Instafriends: Making Connections and Meeting IRL

Have you met my friend Tara aka @taralaferrara? She's a really cool girl, and just what you see online is what you get in real life. I first connected with Tara a few years ago through Instagram and we met IRL last year.

When I tell people I've met a lot of my friends through Instagram I get one of two reactions:

People think that's really amazing!

Others are perplexed with the look of 'you can't meet people in real life?'

That's not the case at all; I'm very social and do make friends in a real-life setting. But in today's day in age, the way we connect has shifted. I think it's a fantastic tool we have because it can put you in contact with interesting, like-minded people all around the globe. For many people, their online lives are an extension of their offline ones.

Tara hasn't been the only person I've met on Instagram.

There have been plenty of other amazing women that I've connected with on Instagram and later met in real life like my good and close friend Maxene (aka @MaxenesTrail) we were brought together for our love of food, cocktails and mutuals friends; Jo Encarnacion (aka @gofitjo) during a Barre3 retreat in Portland; Aurora during a trip to her home-base in Mexico City, Cristina Ricci (@addictedtolovely) an LA-based blogger and podcaster that is from the same area where I grew up. There was also my dear friend Bernadette (aka @petiteandtoned) also from San Francisco that came out to visit me in Portland.

We often associate online friendships as weaker or less genuine than those offline. But making friends online doesn’t mean they will not turn into real friendships. According to an article in the CyberPsychology journal, some people who meet online do eventually meet in offline settings. It is only natural that this happens because of the more profound connection and bonds made through shared common interests.

Making connections online is just like making connections in person but a bit better! Let me explain... We know everything there is to know about people's lives via our news feed on Instagram: what they ate for dinner, who they are dating, what products to try. Because of this, it helps to figure out whether you have similar interests that you can build a friendship on. 

Instagram in many ways helps us establish the shared interests and passions all of you shared. Mutual interests promote connection. Even though you barely knew each other, merely being authentically YOU and sharing your vulnerabilities that others can relate to help create a deeper relationship with others.

Making friends online, and maintaining these connections can essentially form an online emotional safety net. When people encounter struggles, they often want to talk about it and feel heard. Having these online friendships provides a safe space where people can discuss how they feel. It's not any more different than in real life and when you meet people in real life.

Have you made connections on Instagram and then met IRL? Share it with me on Instagram - @valeriefidan!

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

Make Today Magical

Making today magical, in a Rose colored hue city [Jaipur] with Masala Chai, Gold and Emeralds.

I am currently traveling in India and if there is one thing I've learnt is nothing will ever go as planned. Even in life. Today, the plan was to get swept away over Jaipur. Thanks to Monson season, a hot air balloon ride, while the sun rose was a no-go. Inside I opted to go gem shopping and purchased myself a dainty gold ring with an Emerald Gem. ☁️

I had envisioned today to be the start of new chapter of my new life, as I watched the sunrise from above as the pink and orange hues painted the pink city. In quite possibly the most romantic way to start the day.

Jaipur gems_1.jpg

Well, 8.28... the day has arrived. Time flies by so quickly; exactly a year ago today the theme to my life was significantly different. G and I were somewhere in Europe, celebrating 7 years of marriage, in a part of the world that symbolically represented us as a couple, because seven years prior our month long honeymoon was the inaugural tradition of visiting Europe, and always sneaking away somewhere in Italy. Italy was *our* thing, our places, our humble adventure. And for the last 7 years I had posted the same darling photo of a candid wedding shot--my favorite wedding memory that evoked plenty of blissful emotion--thanking my former partner for all the great memories we had shared thus far and for all the magical moments to come, traversing around the globe. I would never have imagined a year later life would be a contrasting difference, and that I would be somewhere in India, up in the air... uncoupled.

