The Language of Traveling: How Experiences Turn Us Into Storytellers
Traveling makes us richer. It makes us richer with memories, experiences, and stories. It makes us richer with moments that take our breath away. We leave the comforts of home and throw ourselves into the unknown all in the name of these priceless moments (or perhaps a new profile picture). We can read all about the places and look at pictures, but concept is so much different from experience.
Traveling isn’t easy, of course. You invest time and money. You prepare yourself to be recklessly thrown into situations you have no control over. But on the other hand, the benefits of traveling are way too many to pass up while you sit in a corner your whole life. Studies claim that traveling is the best medicine — it makes your heart and brain healthier. It keeps you young and it makes your soul happy. Whether you are exploring a new city or relaxing by the beach, the wonder of being in a different place keeps our hearts healthy. A trip to Boracay Island in the Philippines will give you such feels. The warmth of the sun against your skin, the calmness of the beach, and how the sand exfoliates your skin are just some of the health benefits of beach travel. Yes, travel benefits both the spirit and the body.
It also makes us better storytellers. St. Augustine famously said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” The many experiences and memories we gain, both good and bad, make us more informed and aware. That moment when we see a place for the first time and we are speechless is exactly what makes us good storytellers.
The best and most believable storytellers are those who have seen and experienced the world. Here’s how traveling turns us into a storytellers:
The good, the bad, and the breathtaking
Photo courtesy of pulaw via Flickr, Creative Commons
No matter how many travel blogs and reviews you read, nothing will ever prepare you for the things that await you in one place. For example, before traveling to Boracay, you probably know all about the fine white sand and the postcard-worthy sunset, but knowing how the sand feels between your toes and how the sunset makes you swoon is something you have to experience. You have to feel it. You have to see it. Seeing the place for the first time and then falling in love with it over and over again is what makes an experience and it is what makes you a perfect storyteller. You get to tell other people exactly how the sand felt.
Experiences into life lessons
There are thousands of traveling tips that you can easily spot online — what to bring, what to wear, where to go, which hotel accommodation to book, etc. But it is only when you get to the actual place that you realize what you missed to pack. It is only when you experience a place that you get to realize that there are so many other options, so many things you didn’t do or things you did that you shouldn’t have, what to say or not say, etc. These experiences turn into life lessons that make every story more valuable.
Beauty of getting lost
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Preparing itineraries, maps, and schedules are a good thing. But getting lost in a new city and roaming free is when we actually discover the most beautiful secrets of a place. The importance of getting lost when traveling ranges from discovery of a place to the discovery of oneself. You suddenly realize that your problem-solving skills are superb. You realize that you are capable of figuring things out on your own and at your own pace. You learn to trust your instincts, you learn to enjoy conversations with locals and other travelers, and you learn that you are perfectly capable of finding your way back.
All of your senses at work
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When you travel to a new place, your senses work very hard. You get to know a place by its exotic smell, its quaint sights, and how it feels — does it make you feel happy, giddy, safe, or scared? You go beyond visual details and go into sensory details. As a storyteller, you get to tell it as it is.
Meeting the locals
Locals are a big part of every adventure. Just by being in a bus full of locals will give you a glimpse of the different types of people when you travel — friendly, snobs, busy, tired, etc. You will learn about their peculiarities and what makes them unique just by observing and talking to them. You don’t get to read a lot of those in travel blogs. Traveling isn’t all about places. Most importantly, it’s about the people. You have to speak to the locals and allow them to get to you.
The food is everything
Food says a lot about its people. When traveling, skip the fast food and go for the authentic. When you travel to Boracay, you will realize that Filipinos are all about good food — fat, salty, sweet, and yummy. Healthy? Well, not so much. But fresh seafood? Now we’re talking. You will learn that in this island in the Philippines, food can be a conversation piece and can bring families and friends together. Meals are never quiet and formal. They eat with their hands and you should, too. You can write a book just by tasting a country’s delicacy.
New city, new rules
When traveling, you learn how to balance between allowing yourself to roam free while minding boundaries and restrictions. Rules are very important in telling stories about a place and an experience because they caution against needless hassles. Did you know that building sand castles is no longer allowed in Boracay? Did you know that giving “tips” is frowned upon in Japan? These are reminders that make a trip free from hassles and worries.
The possibilities when traveling are endless. You have to lose yourself. You have to be in the moment. Traveling turns us into storytellers by leaving us breathless and speechless. Experiences and memories fill our stories with sights, smells, and perspective. Traveling gives our stories value, authenticity, and emotions.