10 of our favourite storytellers you haven't heard of
Bring your travel stories to life with inspiration, tips and tricks from 10 masterful millennial storytellers making waves in their own ways.
Stories are powerful tools.
Storytelling has existed since the beginning of time. It is THE way we bring to life our imagination, relive bold and unexpected adventures, bring people together, escape reality, inspire with new ideas, enact major change and empathise with others. Whether over a dinner table, campfire with friends, through books, music, film and art - and now in the digital world.
We know the usual suspects when it comes to the world’s best storytellers. Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and Wes Anderson are no strangers to this — and they have changed the world with their stories. But what about the stories that go untold - what about your story?
We believe everyone has a story to tell - and your travel experiences deserve to be shared. Here's some inspiration, tips and tricks to bringing your travel stories to life, your way.
Let’s shine a spotlight on 10 of our favourite storytellers you probably haven’t heard of.
#1 — Clé & Doyin from The Wind Collective
The Wind Collective is not your average travel company. Clé and Doyin are fostering a community that travels not to simply escape, but to truly discover how to be better, do more for, and embrace creativity in the world. Every trip is crafted with their creative team alongside local partners. Clé grew the idea from his experience at 21, using Skyscanner’s ticket to ‘anywhere’ option and ending up in Tel Aviv for 10 days (which turned into a 6 month trip).
Takeaway: Pique your audience’s curiosity by challenging them. Offer them something that seems familiar, but in an entirely reimagined way. Show them the world from a different angle. Challenge them to travel differently. Creatively.
#2 — Adam, Daniela, Elyssa & Bonjwing from Drift Magazine
Together, these co-founders have created a magazine that celebrates coffee culture around the world. The Drift story is best told by them: “Coffee sits in the background of some of the most important moments in our lives: the first time we told new friends we’d like to get to know them better, a second date, a business meeting, a passion project completed, a time we caught up with long-lost loved ones after years apart. More than anything else, coffee is tied to a sense of place and a sense of community.”
Takeaway: Choose one element or detail in your environment, and craft your story around it. In doing so you capture your audience’s attention. You free them of distraction so they focus on your one important element — and leave with a clear takeaway message. Madrid tour through a cafe crawl anyone?
#3 — Alfonso & Andy from Unfold
Ever seen a beautiful Insta story and wondered how it was made? It was likely with Unfold. Unfold is an app that brings great design to the masses. A simple tool that immediately elevates your photos and words into a beautiful story. But this isn’t by accident. Founder Alfonso designs the app’s templates based on observing and noting down the details of great design in the real world. Whether it’s the layout of magazine editorials, or how photos are presented in photography exhibitions. It all culminates in story templates that flow (and are hard to mess up with).
Takeaway: Draw inspiration from the unexpected to make connections. The way Alfonso looked at things in a novel way helped write his story (and led to a $1M business!). Tell us what you learned from your travels. How has it helped you approach problems in a different way?
#4 — Guido van Helten, Visual Artist & Photographer
Guido is an Australian visual artist and photographer whose contemporary street art appears across the world. Through photography and large-scale mural installations, he explores the concepts of community and identity. A mural in Tehran, Iran celebrates 50 years of diplomatic ties to Australia. Another in Tennessee, USA depicts representatives of a community undergoing rapid change. His work usually depicts people and each piece is extremely realistic.
Takeaway: Simplify the complex by visualising concepts. Add further impact by connecting ideas and concepts to something physical (whether a location, or an object). Pay attention to the details. Your travel photography should do all of this. It shouldn’t just be ‘pretty’.
#5 — Dani Roche
Dani begins her story by telling us she has ‘a Neopets tattoo to commemorate 15 years navigating online spaces’. (Remember Neopets??) Her bold, unapologetic self-promotion on her About page paints a clear picture of what to expect from her work. Her passion for the digital space and forward-thinking has even garnered a nod from Forbes, as one of 30 Under 30 individuals “rewriting the rules of marketing and advertising”. She’s managed to push beyond ‘influencing’, regularly approaching brand collaboration in novel ways via her creative agency Kastor & Pollux. Definitely one to watch!
