Ways to Tell the Story of Your Adventure
There are many ways to skin a cat; many ways to share your adventure story (about the time you skinned that cat, perhaps). Each one comes with pros and cons. Before you commit to one over another, it’s worth spending some time to ask yourself what is the point of your adventure, and what is the point of you going to the effort to share that story.
Asking yourself these questions might be helpful.
- Why do you want to have the adventure?
- Why do you want to tell the story of the adventure?
- Who do you want to share the story with?
- What is the end goal of the story-telling?
- How are you going to balance sharing obligations (for sponsors, for your worried mum) with the authenticity of the journey itself?
Here are a few ways to tell the story of your adventure. I have, at various times, done each of them.
- Have a brilliant adventure. Come home and tell nobody except your friends back in the pub. Adventure at its purest. Storytelling and personal satisfaction in its purest, simplest, least showy-offy form (although I have to confess it is nice to have one or two adventure stories quietly up your sleeve for when the right occasion to show off arises!).
- Have a brilliant adventure. Come home and write a book about it (or paint a picture). Adventure un-impeded by clutter. Storytelling with the added challenge, pleasure, and satisfaction of engaging your brain to create something ordered and beautiful from the chaos of the journey. It’s unlikely to go viral, but your grandchildren may one day be proud of it.
- Have a brilliant adventure. Photograph or film your experiences along the way. This brings hassle, expense, and heavy kit into your journey, as well as interrupting its natural flow. It can, however, also lead to a heightened engagement with the situation you are in, and remind you to remain immersed in the trip (rather than just plodding along dreaming of being back home eating ice cream). Come home and share your story — on a blog, on social media, in a book, a film, a film festival. The story-creating time may well now be longer than the journey itself, but so too is the period that your story can reach and inspire an audience.
- Have a brilliant adventure. Photograph or film your experiences along the way. Share them, in real time, as they happen on your adventure. This brings hassle, expense, and heavy kit into your journey, as well as massively interrupting its natural flow. It also brings the outside world into your journey, as people comment online about your story, and you find yourself committing time and a portion of your brain, to engaging with people back there in the ‘real world’ that you originally chose to leave behind in order to have the adventure. The more of the trip you share, the less you have for yourself. The ‘nowness’ of your story-telling brings a level of heightened audience interest during your adventure. Your story is rough, raw, real, emotional — all the good stuff that adventures throw at you. But the story ends for ever once it has dropped off the bottom of the social media feed. There’s very little work to be done after the trip itself, freeing up lots of nice time you can use to check Twitter.
Whichever option you choose, have you noticed what comes first in every instance? Without a satisfying, authentic adventure you have no chance of a good story.
Originally published at www.alastairhumphreys.com on June 22, 2016.