The art of storytelling.

4.5 weeks
32 days
768 hours
46.080 minutes
2.764.800 seconds

This is how long my trip to Southeast Asia lasted. A trip of a lifetime. Well, I know that the majority of backpackers travel far longer than that but for me this trip marked the end of my academic career (I had just handed in my master’s dissertation) and as I have stressed multiple times, it was my first ever backpacking trip. So I wasn’t the only one excited about it. I have an awesome bunch of loved ones around me that were just as passionate about this trip as I was.

So here you are after those 2.764.800 seconds, with your head still in the clouds but your feet already on the ground back home. Somehow you feel in need of another vacation after all those new impressions, people met and experiences gained. Nah, that’s not going to happen. Your awesome bunch of people (bless them!) wants to know all about your trip! So you meet up with everyone, your eyes are gleaming, your skin is tanned and radiant and you have a big smile on your face – the post-adventure glow rests on you.

Then you start telling your story and shortly after you started off, you get caught up in details, trying to transmit each feeling, sight, smell or sound that caught your attention. Unfortunately I have experienced that it is impossible to completely convey all these things. And that’s totally okay! It is you who went on that trip and you are lucky to being able to say that you experienced all this. When talking about your trip though, you will never have your listeners as spellbound as you would want to. In my experience, it is best to talk about those stories that you either found most fascinating or those that irritated you, a.k.a. where the culture clash happened. With respect to my Southeast Asia trip I always tell the story of us at a bus station in Vietnam trying to get to from A to B. None of the people around us spoke English but desperately wanted to help us. “Helping us” implied six Vietnamese men and women grabbing our arms, attempting to pull us into their vans and take us wherever we wanted to go.

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Accompany these compelling stories with photos. Do not bore your family and friends with the 3.125 photos you took. Make a pre-selection or select them spontaneously while you tell your stories. No one wants to admire the countless pictures you took of yourself as part of a girly-sunset-photoshoot or numerous photos of the same attraction from ten different angles.

Sometimes it can be frustrating, repetitive and exhausting to talk about your travel stories – for both you and the listener. As long as you keep up your glow and talk about it in a short, snappy and entertaining way, you can really mesmerize others with your adventures and remind yourself yet again of just how superb the trip was.

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