Sharing Travel Stories

By Nola Beldegreen

When we think about our travel experiences most of us tend to look at pictures. We pull out photo albums and scroll through thousands of photos in digital format on a computer. What we sometimes forget to do is to think about the special moments--the vignettes--that are what really make travel so exceptional; our travel experiences that tend to become life lessons or moments we want to share with our children. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Vasilis Akoinoglou-

During a trip to Washington D.C., a sunny morning quickly turned into torrential downpours. By the time I was lucky enough to get into a taxi, I was drenched. After telling the driver my destination I asked something like “When will this rain ever stop?” As we drove, the driver paused and then said, “To me, this rain is very beautiful…I wish it was like this more in my country, because crops would grow and our people would not be so hungry.” I think of this exchange often, especially when it’s raining.

A few months later, I was on a business trip. As I waited for a continental breakfast in my room, I thought I was imagining the wonderful aroma of coffee and warm rolls. Actually, I was, because outside of my door was a banquet table with full breakfasts for seven! I called downstairs. “I think there’s been a mistake.” The person at the other end initially thought that I was calling to add a steak. My handwritten “1” on the room service form had looked to someone like a “7” and they had sent up an amazing amount of food for a baseball team.

I never got a picture of the 32 plates of food representing my breakfast for seven, but I have an indelible memory of that food cart. Even without a picture, I’ve told this story many times over the years. It tends to get people to laugh and tell one of their favorite food stories from their travels.

So, what can we do we when we have a memorable travel moment that may not make its way into a photo? First, we should make a point to share the stories with our friends and colleagues. We should also write them down somewhere. It’s especially easy now with social media and websites that allow us to post our travel journals. The best moments in my travels have been the ones that gave me a belly laugh, or a life lesson or the opportunity to see a simple thing in a different light.

The photographs in our scrapbooks may fade with time and the digital ones may disappear because of a faulty hard drive. But it’s the story, if retold and shared, that will never be lost.


Artwork credit: Vasilis

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