When you are traveling, the stories you share with others can be as important as the experiences you have. Everyone has a transformative travel experience at least once in their lifetime. A trip so powerful that when stories about it are shared with others, it is both inspirational and empowering.
Walking the Camino de Santiago was my powerful, life-changing travel experience. The Camino is a multi-route pilgrimage stretching across Europe to the tomb of St. James the Apostle in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Several years ago I took a group of teens and adults on a pilgrimage to walk the Camino from Sarria to Santiago. The stories we shared when we returned home kept our group bond strong and inspired our friends and family to seek their own pilgrimage journey.
Our route to Santiago was a 100 km walk, 14 km a day for seven days. We walked through medieval villages, along country roads, under a towering oak and pine trees and past lush fields of cows and horses. Our group shared the road with people of all ages and nationalities. Including a trio of nuns and a man returning on a quest to rediscover a path, he had taken with his father as a child. This man's story had many of us in tears. His story had us look at our trip from a different perspective; it made us think of what walking the Camino would mean to our future selves.
On a recent trip to Cincinnati, I realized how inspiring it can be to continue sharing our travel stories when we return home. A close family friend is a pastor at a church in Ohio, and I was able to hear him preach during this trip. His sermon, “It Will be Solved by Walking.” Talked about how the path you think you are on, may not be what God intended for you. In your walk with Him, God will make His intended purpose clear. During his sermon, our friend introduced my family. He shared how my Camino stories and the lessons I learned from planning that pilgrimage had inspired him to walk the Camino a few years ago. He is returning to do the Camino again this week, and now his travel stories are empowering others.
For years people have been sharing their life stories to pass on history and culture. Why not tell one another about our travel experiences, especially if you’ve been transformedby it?Here are some tips to help you get started sharing your travel stories.
Tips On Sharing Your Travel Story
1. Pay Attention: Observe your surroundings. Look for the stories behind the scenes of major landmarks. Listen to your tour guide's antidotes. Engage your senses, hear the music coming from the bagpiper on the corner; smell the flowers in the local market; taste the Nutella spread generously on your crêpe and see the dancers in their brightly colored skirts dancing the flamenco.
2. Just Do It: Don't hide behind your camera trying to get the perfect Instagram shot. Mount an e-bike and explore the city, attend a local cooking class, jump on stage with those flamenco dancers, get in a kayak and paddle the river. Experiencing the local culture gives you personal authentic stories to tell.
3. Make Friends: Talk to people. Share your stories with others in your group. Meet the locals and have a conversation with them. Go to the neighborhood coffee shop or bar. Take a free walking tour of the city, check out what is going on at the local community center, or join a yoga class. Some of my best travel stories have been about the people I met along my way.
4. Write About It: Take time to reflect on your experience. Try journaling, posting on Instagram, creating a travel blog, or drawing about your trip. If you are traveling in a group, make time to process your day by sharing the best and worst things that happened with each other. Or as a group, set an intentional focus for your reflection. You can use this reflective creativity to help recount your stories.