the summer, I see that you’re currently living in Colombia and I’ve already seen your blog post on the Galapagos — I was wondering if you could give me some tips or recommendations on either or both places? I always travel on a shoe string, but from what I’ve seen so far, the Galapagos seems like it’s going to break the bank! Anyway, any help from a fellow world traveler would be much appreciated. Thank you!

    • Flora April 25, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

      Thanks so much for your comment Ivy! I’m so glad I can be some kind of inspiration 🙂 If you want to send me an email (just click on the ‘Contact’ page) I’ll give you a bit more of a hand with your Galapagos planning 🙂

  17. Angie April 28, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    Flora!
    Your blog is incredible! I’ve been on it for hours my boss is not particularly impressed.. I’ve trekked through Papua New Guinea and have just bought a one way ticket to Sth America from Australia.. I start in Panama and sail down to Columbia with no real plans from there.. I’m looking to volunteer as much as possible I don’t have a huge budget though.. Any tips?

    • Flora April 30, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

      Hah that’s great to hear Angie! Well it depends what you’re looking to do really, but I can definitely suggest a few places to volunteer – particularly in Colombia. Have you checked out Angeles de Medellin? I wrote an article about my experiences there if you want to have a look. Otherwise just send me an email and we can chat about it in more detail 🙂

  18. Rohan Limbu May 20, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

    I have not Yet Traveled Any where though but going through your blogs really inspired me. I can only imagine how great would be to live and see the world around. I am 21 From Nepal and you know we do not stand chance of making lot of money here in Nepal and travel like you do but it seems i have to find a way out and start travelling .

    I know we have some great places here in Nepal as well so i will start from here it self. I do not know if it was you or your writing that inspired me. Just to let you know i have followed you in Facebook and Twitter as well .

    • Flora June 2, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

      Starting to travel in Nepal is a wonderful idea! I didn’t see nearly enough of the country when I visited – I shall have to go back and explore further 🙂 Thanks for the follows too!

  19. Danielle August 29, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Hi Flora! What a great blog, thank you for all the wonderful posts! My husband and I are currently on a 13 month ‘Around the World’ trip and are spending the Fall in Europe. Come mid-November we would like to head to South America and will stay until the end of January. After so many months of travel we are looking to stick to just a couple stops and spend the remainder of our trip volunteering. We are thinking about either Chile, Peru or Bolivia and would love any advice you have to offer. How did you go about finding your placements and deciding on your locations? We are hoping to find either one assignment for 2 months, leaving us with 1 month to travel, or two 1-month assignments. Again, any direction or advice would be amazing!

    • Flora September 26, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

      Hi Danielle, I’d recommend looking at Volunteer Latin America which have a lot of wonderful projects on offer – I got a few of mine through there. In terms of deciding where to go I actually focused on the projects I liked, and then planned my route that way.

      Hope you guys have a wonderful time volunteering!

  20. JM February 19, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

    Hi flora were you born in London?

  21. Anna March 5, 2015 at 6:06 am #

    Hello,

    Hope you doing great!

    I am Anna from Sydney, I work with “OZ Whale Watching”, We are Sydney’s premier whale cruise agency offering daily trip around Sydney’s coast to see whales migrating.

    I visited your blog and was wondering if you would allow me to contribute a post on it . I would really appreciate if you would give me an opportunity to share the article with your readers.

    The content is unique and fresh. I am pretty sure your readers would love reading this article. Please let me know if you are interested in this piece 🙂 I’ll send over an outline with title.

    Looking forward to hear from you soon!

    Thank you!

  22. Anna March 17, 2015 at 4:43 am #

    Hi,

    Just wanted to confirm whether you have got my email?

    I know you might be having a super busy schedule, I was looking to see if you would be interested in allowing me to contribute a guest post on your blog?

    Looking forward for your response.

    Regards,
    Anna

    • Flora July 29, 2015 at 9:35 pm #

      Hi Anna, sorry I haven’t got back to you about this! However, if you look at my ‘Press & Media’ page you’ll see that I don’t publish guest posts on the site. Best of luck with finding other sites that will 🙂

  23. jessicaayn August 6, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    Hi Flora!

    My name is Jess and I’m a travel podcast producer and host based in NYC with a company called BreakThru Radio. I’d love to feature you on an upcoming episode to chat about your awesome adventures!

    If you’d be willing to chat, please send me a reply to Jessicaayn [at] gmail [dot] com along with some idea of availability over the next week or so!

    Cheers and thanks so much for your consideration!

    Warmly,

    Jess Goulart

  24. vellissima November 12, 2015 at 10:04 am #

    Hi Flora, I just posted your website on my retirement blog, birdwithwings.com. I’m looking for places to do some volunteering while I research places to settle down. Your blog is really helpful. I’d love to hear more about Columbia. I’ve been hearing about how safe and wonderful it is, but that isn’t the impression I get from you.
    Thanks for the great blog, and congrats on all the volunteer work.

    • Flora November 20, 2015 at 10:38 am #

      Hi Vellissima, thanks for posting about my site on yours! I’m a little confused about how you’ve thought that I don’t love Colombia though?! Feel free to send me an email via the contact page & we can have a chat about volunteering 🙂

  25. Stephanie July 2, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    Hi Flora,

    I would like to spend a year traveling the globe, but I don’t know how to finance this sort of thing. I think about saving up a bunch of funds and then heading out, but after a few months, I imagine that stash could dwindle and eventually run out. Could you give me some tips on how to generate income when you’re a foreign traveler flying solo? With all these amazing places you’ve been to for an extended amount of time, you seem like a good person to ask. Thanks!

  26. Sensible Teen July 15, 2017 at 7:25 pm #

    Hey! You have an amazing blog. I have nominated you for the BLUE SKY TAG! Kindly have a look 🙂 PS I wish I had a life like yours.

  27. TRINA July 19, 2017 at 7:01 pm #

    Flora, Awesome blog 🙂 I enjoy how creative you are.

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