A friend of mine recently got back from Europe. He sent out a tantalizing email summing up his trip and included links to photos with mini descriptions for each album. As I was reading the descriptions, I realized that I really would rather hear the stories about each photo in person. Then I realized that I couldn’t really remember the last time any of my friends or family sat down to really listen to ALL the stories that went with all the pictures from a trip, whether mine or a friends. I think this is a lost element of traveling, the post-trip. We often get to share snippets of a trip with many people to the point where we get down the 60-second elevator version of it. I for one want to bring back the trip slideshow. Put me on a couch and in front of a projector and tell me every detail of your trip so I can vicariously be there.
Everyone wants to travel but not many people want to listen to others’ adventures. It was one of the oddest things for me to come back from my first big trip and had to sum it up in a short sentence to answer to the general question asked by everyone, “So how was the last 6 months of your life?” One of the most fantastic parts of traveling are the stories that you experience whether airport disasters, experimenting with new food or connecting with a local. Stories need to be told and a key part of the equation is having someone there to listen to them. The trip slideshow is a lost art that needs revival for this very reason. So next time a friend gets back from traveling, take the extra time to really listen to the stories and hope that you have a friend that will listen to yours too! Having been in both positions as the listener and story-teller, this part really completes the trip and keeps the wonderful memories alive in a much richer way than the one-sentence summaries!