Brand building through storytelling

Where will we go when we’re not flying or driving?

Something odd struck me last Friday as I wove through the crowds at a familiar downtown corner. I had just made way for a stroller, collided with a couple of shopping bags and dodged a wildly gesticulating guy who was shouting into his cell phone. Any time but high summer, this would be a typical lunch-hour street scene in Toronto. But come July, I’ve always been the queen of the sidewalk, striding along with room to spare while half the city chills out on a dock somewhere. Not this year, when oil prices soared as airlines cut flights and started charging for carry-on bags.

I walk everywhere, every day. I listen to voices (few of them American). I overhear anxious conversations about what it costs to drive to work (let alone to the cottage). No doubt about it: people who once fled the heat of the city are now staying put.

The way things are going, I’ll be traveling less myself. My first reaction to this prospect was a vague sense of injustice. While my maximum tolerance for cottaging is two days (any longer than that, and I start pining for a bookstore), I’ve grown fond of hiking through the vineyards of Provence and concluding my day at a Michelin-starred hideway overlooking a rose garden. I thought that travel, along with writing, would be the great reward of my post-corporate life. Why not? I’d earned it.

But perhaps what I’ve earned is time for adventure. And there are ways to escape my routine that don’t involve boarding a plane or loading up the car. I could take a cooking course or a Brazilian drumming workshop. I could revisit the Shakespearean plays I wasn’t old enough to appreciate the first time around. And I’ll have lots of company. Blue-skying a bit, I have a hunch that traveling less will bring home-bound adventurers through street festivals, study circles, virtual think tanks and all kinds of other things we’ve barely begun to imagine. Creativity is part of our inheritance as humans. So is the urge to explore, and to share what our discoveries with other people. I’m looking forward to a new kind of journey.

Posted by Rona

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