Who Are You Online? – My Travel Writing Reality

Who Are You Online? – My Travel Writing Reality

“Is Flora your real name?”

I peered at the terse email on my computer screen, where an unknown reader named Brian was asking a rather strange question of me.

“I’ve heard that it’s not your name – so for the sake of a blogging presentation I’m giving next week, could you please tell me?”

My first reaction was to laugh outright. Whoever would christen their blog ‘Flora the Explorer’ if their name was actually Charlotte or Poppy or Gertrude?! But aside from his blunt attitude, Brian did actually have a point.

If he had reason to doubt my real name, what else was debatable? What is the reality of this double life lived both online and off?

Who am I online?

Who Are You Online? – My Travel Writing Reality

Writing about your life on the internet means it’s sometimes hard to see a line. When I first started this site I had no clue it was even possible for people I hadn’t met to read about me – but nowadays I can’t really help being personal in my writing, knowing full well that it invites strangers to draw their own conclusions.

Yet it still feels like something’s not quite authentic. In trying to put my finger on it, I wanted to investigate what kind of person I think I come across as.

I’m definitely a traveller. 

The last two months have been extensively travel-filled, and I’ve barely stopped moving.

I hitched a ride in a tour van through Europe with a Chilean band; explored Menorca alongside dozens of bloggers, vloggers and social media ‘influencers’; headed into the Scottish highlands for a music festival and some offline life beside the lochs; and somehow found myself traversing the length of Queensland, Australia for nearly a fortnight.

Who Are You Online? – My Travel Writing Reality

Yet I’ve spent a lot of the last few months staring out of windows.

Yet before May began I hadn’t left the country in 2017 – and if I’m honest, I hadn’t really wanted to.

I’m also a writer.

As ever, I try to write about these experiences with carefully thought-out language, colourfully suitable photos and an overall sense of narrative and purpose. I edit and proof-read and edit again, taking the time to decide exactly how I want to tell these stories.

But precisely because of that delay in the retelling, something gets lost along the way. The reality of these trips goes a little differently.

I’m often a disorganised mess.

At 6am I wake to a mess of a bedroom. There’s a half-opened suitcase on the floor, spilling over with clothes and shoes still to be packed. Our adopted cat is meowing plaintively from the garden outside because I haven’t fed her yet.

I’ve woken up multiple times already, of course: the night preceding any kind of travel usually makes my subconscious go into anxious overdrive. How many alarms have I set to snooze in my half-slumbering state? Am I going to miss my flight/train/bus?

Spoiler: in almost thirty years I don’t think I ever have. But I panic nevertheless.

Who Are You Online? – My Travel Writing Reality

An accidental nap in Rajasthan, India

Over years of travel I’ve established a routine amongst the mess – but now that travelling has actually become part of my profession, it’s harder to make space for the writing I want to produce.

As a result I have to admit that recently I’ve become a bit burnt-out with blogging. Well, that’s not true exactly. It’s not the writing of blog posts which tires me.

It’s social media.

I market the version of myself which social media wants.

Maintaining a travel blog means covering all your bases in real-time on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a myriad of other places too. The bigger your audience grows, the more demanding and more pressurised these channels become.

It’s not just posting pretty photos and interesting captions: you have to consider how this information will be absorbed, and decide how best to commandeer more readers, fans and followers.

I’m absolutely not complaining about this. I’m so absurdly grateful that tourism boards and companies appreciate my writing enough that they want me to tell stories about their destinations. And I’m more than happy to market myself as some kind of brand – even if it feels a little bizarre.

It’s just that more often than not, I feel like the expectations of social media don’t align with the way I want to communicate. I cringe when I have to ask someone to take my photo as I pose – but those are the images which do best on Instagram. I can feel my stories bubbling over into the generic, because round-up articles and top ten lists get more traffic and SEO and all the other bits and pieces for online success.

Trying to mix it all together amongst an ever-changing reality

My parents both worked in the theatre, so I’ve grown up with an acute awareness of what it means to don a costume, or slip into a new character. Essentially, I know how to disguise particular parts of myself.

I’ve talked about the concept of an alter-ego in blogging before, and that alter-ego can take multiple different forms. In travel I often feel like a chameleon: because depending where I’m travelling to, my own version of reality changes.

For instance, throughout my journeys in Menorca and Scotland and Australia I could see myself in abruptly different bubbles of life. As the kinds of people around me changed, I duly altered how I behaved too.

