We can never be certain of how a trip or move abroad will pan out, only that we’ll have stories to tell.

We live in the Information Age with greater access to the knowledge of the world than ever before.

We can look at high resolution photos of all destinations and countries.

We can watch vlogs from other travellers and expats to learn from their experiences in target destinations.

We can even use map applications to zoom in on exact streets across the world and view what they’re like.

Yet we can never be sure of how we will fare in a country.

The only thing we can be certain of is that we will have stories to tell.

Your hero’s journey

The uncertainty that arises when travelling or emigrating need not be limiting.

On the contrary, it’s because there’s a range of scenarios that can play out that stories develop in the first place.

A trip that occurs exactly as planned isn’t a story, it’s a checkbox report.

Sure, you can meet an itinerary to exacting standards. But if your entire trip is based around regimented outcomes, you need to question why you’re going overseas at all.

A story is a narrative, not a to-do list. It involves somebody undertaking a journey, encountering novelty, uncertainty and challenges but learning from and overcoming them and experiencing a transformation in character as a result.

Travel and emigration provide just this. They render you the protagonist in a journey where outcomes are all but certain. But by the end, you walk away from the trip enhanced, your mind broadened by the possibilities that exist in another country.

It’s harder to achieve these stories in our daily routines. Without the movement abroad, our lives plod along with the same exactitude in the same environment. Novelty occurs only on the off chance. The stories to tell are the same as the stories from everyone else around.

Stories To Tell Journey

Stories to tell from travelling

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller” – Ibn Battuta

We can all recount travel stories we’ve heard from others.

Maybe it’s a gripping travelogue from a distinguished author. Maybe it’s a video log from a travel blogger you follow. Or maybe it’s your friend’s escapades trekking across another continent.

Whatever the origin, what strikes us when we hear the story is how experiential it is—the uniqueness of a tale in a foreign land so culturally different to our own.

As I wrote in the art and science of vagabonding: “The novelty of the adventure is what charges the experience with significance. If you could know exactly how your mind and body would engage with an activity beforehand, the experience wouldn’t be worth undertaking.”

Key is a willingness to submit yourself to the travel experience no matter how it plays out. This means that whether the experience is good or bad, you’ll have something that you’ve learned about the world that you wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t travelled.

Accept that when you travel, the odd thing will go wrong here and there. In fact, many travellers argue that if something hasn’t gone wrong during your travels, you have yet to be initiated as a traveller. It’s only when you encounter a mishap or difficulty and overcome it that you’ve earned your stripes as a traveller.

Remember, as long as you survive, you’ll always have a cool story to tell. Of course the majority of trips aren’t going to be fraught with life-threatening situations. But whether it’s a casual weekend city break or summiting Mount Everest, make your own stories to tell.

Stories To Tell Travel

Stories to tell from moving abroad

Travel can be long or short but eventually the trip(s) will end.

However, emigrating to another country can be a way of beginning a new ongoing chapter in the narrative of our lives.

I wrote in my article on profound experiences: “[a] life leaning towards experiences and away from physical goods is an upgrade. An upgrade on the memories you create and the ongoing narrative you compose.”

An experience-oriented life is one focused on actions and behaviours not things. Experiences that lead to fantastic memories rather than an accumulation of goods.

Moving abroad doesn’t have to be scary. Once you overcome the common mental weasels that attempt to put you off, you realise that the story of your life is about to get a lot more exciting.

Moving abroad can provide a sustained story that you’ll always have to tell. If you decide to switch countries or move back to your hometown, you’ll still have that story of your time there for the rest of your life.

Stories To Tell Emigration


The Information Age we live in allows us to anticipate with high fidelity what foreign lands are like before we even set foot on them. Despite this, we can never be certain of how a trip or move abroad will pan out. The only certainty is that we’ll have stories to tell.

It’s because there’s a degree of uncertainty when abroad that stories can develop in the first place. Travel and emigration give your life an unequalled type of novelty and unique stories to tell.

Regardless of what happens when travelling, as long as you make it back in one piece, you’ll have great stories to tell. Some of the bad stories when travelling can be the most interesting and life-changing, something that you learn from for years to come.

Moving abroad can be a way of extending your story. Even if you decide to move again or go back to your country of origin, you’ll carry lifelong stories with you about your time in the country.

Now that you’ve read this, the question remains, how is the story of your life going to pan out?