By Kara Shaner - Guest Writer
The great traveler, Ibn Battuta once said, “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Stories, who doesn’t love a great story? But what makes a great storyteller? Experience, passion, the ability to relate to an audience? When I think back to the best stories I’ve ever heard, I was captivated by the details and transported back to the event that transpired. Travel creates new experiences, transforming us all into storytellers. Stories that become our life’s narrative. The details of memories’ past and tales of generations to come.
When looking back, I can’t even count the number of times the phrase, “Remember when we went …” started off a slew of memories surrounding great travel experiences with family and friends - stories that will live in my mind for a lifetime.
I began my role of storyteller at the ripe old age of five years old when my family vacationed in Jamaica. Most of my memories are more glimpses rather than a detailed log in my mind’s eye. Glimpses of stories passed down through photos seasoned with a little family folklore.
When I close my eyes, I can see the view of the cotton ball like clouds out of the airplane window on my first plane ride as we descended out of the sky and into the tiny Jamaican airport. I can see our “enormous” hotel accommodations, or at least the vision I have in my five year-old mind. I remember the warm sand and the blue ocean and the brilliantly green palm trees. I remember the meticulously carved ice sculptures and the ornately decorated dining rooms.
Beautiful family stories embellished over the years like the one of being carried up the side of a waterfall by our very generous, and sturdy guide because my little legs couldn’t handle the trek. Or possibly my favorite memory of all - the resort talent show - where vacationers from far and wide were privileged to hear the vocal stylings of a timid five-year-old sing “Blue Skies and Rainbows.” These are the memories that leave a lasting imprint in my mind and on my heart.
Whether it was camping or cruising, or traveling abroad or witnessing the indescribable beauty of our National Parks, travel has been a part of my life from a very young age, creating in me a desire for adventure, deepening my worldview and increasing my appreciation for life and culture - leaving me speechless and deepening my role of storyteller.