Being one of sixty ‘social media influencers’ in Menorca

For a week, I explored the Spanish island of Menorca with a group of YouTubers and Instagrammers, fashion bloggers and travel writers, Pinterest queens and drone experts, comedians and dancers. One woman has her own lipstick range; another wrote a book on the history of sex; a third has cornered the Instagram market in paper cutouts.

Everyone was at the top of their game, and I had to step up accordingly.

Who Are You Online? – My Travel Writing Reality

Moreover, everyone was part of an environment I’ve spent the last seven years learning and understanding. Conversations revolved around Instagram, Facebook and social media tactics, and most of our explorations were documented via drones and expensive camera gear. I was active, sociable, always networking, and always online.

Being an offline hippy in Scotland

A day later I was at a music festival in Scotland, where I had no wifi and barely touched my camera. Surrounded by people who wash in rivers, live in vans and favour camping and hiking over makeup tutorials and website traffic statistics, I changed my behaviour completely.

I was the quiet one, the observer, taking in everything that was happening instead of being loud, chatty and ‘on’. I stopped posting on social media, and immediately felt like I was suffering internet withdrawal.

Who Are You Online? – My Travel Writing Reality

Being a professional blogger in Australia

When I set out for a press trip to Australia a few days later, I threw myself into full-on work mode.

It was my job to be exploring Queensland alongside other bloggers, and I was constantly primed to be professional: taking notes, making recordings, diligently posting to every one of my social media channels and pushing my boundaries constantly so I’d have good content to utilise afterwards.

Who Are You Online? – My Travel Writing Reality

Wielding too many devices for a butterfly house!

Being myself in East London

And then I came back to London, to a quiet flat and the glass-topped desk which I can see straight through to the floor. Suddenly my days were quiet: an open balcony door, the birds chirping outside, and so much space and time to write and to think.

Who Are You Online? – My Travel Writing Reality

I sometimes feel like we collect different versions of ourselves – and in an effort to fit amongst a particular crowd we pull one of those selves from the pack, like a magician mid-card trick.

So what links these selves together? What’s the linchpin – the backbone – of who we are?

Writing is my backbone

It’s easiest to recognise that link during the in-between moments. When there’s nothing expected from you, how do you regain your energy again?

I find myself taking space from the journeys. I tap out keyboard strokes on trains, glancing apologetically at the woman opposite who thinks I’m encroaching on her table space. I scribble jolted words in a little notebook while crammed inside a van amongst guitar cases and slumbering musicians. I scroll through Evernote on my phone at 30,000 feet while the plane’s cabin lights dim. My eyes ache, and I really should be sleeping.

And more often than not, I repeat phrases silently in my head, waiting for the moment when I can eventually record them somewhere.

Because as ever, writing is my safe space. It’s where I come to decompress, to re-evaluate, and to re-energise. Writing is the way I connect my experiences together, be they travel related or purely personal or somewhere in between.

Why do we live out our lives online? 

I guess the point I’m struggling to make is the importance of questioning why we do what we do.

Why do I write this blog? What is my reasoning for publishing my words online? I don’t think I’m actively trying to ‘influence’ anyone. That’s not the point for me. The reason I do it is because travel and writing, hand in hand, make me inordinately happy. 

It’s about the world: a seemingly unquenchable thirst to explore every nook and cranny of it, to hunt out the fascinating details which someone else might not have seen, and to

It’s about people: the ones who fascinate me enough to write about, and the ones whose reactions inspire me to keep writing.

It’s about telling stories: re-constructing a world on paper, and giving shape to the way I interpret that space.

Who Are You Online? – My Travel Writing Reality

In Menorca I had a conversation with fellow ‘online influencers’ (a term I’d never give myself, by the way!) about this topic: about the challenges of representing our real selves in an increasingly commercial online world.

Our collective conclusion was that we all do this because we have passion. We have a constant need to push our creative boundaries – and simply to create in general – but I still maintain that conveying what’s real is still a crucial part of that.

Authenticity is probably the most valued part of publishing your life online, so although I don’t think I have to justify my online identity (and particularly not to Brian!), perhaps my aim now is to be more honest in the content I produce, regardless of what platform it appears on.

And perhaps to produce it quicker, before the impetus disappears.

Have you ever doubted your online self, or wondered who you appear to be in this internet world? Does it matter to you? 

