Up until this year, I had been leading a double life. Don’t worry, I’m not secretly a man or something, but I very, very carefully hid my online presence from family and friends. Evidently I didn’t hide it good enough, because it turned out Mom had been following me from day one. I should have known better than to think anything could get past my mother. Turns out even my former boss had been reading.
I’d untag myself on Facebook whenever someone posted an article I wrote, I never shared my website with people, and I certainly didn’t introduce myself as a travel blogger. I remember this concept of “travel blogger” as a profession being a shock to me—whenever Cailin and I were bar hopping in Halifax and meeting new people, she’d happily announce her online title. The only time I ever even handed out my business cards was to other bloggers. I couldn’t bear the scepticism from people who can’t seem to grasp a life outside of the 9-5 working world.
For me, writing has always been an incredibly personal, intimate experience. It took me a long time to welcome criticism, and I often doubted my abilities. But damn I need to write, and I always will. It’s like breathing.
So then a few things happened in January to give me that final push. For one, I landed a press trip to Mexico and knew I had to work hard to get the exposure it needed. Secondly, I met Chris Guillebeau and read The Art of Non-Conformity. His thoughts on the inhibiting nature of fear really hit home with me, and I figured if people couldn’t accept my online geekdom, they probably weren’t worth my time. Like Spencer Spellman says, it all comes down to what you want to do.
It’s a shame it all took so long, because once I came clean, things started moving a whole lot faster for me. My readership doubled. I received an outpouring of emails and Facebook messages from friends and family telling me they were impressed by the writing, and loved my stories. Finally, Newfoundland and Labrador noticed I exist. It’s been a surreal few months, and I’m now finally 100% location independent and self-employed. I still have quite a way to go though, and “making a living” doesn’t mean I’m living well.
Unfortunately, I still find myself censoring some areas of my life. Recently I reread my old blog posts from years ago, and it was startling to see how much my style has changed. I used to be a lot more brash and spunky. I openly discussed my dating life and drunken fiascos, whereas nowadays I’ve actually had to make a few posts private…including the popular spacecake incident. I’m removing the ban on that one shortly. Judgement day is occurring on the 21st, after all.
It’s hard not to worry about what others think of you, especially when you live such a “public” life. I did a radio interview with CBC on Thursday, and I was so freaked out about how people would react, I couldn’t listen to the recording. I still get sick to my stomach when someone leaves scathing comments on an article I’ve written. And last night, I removed this featured “nude” photo from my Facebook profile because it was too racy. I’m supposed to be a role model to my Rangers troops, although I like to think I’m a “real world” model. I suppose I can hardly pretend I’m sweet, quiet and reserved young lady when my blog’s URL suggests I’m making love to the planet.
But there we have it. It’s taken me years to own what I love. I think when you actually give yourself a title and slap it to yourself like a nametag, you naturally assume the identity. So I’m a drunken travel blogger who often drops f-bombs. Who are you?