“Oh wow, you have so many followers… How is it to be an influencer?”
She asked. And so did he…. In fact, I hear that a lot.
But am I?
What the heck is even an influencer?
I mean, anyone that influences someone to do something can be called an influencer…. But I guess nowadays, the times where billions carry a control remote for their life (smartphone) at all times and spend the days with their faces glued on social media, what matters are the numbers… and numbers only.
In my opinion, you can have a bunch of followers, but if all you are influencing is to pump and fill your lips with some hyaluronic acid or some collagen, get butt implants or any other fake (I mean sorry, a cosmetic surgical procedure) something and wear a cake in your face everyday.. Then I rather not be associated with an “influencer”.
You see, when I have decided to create my blog & social media pages about my travel back in 2013, I have never denied I created it for 2 main reasons:
- First, the selfish.
To have it all documented, recorded and stored online in case my phone/camera/laptop would be taken from me in any way. To have my stories in written and sort of an online diary… after all, I have watched “The Notebook” and who isn’t scared of Alzheimer? I surely am.
I just wanted to be sure that would be a register of my adventures, stories, photos and videos on the web so I could rely on, in case something negative would happen.
- Second, to share my explorations.
At first, the goal was to possibilitate my family and friends to travel with me by sharing everything that was going on in my life. I wanted them to be part of my journey and to follow it, knowing the good and the bad.
What I wasn’t expecting, was that the number of followers kept growing by the day, and instead of the family and friends I thought I was writing and sharing with, were quickly replaced by a legion of lovely strangers that through time started to interact and often writing me thanking me for the inspiration, and that was the cherry on top of the cake.
I have treated my blog and social media channels to be spaces where I could share with the world what makes my heart race, what makes me tick. And for the last 5+ years, I have been carefully designing and decorating my private museum (or maybe I should call it my living room?) and inviting people in, where they can have a access to what my life and travels are, on a simple click.
I write about my adventures, put some stories together, add some (or a LOT) pictures and share some videos, maps and some singing and voila – I mix it all on a bunch of connected social media channels and my personal diary is ON – and the visitors are welcomed in.
Some get inspired, other enlightened or simply just entertained by my tales and explorations – but at the end, the most important is that I felt and feel, that by sharing it with all these people (friends, family, acquaintances, strangers), I had you all traveling with me =)
My ultimate life’s goal is to leave my mark. My contribute. A positive footprint.
If I will do that by inspiring people to travel, to follow their dreams, whether because they feel motivated by my actions or my words, than I feel like I am going in the right direction, because an accomplished society, a well succeed community and individuals that feel fulfilled – will definitely contribute for a Happier World.
If you ask me, do I influence people to travel?
Do people ask me for my travel advice?
Are my followers really following my footprints (in the clouds and in the land too)?
Well, definitely some are. And I am forever grateful for each message I receive with so much love from people thanking me for whatever word, story, picture or video that has somehow challenge them and their beliefs and made them finally get on that trip or embark on that adventure.
But I would never call myself an influencer because I have followers or likes in my social media. That mentality is so artificial and sort of scary to be frank. What I care is that every day I receive messages or emails of people asking me for advice or suggestions for off the beaten track places such as East Timor or popular places such as Thailand. Receiving messages of people I have never met telling me that my stories about Iran made them book their flight. Girls I met briefly during my trip that I somehow inspired them instead of a couple of weeks trip to do months long or even years long trips. And that, ] is what makes me happy. To know I have this private engagement with my followers and influence them somehow to think outside the box or give them strength to finally book that trip.
So I will continue to share my stories – the old and the ones that are about to happen. Always.
Thank you for your support.