Who Are You Online? - My Travel Writing Reality

NB: This article is part of a new series called ‘Behind The Blog’ — where I delve into all the bizarre elements of living out your life online. Keep an eye out for further articles on this topic!

About Flora

Flora Baker is the founder and editor of Flora the Explorer, where she writes about her travels around the world, her volunteering exploits and her ongoing attempt to become fluent in Spanish by talking to anyone who'll listen. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

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108 Responses to Who Are You Online? – My Travel Writing Reality

  1. Elizabeth July 6, 2017 at 10:00 am #

    Flora, thank you for so eloquently explaining how I feel sometimes.
    I think when you have done this for so long it’s easy to lose track of the ‘why’. I know I’ve got so distracted with the business side and social media element of blogging I start to wander what the point of it all is.
    And for me, it’s about creating and connecting.

    • Flora July 9, 2017 at 11:17 am #

      Thanks so much lovely! It’s great to hear you sometimes feel the same. Making connections through writing online is undoubtedly my favourite part of the whole process – I just need to make sure not to lose sight of that 🙂

      • commentsearch August 7, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

        Agree — lovely post + an absolutely STUNNING photo to top it off! 😀

        IMO language is a very basic technology (i.e., it’s something — a neato idea — humans “came up with”). Moreover, each word describes relationships in the world… words and experiences are very closely linked. We cannot call any word “ours” — words only exist as “social objects” (though I wouldn’t want to get too philosophical about it; let’s just say [for example:] I can’t *SAY* “dog” and at the same time *MEAN* “cat”).

        There’s a really neato essay by a guy name Sean Werkema that I was reminded of in the latter half of this post (as you were talking about this stuff called “social media” — something which no one seems able to define, but that doesn’t actually prevent many from talking about it): http://www.werkema.com/2013/08/08/why-im-not-a-leader-and-why-you-shouldnt-be-either

        • Flora August 11, 2017 at 9:14 pm #

          Aww thanks so much for your kind words – and for the essay recommendation! I’ll have to check it out 🙂

  2. frederick hayward July 6, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

    Dear Flora Thank you for your latest blog and the lovely photos Lovely you.Butterfly and Cat.A very interesting article I often dream in colour sometimes I dream of people I have never met.I often wonder what is going on.. Good Wishes Frederick

    • Flora July 9, 2017 at 11:26 am #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Frederick!

  3. mikeachim July 6, 2017 at 8:11 pm #

    Lovely, thoughtful stuff, as always.

    For me, it always comes back to the writing, or more specifically getting lost in telling the right kind of stories. There was a fun thing shared on Twitter a while back:

    Day 1 of not writing: my writing is sh*t.
    Day 2 of not writing: I am sh*t.
    Day 3 of not writing: everything is sh*t.

    Kinda hit home for me. When I don’t write, really really *write*, the self-doubt rushes in.

    This online-career stuff is weird and hard. It’s hard to identify yourself, let alone be yourself, when you’re forced to wear so many hats. (The blogger-influencer hat definitely doesn’t fit me. Maybe my head is too big.) And “authenticity” has now become a marketing buzzword, following “storytelling” and “live like a local” and other stuff. So it’s possible to see something yelling “BE YOURSELF” that’s pretty much pressuring you to conform to something that you have to pay for. That stuff we can all do without.

    Controversial suggestion:

    We are not our online personas. When we try to be, we can go crazy.

    In fact, we are our work.

    *That’s* what speaks for us.

    Any time we lose our sense of identity, we tend to think:

    “Am I being the real me? What is my online presence saying about me? What is it saying about what I really believe in? What am I trying to do in the world? What am I FOR?”

    All those things are too big and too impossible to grapple with. But maybe a better way is to say:

    “Is my work speaking for me? What is it saying about me? What is it saying about what I really believe in? What’s it trying to do in the world? What’s it FOR?”

    I could do something with that.

    • Flora July 11, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

      I love it when my articles provoke a controversial Mikeachim comment 🙂

  4. Marisa July 7, 2017 at 8:06 am #

    Thank you so much for posting this. For me, there is a huge element of integrity in “authenticity.” I struggle with presenting a side of myself that doesn’t feel true. Like everything, there are pros and cons that we have to accept if we want whatever the thing is.

