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How To Take A Journey Instead Of A Trip

IMB_slide_projector_9x9j I used to hate slideshows. Not Powerpoint as many people call slideshows today, but the old style of slideshow. The one where you set up a carousel projector to show lots of little negatives encased in small cardboard frames to unwilling family and friends. If you are under a certain age, you probably won't know what I'm talking about – but that moment of having to sit through someone's vacation photos with the narration of "and this is us in front of the <insert random place name here>" is unfortunately familiar. The problem isn't that the trip itself was boring, or that you're a cold unfeeling person because you struggle to sit through the shared holiday experience of someone you usually care about. The real problem is that the way the story was told left much to be desired. A trip is something no one cares about except the people who took it.

IMB_80Trains1 A journey, on the other hand is more significant. It is something that invites you to take part. Something that has a destination or vision in mind for where someone is headed or what they are trying to do. A journey is a story that matters. This was my thought when I came across Monisha and Harald's journey. They are travelling across India on 80 trains in 3 months and are in the midst of their journey right now. As their site describes,the chaotically efficient Indian railway system is "the largest civilian employer in the world, featuring luxury trains, toy trains, a hospital on wheels, the steepest, the slowest, and the second longest train journeys in the world." Chances are, you're already intrigued by their journey as I was when I first read about it. 

Yet, I don't actually know Monisha or Harald. They aren't personal contacts of mine, and though I might hear back from them if they read this – it is not necessarily about having a personal connection. You might watch a slide show from a family member who you love and find it difficult to get involved in their story, yet reading Monish and Harald's journey is interesting. You can follow them in real time on Twitter at @80trains and share it with others. That is the power of having a journey – it lets others get involved. How many travel brands could inspire this kind of content? Or what about small businesses sharing the story of the evolution of their business? When someone cares about the outcome of any story, they are more likely to try to help and be part of it. So what journey are you taking?


Credit: Thanks to Arun Rajagopal for sharing this link to the 80 Trains Project.

5 thoughts on “How To Take A Journey Instead Of A Trip”

  1. We should all be lucky enough to take a journey rather than just a trip. You’re right that the stories make a difference — on a business trip you fly somewhere, take care of business, and fly home. But if you are able to take a walk, or talk to people, or see something that is different from home, you’re on your way to a journey. (And one quick correction — slides aren’t negatives, they’re transparent versions of the actual photo. On a negative, the colors are the opposite of what they would really be, orange for blue, black for white, etc. We have boxes of slides that I’m supposed to someday scan and turn into digital photos.)

  2. I tend to think it’s more about the skills of the storyteller than the technology. If these two collected all their photos and didn’t share anything ’til the end, you might feel the same apathy about watching their long old-school slideshow — unless they are raconteurs on the level of a Garrison Keillor.

  3. Hi there Rohit, blimey that was a really lovely read! Thank you so much for taking the time to join in on our journey, and for that matter, absolutely grasping the point from the outset. We have more or less managed to keep people alerted in real time, though that is difficult with internet connections over here, but it is a hell of a lot of fun as well as quite a tolerance and patience-testing adventure. And the best bit is that people like you have altered the paths we’ve taken by stopping us and turning us in differene directions with suggestions from their own experience. Thanks for following us and we hope to keep you as entertained as you have been so far. Monisha x


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Rohit is the author of 8 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.

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