Here I Am: Authenticity and self-branding on travel blogs

Tom van Nuenen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This article examines the discursive structure of several popular travel blogs to understand the relationship between authenticity and self-branding. Instances of present-day “canonical” blogs are examined, showing up high on Google searches, attracting significant audiences, and featuring on “best of” lists presented by other websites. Through a discourse analysis of the blog’s About pages, it is shown that professional bloggers reconcile the search for a self-dependent and inward-turned existential authenticity with the performance of self-branding techniques. Bloggers construct an image of a resilient self in times of hardship, while acting as travel and life coaches and ensuring their readers that such a nomadic lifestyle is attainable for anyone who really wants it. Simultaneously, there is an unmistakable influence of socio-economic resources that these travelers have at their disposal. The enmeshing of authenticity and self-branding results in a discourse in which it is possible to both sell and become oneself.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTourist Studies
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2015


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