    As you mention, one of the reasons I like traveling is the transformation that it forces on me. I’d prefer to think of it as highlighting certain parts of ourselves rather than disguising them.

    • Flora July 11, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

      I totally agree with the integrity which comes with being authentic, Marisa. It’s probably the biggest thing I’ve struggled with throughout my time blogging – but ultimately I’m proud of how I present myself!

      I rather like the idea of thinking we ‘highlight’ some parts instead of ‘disguise’ others though – I’ll endeavour to bear that in mind more often now 🙂

  5. Victoria July 8, 2017 at 1:24 pm #

    Oh wow I loved this. Your words mirror exactly what I’ve been thinking and why I had so much anxiety with initially starting my blog: am I protraying an honest version of myself? If someone met me in person, would I meet the expectations that I set for myself? But then again you’re right; we’re all full of different types of “people” that can change with where we are and what we’re doing.

    Loving this behind the blog series, already looking forward to the next one!

    • Flora July 11, 2017 at 11:58 am #

      It’s great to hear you can empathise with this, Victoria! We put so much of ourselves online that it’d be hard to always live up to that version in real life 🙂

      I’m excited to write more articles like this too!

  6. Rachel July 10, 2017 at 6:27 pm #

    Interesting and thought provoking blog post – Flora is a lovely name by the way! I am new to the blogging world – I thought it would be a good way to store my memories and encourage me to get out and explore more. It appears to be working so far and I’m enjoying reading travel blogs for inspiration, including yours 🙂

    • Flora July 11, 2017 at 11:55 am #

      I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying my site, Rachel! Blogging is undoubtedly a fantastic way to put your travels into some kind of framework & to record them. Over the last six years I’ve found the way I travel changing because of blogging – for many kinds of reasons – hence needing to step back for a moment and see the bigger picture.

      All the best for your blogging and travelling adventures – and thanks so much for the name compliments, too :p

  7. Hempsoft July 10, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    Great blog its very informative thanks for sharing.

  8. Caroline Eubanks July 11, 2017 at 10:59 pm #

    As someone who knows you on and offline, I think you’re one of the most authentic bloggers. Keep up the great work. I want to talk books with you soon. And also yes to all Mike says always.


    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 11:13 am #

      Mike will be very happy to hear that! And yes — book conversations ever so soon my love! (And thanks for your unwavering support 🙂 It means a lot!)

  9. Christine Maguire (@thetraveloguer) July 13, 2017 at 8:31 pm #

    Thanks for writing this Flora, I can really relate!

    Sometimes the whole social media side of blogging makes me feel really weird. I absolutely cringe at the thought of posing for pictures, but I now know that when I do post a picture with me in it, it does get more engagement.

    I started my blog because I love writing longform stories about travel experiences, but I also know the SEO-friendly posts are the ones people seek out. I think being an introvert and a blogger doesn’t always go hand in hand, and sometimes I wonder what I’m actually doing! But, at the end of the day, reading blogs that are more about the narrative, like yours, make me feel better about what I’m doing!

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 11:43 am #

      This has been such a struggle for me too, Christine! As a blogger you obviously want to gain more readers, but if your style of writing fundamentally opposes the SEO friendly ‘how-to’ guides, it can get a bit exhausting. I think what’s helped me is knowing that my primary focus is to be known as a writer above all else — so if I’m missing out on some readers looking for factual travel help, so be it. You need to be passionate about what you’re writing, after all 🙂 I’m heading over to check out your stories now!

  10. wells baum aka bombtune July 13, 2017 at 8:35 pm #

    Online is the curated self, even Snaps and IG Live are planned. All the internet’s a stage. https://wellsbaum.blog/2017/06/12/all-the-internets-a-stage/

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 11:44 am #

      ..and all the people on it merely players!

  11. noonespecial July 13, 2017 at 8:35 pm #

    Eine Frau hat ihre eigene Lippenstift-Reihe; Ein anderer schrieb ein Buch über die Geschichte des Geschlechts; Ein dritter hat den Instagram-Markt in Papierausschnitten eingelassen.Thanks for the interesting article and the insight behind the scenes of a blogger, respectively the identity of a blogger. That was all very interesting. It also impressed me, that your travels are so sociable. “One woman has her own lipstick series, another wrote a book about the history of gender, a third has admitted the Instagram market in paper excerpts.” That sounds wonderfully colorful!