Truth be told, this has been one of the hardest years I have ever lived, being confronted with a new normal without the best friend I had for the last 10 years. It's also been the most profound year rediscovering the things I need in life, and truly feeling all the feels. Somedays, though far a few in between these days, feeling debilitated and empty, other days feeling alive and grateful for every waking moment. I'm not dwelling on emotions or holding on to my past, because to understand my divorce, my bond, and relationship with, you must walk in my shoes. You'd see an amazing bond, respect and fun-filled run between two individuals. But at some point, if you stop growing as individuals and as a couple, you must walk away. The hardest part was acknowledging that the magical bond and romantic love that connected us was no more, but the respect and love as still there. To merely co-exist would have been a disservice two both. The most challenging thing you can do in life is facing these feelings and let someone go for their happiness, and for yours as well. (You can read more about this here - no need for me to write about it yet again.)

When my divorce was finalized, I knew I wanted to be somewhere today. I didn't know where; but, I did know I wanted it to be a place to mark a new adventure in life to make today the best yet so that as each year passed on this day, I'd look forward to it and not dread it with a heavy heart. So here I am; I'm in India, sky high (did I mention I'm scared of heights?), remembering the best 10 years filled with some of the best memories, yet welcoming new ones. This year I've unintentionally have lived my version of "Eat, Pray, Love" in neither particular order.  Or, in my humble interpretation: eat and drink everything, pray (I really mean yoga and meditate) often, and simply learn to love my life, my new normal... every ounce of it. Rereading Elizabeth Gilbert's book, I now understand the message and can relate. I get it.

This is all part of the eat, pray, love journey in this phase of life. Being present. Being vulnerable. Being embracing. Being selfish for the things that bring me ecstasy. The act of celebrating and really truly enjoying your life... Every bit of it.

With that said, here's to life, more adventures, and being unapologetically happy.

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

Why Your Bucketlist Should Be A Goal List

bucketlist

What’s on yours? ✨ Starting a business? Snorkel in the Galapagos Islands? Hiking Machu Picchu? Eating pasta in Italy? 

Realistically, bucket list's should really be a goal list. Defining these you must ask yourself what do you care about? 

I love to travel, so for me naturally, most of mine are based on travel and experiences. Our world is truly magnificent and we each occupy just a tiny fragment of it. Travel is a privilege and one of our greatest treasures, and we all should have a bucket list. It broadens our minds and feeds our souls, and who wouldn’t want to experience something wondrous or incredibly beautiful, whether made by man or Mother Nature? To help you define your goals, journal and figure out those goals by answering: Who are you? What are your hobbies and interests? Base a few goals around those things.

Including family and friends in those goals. This will fuel an enriching life because life is about the experiences you create with those your love. It's a fantastic idea to include your family in some of your goals. For instance, you could add a goal of taking a road trip to the place your grandmother was born, or better yet, take that trip with your grandmother! This idea of including your friends on your life goals is probably where #squadgoals came from, and for good reason. Build in a couple of goals with your friends - you'll be so glad you took the time to build memories with them!

Keep track of your goals and be flexible! Goals need to be written down to feel real and tangible and to give them import. Write them down, and look at them often, then cross them off (mentally, even) as you attain them. But, also be flexible. So many fantastic books have been written about goals that didn't always happen as planned (Cheryl Strayed's "Wild" comes to mind). Be flexible in your goals, and achieve them even when things don't go exactly as you planned.

If you love mountaineering, your heart might tell you to set the goal of climbing each of the tallest mountains on every continent. That's amazing... but probably not realistic, not just from a physical standpoint, but financially as well. Your goals shouldn't be easy, but don't make them impossible either.

Here's the thing about goals: they're not checklists (like bucket lists are). Goals evolve and should require a little more reflection and soul-searching. For instance, when I first started yoga, my goal was "attend a live class once a week." Now it's "deepen my practice through yoga teacher training." Don't just visit the Eiffel Tower to check it off your list and move on. Savor each experience, build on each one and celebrate your success before you proceed.

Put it out into the universe, and share them with me. Let’s work together to put them into action! After all, sometimes the little things can be just as exciting as the big things.


(📷 Marianna Hewitt)

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.