Takeaway: Don’t filter yourself to fit what you already see. Be you. Our stories are (and should be) unique to us. So break the rules, or rewrite them. Don’t chase the same Insta shots, or travel to the ‘popular’ places. Travel where you want to go and then write about it. Critics be damned!
#6 — Miranda Tapsell, Actress
Australian Miranda shares her story as an Indigenous actress in her memoir Top End Girl. It’s a clear look into her life, and how she continually strives to ensure diverse stories are being told on screen. The book’s name is a play on the 2019 film she co-wrote and stars in: Top End Wedding. A story about a young couple who get engaged, and plan to wed in the bride-to-be’s hometown Darwin. The catch? She only has 10 days off work, and her mother is nowhere to be found! Miranda's also best known for starring in The Sapphires. Her memoir excerpt reads “Humanity is brought back to Aboriginal people when they see themselves reflected on screens in all their complexity.” Stories can be the best way to approach such complexity.
Takeaway: The power of the digital world, is that all of us now have a platform to share. So celebrate diversity in your stories. Travel opens our eyes to a whole different world out there, make sure you capture it all. Don’t be afraid to write a story that needs to be told.
#7 — Luke & Nell from What If We Walked
In the summer of 2017, Luke and Nell walked the Via Francigena - an ancient trail from from Canterbury in the UK to Rome. Their story started with a ‘what if’ and led to a 2,000km trip that took them 4 months to complete. They’ve since distilled the experience into 9 life lessons they picked up along the way — from ‘You don’t need all that much’ to ‘Anxiety is a bit useless’. They also challenge the indoor-lovers of us with their tips on why walking is a great way to see the world.
Takeaway: A great story talks of transformation. Luke and Nell could easily have walked the 2,000km, sharing epic photos and ‘top things to see’ blog posts. But they went one step further, they reflected on how the experience personally changed their outlook on life. Tell us how travel transformed you.
#8 — Emily Weiss from Glossier
After 3 years of interviewing celebs and fashionistas about their beauty habits and testing a heap of products herself, Emily discovered something. There was a huge gap in the beauty market. “The beauty industry historically won dollars by making women feel like they weren’t enough,” Weiss says. It was time to democratise beauty. Today Glossier celebrates diversity, both in the models its uses for its products, and in every pop-up store. Each store is designed to take elements from the city it pops-up in, so no store is designed the same (see the design behind the Miami store here). Models also break down beauty stereotypes that had cropped up in the last few decades.
Takeaway: Channel Emily and be a guide in your storytelling - more than just pretty photos and empty words. There’s diversity in every place, really explain it and show it to us.
#9 — Maisie Williams from Daisie
The name may sound familiar for her portrayal of a particular Stark. But Maisie’s since moved on and is stirring up great things as an entrepreneur. She’s co-founder of Daisie, a platform for creative professionals to showcase their work and find collaborators. Turns out her acting career (and story of how it came about), was great at equipping her with the skills needed for start up life. Her story is best told by her via her TED talk.
Takeaway: Be vulnerable and transparent — tell your story flaws and all. It makes it more relatable in the end. Travel comes with its ups and downs. Deep down we really know those polished poses on a beach aren’t reflective of the real story. So mix it up. Tell us what went well, and what didn’t go to plan.
#10 — Billie Eilish
If you haven’t heard of Billie by now, you may be under a music culture rock. Having grown up singing and writing music her entire life, Billie uploaded the song ‘Ocean Eyes’ to SoundCloud back in 2016 (at only 13 years of age) where it gained millions of plays. A completely unique sound, the song defied traditional music categories. It was also made in a simple way. Billie co-wrote the song with her brother, and produced it right in his bedroom. Fast forward to now, the 17 year old is continuing to produce unique pieces — and making sure she sticks to her originality. Regardless of the backlash.
Takeaway: Be candid and don’t be afraid to be original. When you write your story, it may sound different to everything else out there. A basic set up is also enough! That won’t reduce impact of your story. No fancy Lightroom filter or camera gear will make your story any better than someone else’s.
Whether you're embarking on a personal project to document your travel stories, getting out of a creative rut, or a blazing travel storyteller, we hope these 10 storytellers and their stories provide you new room for inspiration!
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