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 12:07 pm #

      It was definitely a very colourful trip! Glad you enjoyed the article 🙂

  12. Laura July 13, 2017 at 9:26 pm #

    So refreshingly honest. I think bloggers (and other people who have online presences) who continually contemplate the questions you raise produce the most meaningful and authentic work. Otherwise it can be too easy to get caught up in some of the more superficial aspects.

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

      I’m so glad you think so, Laura! It does feel increasingly important to be aware of your authenticity online now — and I think the superficiality of it all could well have a finite shelf life!

  13. myhuesoflife July 14, 2017 at 1:39 am #

    Loved reading this…Waiting for more to come👍

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

      Thanks so much! The next article in this ‘Behind the Blog’ series should be continuing next week, so keep your eyes peeled 🙂

  14. miriamcarmignan July 14, 2017 at 1:49 am #

    Olá Laura! Visitei sua página. Bem interessante. Escrevo muito sobre minhas vivências, imagino o quanto deve ser relevante conhecer tantas diversidades. Parabéns. Abraço.miriancarmignan.wordpress.com

  15. Cheynoea July 14, 2017 at 1:56 am #

    very well written.

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

      Thanks so much!

  16. let4everbe July 14, 2017 at 5:15 am #

    Wow! I’m glad I saw this post! 😍 I actually just started blogging a month ago and feel as if I’m more comfortable with sharing my thoughts with my blog readers than my classmates, friends, and family – because there no solid judgement. I also posted a blog about why I don’t share my name if you want to read it. But overall, I think wherever or whomever you’re most comfortable at or with at that time is who you are – online self included. So even an online self may have different “faces”. Does that make sense? 😂😉😘

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

      That makes total sense! If you haven’t spent a long while sharing your experiences online then it feels extremely vulnerable to suddenly start doing so. You should definitely be comfortable too!

  17. Danielle Verzosa July 14, 2017 at 6:34 am #

    This is such an inspirational post for someone who’s been struggling to find their own voice through their blogs, like me. Most of the time, I want to tell something, but do not know how to begin. It’s like shouting at the top of my lungs, but no one can hear me.

    Thanks for posting this! 🙂

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 3:08 pm #

      I’m so glad you found it helpful, Danielle! Finding your voice through blogging certainly takes a bit of time and experimentation, so I wouldn’t worry if you feel unsure occasionally. I definitely still do! 🙂

  18. Photography Journal Blog July 14, 2017 at 6:58 am #

    So, I found this post through WP Discover. I read it because I find the idea of who I am online and offline to be a really interesting concept. It’s interesting how we present ourselves differently in different situations, on line and off. Do you also find that writing about why your writing can sometimes be a clarifying process for you? I feel that way about it.

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

      I find writing to be an essential part of my daily thought process! It’s how I channel & clarify my thoughts – not to mention it being a cathartic exercise I don’t think I could do without.

      That said, that type of my writing isn’t usually what I publish online (it’s more for my own use!)

  19. janemoor July 14, 2017 at 9:29 am #

    Fantastic read Flora, for someone like me just starting out in the world of travel blogging, how insightful!. Its given me so much food for thought for “iwannatraveltheworld”. Authenticity rules, I agree.:)

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

      How lovely to hear, Jane! Best of luck with your blogging journey – it’s great fun 🙂

  20. eliztourz July 14, 2017 at 9:45 am #

    i like that perception in every situation of. my life is so close to that and am so thankful for your lines.

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

      Thanks so much for reading!

  21. rallisblog July 14, 2017 at 9:59 am #

    I have a different name online , on here , than I do in real life. While I write things that are honest to me, having a different name, allows me to still in some ways be anonymous. For me there is still a sense of mystery, where people can keep an open mind about things I write. 🙂

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

      I can totally appreciate the need for anonymity 🙂 Sometimes I wonder how this site would differ if I’d never revolved it so explicitly around my name!

  22. Boringbug July 14, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    It’s always interesting to read something which leaves a lasting impact on your mind.
    I don’t even recall why in the first place I used a different name online.
    Maybe because it was difficult to pronounce my real name, or maybe the online persona of me defined me appropriately.

    Either way, in the present times, it’s difficult to distinguish who from who. Both the world leave a lasting impact on us. Something we can only shield ourselves from, but not escape.

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

      There are a lot of positives for having different identities when online and off – especially as the line between the two gets blurred. Interesting to hear that you’ve always used an alias online though! It suggests you might have always known you wanted to keep those two worlds separated?

