I do believe that traveling is much more about the stories we have to tell than going from point A to a new point B that we don't know yet. Travel is also about putting the participant in the middle of an unfolding drama, becoming the protagonist in a classic quest, with a well-defined arc of beginning, middle and dénouement

The Storytravelers

By Lucas Compan, a guest storyteller

The best travel features the best personal narratives, an innocent in a new land, making discoveries along the way, and winning the day by achieving the goal of the last day on the itinerary, returning with new insights, unearthed lessons, and altered character. It's about transformation, not transportation. And, of course, it is the sharing on Facebook, cocktails and slide shows, retelling the stories from the road to a rapt audience. Traveling is collecting stories with the teller as the hero, and then sweeping the audience into the saga.

Inside every act of traveling lies a personal evolution – and a story about who we are

Travel is, more than anything, about storytelling.

Amanda Kendle, an Australian travel addict and travel blogger who's visited more than thirty countries, shares some of her tips to tell a good travel story. She suggests that we should "pick a story that seems relevant to the friend or group you’re talking too. We’re all basically pretty self-centered creatures so if you can tell a story that hits a topic your listener is genuinely interested in, you’ve got a much better chance of keeping their attention." Another trick that works well is when you tell stories about other people, not just sightseeing. 

I guess Amanda is right. My friends are always asking me to tell some story. Well, even when they don't ask me, I am always telling a story. The funny thing is that I frequently tell the same stories again and again. Not because I want it or because I have a short repertoire of stories. Not at all. They just ask me. Maybe it's because I always add something that will connect to the emotions of the audience.

Stories are what make people build a relationship with each other. Give people a reason to talk about you. We pay far more attention to recommendations from friends, family, and even strangers than we do to advertisements. Don’t get caught up in controlling the message. Instead, do things that are worthy of passing along. when we put together traveling and storytelling, wow, that is an creatively powerful combination.

Jodi Ettenberg is a former lawyer and currently a food travel blogger, shares her piece of advice. She believes that travel blogging needs more storytelling, an incredible too that is able to change the way our brains process information. More importantly within the travel space, that stories about others foster understanding and empathy about far away places. They encourage empathy and understanding and in doing so they bring about positive change. And when told about ourselves, they can help build engagement and a loyal community in the people who read site online.

Here are the three main points that Jodi follows: 

1. As a travel writer or photographer, stories are what inspire people to see a place differently. The ways good narrative affects us is rooted in neuroscience and general feels.

2. Storytelling is amplified by technology. We live in an incredible time to be armed with a laptop and a camera. We have the ability to tell stories and potentially make a change for millions of people if we work hard to better our craft and to talk about things that matter.

3. A remarkable and successful business is not one that solely comprises of top 10 lists or guides, but also the stories that can change people’s minds about a place. The world does not need more “guides to x city” — but these posts do serve a purpose. Informational pieces or roundups bring in audience via search traffic, and help existing readers navigate needs on their own travels. However, I would argue that they do not keep audience.

 

We all say we want information. These days, we get insanely anxious about it. But the truth is we don't experience the world through information.

We experience the world through stories.

Stories are how we give meaning to what happens to us. When people tell their stories to each other and are heard, the magic happens. People bond. Barriers dissolve. Connections are made. Trust increases. Knowledge is transmitted. Wisdom is shared. A common language is birthed. And a deep sense of interdependence is felt. That's why, in days of old, our ancestors stood around the fire and shared their stories with each other. Survival depended on it and so did the emotional well-being of the tribe.

Photo: NatGeo traveler Yanick Targonski

Are you a storytraveller?

I would love to know your travel stories. They could be long or short, funny or not. Share them, anyway. 

Cheers!

Resources for Storytellers


Articles



Books


Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence Lisa Cron

Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide The Nieman Foundation at Harvard University

Contagious: Why Things Catch On Jonah Berger

The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human Jonathan Gottschall

Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting Robert McKee

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Sapiens: A Brief History of HumankindYuval Noah Harari, included because of his assertion that a cognitive revolution and the ability to tell stories was why humans are as evolved as they are today.

The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers Christopher Vogler


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