Storytelling Starts With Connection

Words by Rachel Nicole

Scrambling over rocks, climbing among foothills, dodging waterfalls (or maybe not dodging them, because where’s the adventure in that?), making our way to the top…the wind rustling leaves, then dropping them around us as our voices-turned-laughter pours out over the canyon. We had only just met the previous night, but already had a strong bond; already were lifelong friends.

This is the story I find so very often when I travel. Before I leave on my next adventure, I always make it a point to follow and get to know some people who live in the area I am going to explore next. I often travel alone, maybe just knowing one person at the destination, maybe not knowing any; but, being an extrovert, I find it very important to connect with people everywhere I visit.

True, you do need to be careful when traveling, but I feel as if more people use that as an excuse to not connect with people than as an actual guideline for traveling. Every single person I have met while traveling has been so extremely kind and generous. Often they open their homes to me, inviting me into their lives and their story. I don’t take this lightly, because being a storyteller runs through the blood in my veins.

This is why I am so drawn to adventure, portrait, and wedding photography. Each one of these is very different from one another, but they all share one unique trait: when done right, they’re all about telling a story. The story of the person or the people you’re photographing: their life story or the story of their love, of how they found each other, and what that looks like for them…or it could be of the places you’re exploring: the wild prairies, majestic mountains, calm and quiet rivers and roaring oceans, the deserted buildings, ghost towns, places that were once inhabited and are now left alone to care for themselves. There’s so much beauty to be found on this earth and I believe that the whole of the beauty is within the story. These are the stories I yearn to tell.

People and places, not things, are what I’m most interested in. Things don’t last. People, connections, places, and stories, they last. They get retold, they are passed down from generation to generation, they don’t get old, used up, or tossed out. They never go bad. They live on and on.

So go out and make that connection. Go on an adventure and use your eyes to see the story, the real thrill of it. Don’t do whatever it is that everyone else does; make it your own. Real stories aren’t made by following the path of those before you, copying what they did, or seeing what they saw. Real stories are made by forging your own path and doing things in a way that hasn’t been done before. Be the pioneer, both in how you adventure and in your own life. That will undoubtedly affect the lives of others in a way they haven’t been touched before, and that’s where beautiful stories are made.

 

— Rachel Nicole

Follow me on instagram @imrachelnicole / @rachelnicolephoto to keep up with my adventures, or check out my website www.imrachelnicole.com to see all the crazy things I’m doing. I’ll see ya around!

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