  23. shakirasacks July 14, 2017 at 11:30 am #

    This is such a lovely read and I found it so interesting to get an insight into your life and your mind, thank you for that!

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

      Aww thanks so much for reading, Shakira! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  24. lovelyspirit July 14, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    My new found inspiration, thank you for sharing this. Im 18 and i admit i fake myself at times especially in most social media just to be accepted but i started this blog to expres who i really am.
    You are my new found inspiration.
    Kudos <3

    • Flora July 14, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

      What a lovely comment! I’m so pleased you’re feeling inspired after reading this 🙂 Good luck with your blog writing – I hope you continue to feel inspired about your online journey!

  25. kasiawrites July 14, 2017 at 8:25 pm #

    I think we all have different sides no matter what we do. Being online allows you to express some of those sides. I don’t really think it matters that much. I feel that sometimes I am this and then some time later I become something else. All are good and show sides of me. We would be very boring if we only had one side. Thanks for sharing yours.

    • Flora July 15, 2017 at 11:18 am #

      Yep, one sided people certainly wouldn’t be the most interesting! Thanks for your comment, Kasia 🙂

  26. Dena Gershkovich July 14, 2017 at 10:39 pm #

    Lovely blog and beautiful pictures! https://theartsypalate.wordpress.com/

    • Flora July 15, 2017 at 11:05 am #

      Thanks so much Dena!

  27. bliss.pinkco July 15, 2017 at 2:11 am #

    I really enjoyed visiting your page. You give me motivation to live my life to the fullest as well. You make life seem so simple and stress free. I just believe in todays world, we take our life too seriously and worry about things that might not even matter to us in a day or two and forget to enjoy the moment we live in. You are living your life to the fullest and I just wish one day, I can enjoy my life the way you do.Thank you for making me realize that the world doesnt always have to be so stress full.

    • Flora July 15, 2017 at 11:17 am #

      I totally agree! Things are always going to be stressful in themselves, but I think it’s ultimately up to us to decide how much they’re really going to affect us. Living life to the fullest is certainly one of my mantras 🙂 Thanks so much for reading & commenting!

  28. Julie Cao July 15, 2017 at 4:58 am #

    Very insightful post Flora! As a travel blogger, I most time find myself have multiple layers and playing different roles. I have met other travel bloggers during my travels, we had good times but i remember myself more freaked out than ever because I have to present myself differently and they will know a different part of me that my blog does not tell. Travel blogging and social media is really a weird part that everyone want to show who they are, and as interesting and fun to read other people’s stories, they are not the whole story.

    • Flora July 15, 2017 at 11:21 am #

      Aha, that’s really interesting Julie! I’ve often felt a bit strange in real-life situations with bloggers because I’m never sure how much of my personal writing they’ve read! And equally when you meet a reader somewhere and they know things you’d half-forgotten you’d written about 😀

  29. Tife July 15, 2017 at 8:06 am #

    Awesome. I am so inspired by this.

    • Flora July 15, 2017 at 11:07 am #

      That’s so fantastic to hear Tife! Thank you 🙂

  30. blackprivilege July 15, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    Very thought provoking ! Thank you Flora for this (you’ve gained a new follower x)

    • Flora July 15, 2017 at 9:14 pm #

      Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoy the rest of my articles 🙂

  31. Anjum July 15, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    It was very inspiring.Thanks

    • Flora July 15, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

      Thanks to you too, Anjum!

  32. mgdavisblog July 15, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

    Just discovered your blog. Very colorful and interesting life. How could your blogs about your reality be any different! Loved the pics!

    • Flora July 15, 2017 at 9:50 pm #

      Aww that’s so lovely to say! You don’t really think about your life being overtly colourful until someone else mentions it 🙂

  33. tamsing July 15, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

    Thanks for this blog. I’m new at this but write whenever I can and share so many of your feelings. Love it, not enough time for it, questioning why I do it, finding the right words and wondering if it’s too long / too personal… Living in Edinburgh, writing from Spain, and …um….now, will I write about today or my walk in May, or that food blog I have been meaning to make for 6 months?

    Your voice is distinctive and that’s the best thing!

