Preserve your Travel Memories with Storytellers’ magic touch
I don’t know about you guys but every time I go back from traveling I feel like a big part of my travel memories is going to be forgotten. Perhaps the fact that we’re exposed to so many stimuli for a short period of time minimizes our capacity to absorb a wide range of enriching experiences. In particular, not being able to remind our thoughts and feelings at the moment we’re faced with a different cultural reality for the first time.
In this scenario, I can’t avoid thinking of how incredibly remarkable is for a child to visit Disneyland’s magic world. For those who had the chance to do that it must be a dream come true…The direct interaction with our favourite characters like Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck; the funny games we can play and the sceneries depicting the movies we watch make up the ingredients of a memorable magic potion.
“AMNESIA – MY Nº1 TRAVELING ENEMY
Fortunately, we tend to remember our childhood experiences with a great accuracy level so Disneyland’s inspiring memories are still alive. But does it happen the same as we grow older? I’m afraid not… I must confess that one of the reasons I became a storyteller was having a terrible memory. Looking back, the most embarrassing part of it came to surface whenever I was at the dinner table together with friends or family. We all know those people who can tell stories from the past in such great detail right? Then I’m like: “why can’t I do the same? Why can’t I describe that crazy moment of my trip to the ones around?
My grand-uncle Armando is the best example I can give you (this one I actually remember :)). He’s not only a charming 92-year-old man with white hair and crystal blue eyes but also a living human encyclopedia! You can ask any historic date or event and he instantly teaches us a history lesson that will blow us away. Therefore, I used to get frustrated with myself… So many good stories from my trips to Italy, Germany, Austria and I could barely tell them! A feeling of impotence overpowered my state of mind in light of this memory struggle. That was the trigger to share a storytelling technique with you so as to preserve amazing travel memories once and for all!
TRAVELING + STORYTELLING = PERFECT COMBO
Imagine you’re going on a trip to that country you always wanted to visit. You start off with the “must go” touristic attractions followed by some hidden spots which end up being the highlight of the day. In the meantime, you and your group of friends join other fellow travelers staying in the same hostel. “Let’s have dinner together!” So there you are in a new country living a lifetime experience with people from all over the world! It’s definitely something we’ll remember onwards as it happened to me when my friend Afonso and I met an American couple in Salamanca, Spain. Nevertheless, some pieces of information that we don’t want to miss from our day trips may vanish shortly after: the language code created among everyone involved; the curious characters you find or the feelings in regard to classic unexpected events. The reality is that we’ll be missing these precious elements of a story due to information overload! Social media, news, TV, radio, and so on. It’s complicated for our brain to filter what really matters!
This is where storytelling gives everyone a hand! For us to come up with a compelling story about each one’s trips we must collect information in a timely manner. In other words, making sure we record the unforgettable epic moments up to 24 hours later. One may argue that “I take so many pictures!” That’s great! Visual contents are processed 60 times faster than text so you’re on the right track. However, the art of telling stories demands a bit more effort. I know you woke up very early to comply with the checklist for the day; walked up and down for countless kilometers and you’re lying in the hostel’s bed absolutely exhausted. Although writing is the best you can do, I believe it’s not an option as late night entertainment. I hereby introduce you to a simple storytelling technique to preserve your travel memories.
VOICE RECORDER – YOUR NEXT TRAVEL BUDDY
Here’s the deal: find a quiet space and sit comfortably. You’re relaxed, all ready and set to go the extra mile right before falling asleep. Get your phone, open the voice recorder app and close your eyes. It’s time to welcome the power of visualization with open arms. As my role model Novak Djokovic states, “visualization is a big part of everybody’s life, not just athletes. I strongly believe in visualization. I believe that there is a law of attraction: You get the things that you produce in your thoughts. Life just works that way.”
In this case, you need to visualize the past moments of your day trip you want to keep for the future. Afterward, press the red button and begin to describe everything you remember from that particular event(s) including:
WHAT - THE EXACT SITUATION
HOW - EVOLUTION AND PERSONAL FEELINGS/THOUGHTS ABOUT IT
WHO - THE PROTAGONISTS INVOLVED
WHERE - THE PLACE
WHY - ITS ORIGIN / PURPOSE
It’s nothing more than an audio diary of your travel experiences! Having one file per day means you recorded every single episode worth mentioning to your family, friends and most importantly to yourself. Visualize it as a personal growth tool likely to become handy both personally and professionally. For instance, you can create a video by compiling trip’s photos in a slideshow with the audio narrative. Animoto is a free, user-friendly video maker to do so!
Another idea might be taking your travel memories as a way of learning relevant skills in job applications. To illustrate, I’m going to tell you a story about a trip to Italy with my friend Francisco and I did 5 years ago. We took a train from Cinque Terre’s marvelous beaches back to Florence, where we were hosted. The Medici’s city has 3 railway stations and the first stop didn’t match the one we found in the morning. Hence, “let’s get off at the next station!” Do you know the saying “all roads lead to Rome?” That’s what happened to us! We passed by the second and third stations and the train didn’t stop… I still remember our petrified expressions like “we have a tour tomorrow to Siena and we need to be in Florence at 9am. How will we make it on time?” The truth is that we arrived at Rome’s station late in the evening and the next train was circa 5am.
Against this backdrop, we slept in a nearby hotel for brief hours until it was time to return. As soon as the 2 zombies got to Florence’s Santa Maria Novella railway station, the following hour was literally a race against time. “Shit! We need to go to the hostel to grab the tour’s tickets!” We took a cab and “Amico mio, please leave us there as fast as you can.” Then “where the hell are the tickets? Where the meeting point is?” Fortunatamente, the same taxi driver took us to the place and so we got to the tour bus ready to depart. Those 2 hours turned out to be some of the craziest I’ve ever lived but we had to make it work! What’s the skill I want to preserve with this travel memory? Complex problem-solving.
If I had done an audio recording by the end of that day, I’m sure my travel memories would have come out way better than they did. And it’s so easy! Just unwind your mind, talk to your phone recorder and ask your friends to join! You’ll have a great time together. Travelling is a great opportunity for self-discovery so take those enlightening experiences for years to come. Altogether, to travel is to live and you better do it with storytellers’ magic touch.
“Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” - Ira Glas