    • Flora July 15, 2017 at 10:09 pm #

      All those ideas sound great to me! Best of luck with your writing journey – and with developing your own online voice, too 🙂

  34. thoughtsovertea July 15, 2017 at 8:04 pm #

    This is so thought-provoking and true. Social media isn’t authentic and it isn’t a true reflection of who you are as a person. Its glossy, aimed at showing the user in the best light, no flaws allowed. You might be posting a quick picture but the caption is just as important; the audience – how will it be received? You sometimes end up distorting yourself. I aim to be me, nobody else. My pictures aren’t perfect but I live in the moment, not an artificial take 30 selfies later in “the best light”. Be true to yourself.
    NB. I wish I could travel as much as you!! So jealous, your pictures are lovely.

    • Flora July 16, 2017 at 8:45 pm #

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! Social media does seem to be getting glossier and more distorted – but it sounds like you’re making sure to remain true to yourself too 🙂

  35. Eugene July 15, 2017 at 8:06 pm #

    I think that was a brilliant article.So thoughtful and so true! Awesome!!

    • Flora July 15, 2017 at 9:36 pm #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the article Eugene!

  36. Jenn July 16, 2017 at 7:15 am #

    Great post Flora! Muy bueno 🙂

  37. Joseph Satish July 16, 2017 at 7:55 am #

    Great that I stumbled upon this blog, Flora. Thanks for the amazing pictures and experiences! Btw, I write on a different theme altogether, but since you write about the self and identify in your latest post, would you like to explore the spiritual as well… just advertising my post ha ha! Do check it out if you can: https://abravenewscience.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/exploring-the-concept-of-spirituality-i/


    • Flora July 16, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

      Thanks for your comment Joseph – I’ll check out your article soon!

  38. ekcommonladki July 16, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

    This article will always be helpful for me as a blogger and i will come back to reading it often as it actually defines the purpose of what we do. Thanks!

    • Flora July 16, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

      I’m glad you’ve found it helpful!

  39. thatgoangirl July 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article, Flora! It explained what I feel so often! And it’s true, we have to juggle so many roles at once while staying true to who we are

    • Flora July 16, 2017 at 8:49 pm #

      Oh, I’m so glad you can empathise with what I’ve said!

  40. Cindy's Travel Diaries July 16, 2017 at 6:23 pm #

    Great article, it’s so true ! I’m quite new on the blogsphere and I love sharing my experiences and exchanging with other travelers but sometimes I just want to be off the grid, not to post a picture or whatever, and even if I know that you have to be consistent in posting every day to grow your audience, I don’t want blogging to feel like a chore but a pleasure, like the reason why I’ve started to blog ! For me that’s the best way to make my online me and my “irl” me match 🙂

    • Flora July 16, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

      Yep, I totally know what you mean about taking some ‘off grid’ time occasionally. It’s definitely worth doing – and usually I come back more excited to write again 🙂

  41. Pina Marek July 16, 2017 at 7:58 pm #

    This is so true and great of an article. I really enjoyed reading it!

    • Flora July 16, 2017 at 8:50 pm #

      Thanks so much for reading, Pina 🙂

  42. karenincalabria July 17, 2017 at 7:53 am #

    Nice writing and interesting post. The title attracted me on WP Discover as I write about Italy. My writing journey started with a non-fiction book and the blog/social media all began as a result of what everyone told me I “must” do. Now, that consumes me and I’m having trouble finding time to work on another book project. In any case, I went on my first “Educational Tour” this past spring. I don’t know if that’s what English-speaking bloggers call it, but it was in Italian and that’s what they call an expense-paid promotional invitation. I was with just 4 other bloggers, but they were all professionals in that they earned directly from their blogs. I found it quite interesting the way they each had their own method of picture/video taking and then how they used it all in their blogposts and on youtube. It was definitely an educational experience for me, but as you say, the constant thinking of how you’re going to present something somehow changes your personal interaction with it.

    • Flora July 26, 2017 at 10:39 am #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Karen! It’s interesting to hear that your blogging journey started with book publication (something which I think many bloggers, myself included, are ultimately aiming for!) – but I know the ‘educational tour’ model (we call them ‘press trips’, ‘fam trips’ or ‘blog trips’) and it can definitely change the way you interact with your environment.

  43. maria July 18, 2017 at 6:48 am #

    This was such a powerful entry. I’ve been trying to find a way to connect with my audience as I continue to blog and it’s great to read experiences of others who were able to accomplish that.

    • Flora July 26, 2017 at 10:45 am #

      Thanks so much Maria! Finding ways to connect with your readership is definitely something worth re-evaluating on a regular basis. I think it’s easy for bloggers to forget that no matter how large their audience grows, it’s still a single person reading an entry or opinion who wants to feel that connection with you 🙂

      Best of luck with your blogging journey!

  44. sparkleforthejourney July 19, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    This was such a great read! I can relate in so many ways. I currently run three separate social platform identities, and I feel like im constantly taking off one hat to put another on; the traveler, the fashion and wedding expert, and then professional vendor. I feel that some times I find my true self getting lost in it all.

    • Flora July 26, 2017 at 10:48 am #

      Yep, I totally agree! I hope you manage to find yourself again though – it sounds like all your hats add up to one fascinating person 🙂

  45. TRINA July 19, 2017 at 7:00 pm #

    This was a great and well thought out post. I enjoyed reading it. Often times our blogs/ social media is only the high light real of our lives. I love when people are real 🙂

    • Flora July 26, 2017 at 10:48 am #

      Thanks Trina!

  46. Health Share PORT July 20, 2017 at 5:02 am #

    Beautiful blog..i like to visit again and again keep writing well….

    • Flora July 26, 2017 at 10:42 am #

      Thanks so much! 🙂

  47. happyheartstravel July 26, 2017 at 7:26 pm #

    Wonderful Blog! So great to hear the reality of social media from someone who knows it well. It’s a fine line between being authentic and doing something for likes. I love how honest you are! I also just followed you on Instagram b/c of it:)) Safe travels!

    • Flora August 11, 2017 at 6:54 pm #

      Aww thanks! I’m glad you’re enjoying the honesty 🙂 (also thanks for the IG love!)

  48. cathysrealcountrygardencom July 26, 2017 at 9:23 pm #

    Luckily for me, I am too old to worry about my in line presence and I really do feel sorry for your generation as you grow up in reality and on line. I like the photo of your cat in London. If in doubt ,ask the cat! 🐈

    • Flora August 11, 2017 at 6:55 pm #

      Haha! The cat’s reality is definitely an interesting one :p

  49. rawanmostafa July 30, 2017 at 7:08 pm #

    Great work, Flora. Such a relatable article! I remember once writing an essay on who I believe I am and how so many aspects of my personality had to be taken into consideration to be able to produce content as “authentic” as possible. But maybe our authenticity lays in the fact that we are so multifaceted and the content we create shows different sides of who we are. However, the digital world commands us to pick a certain side to focus on in order to create a brand and I’m not sure how I feel about that reductionism to be honest.

    • Flora August 11, 2017 at 7:00 pm #

      Thanks Rawan – I’m so glad you found the article relatable! There’s certainly a lot of reductionism in our online spaces now, but I still like to play with the concept of presenting different facets depending on the situation, my mood etc!

  50. allaboutflightsandvacations August 2, 2017 at 7:49 am #

    Thoughtful, amazingly written thanks for sharing it, got few things from here I’ll try to apply the same on me.

    • Flora August 11, 2017 at 6:56 pm #

      Sounds great! Let me know how it goes 🙂

    • Flora August 11, 2017 at 8:58 pm #

      Thanks for reading!

  51. lifesablog6 August 19, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    Great blog!
    Also interested in travel and writing, feel free to check out my blog xo

    • Flora August 25, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

      Thanks so much for reading, Shannon! I’ll check your blog out soon 🙂

  52. Diane Oui In France August 21, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    Hi Flora, new here and I know I’m late to the party but wanted to tell you this was a really well-done post. I think we share parts of ourselves online for various reasons and cover up other parts maybe for the same reasons. We feel exposed and judged and sometimes writing becomes rote and rushed. You’ve brought up so many good points here. Thanks for this post!

    • Flora August 27, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it Diane! Hope you stick around for my other articles 🙂


  1. Made To Be Me – December Rose - July 14, 2017

    […] The best part is, because I’m not doing this blogging thing for a living, I can tell you all of this without censoring or wording it just right. I read a blog post earlier about someone who does a travel blog, and is darn good at it, but in this post, she talks about how sometimes she is inauthentic because she has to be what the readers or brand want her to be. Maybe “inauthentic” isn’t the right word, but she requires a censorship over herself because she is catering to specific audiences. It’s really an amazing post, check it out here: “Is Flora Your Real Name?” […]

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