Speechlessness To Storytelling

Henry Haney
April 24, 2020
“Traveling — it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

14th century Muslim scholar Ibn Battuta said this of traveling after spending a lifetime doing so, trekking and sailing from Morocco to Beijing, from the Swahili Coast to the Maldives. He was the Marco Polo of the Islamic World, a religious judge, an explorer, but most importantly, he was a storyteller.

And that’s what, among many other things, we are here at Triad Studios. Returning from a week of spring break with fresh memories of adventures at home and abroad, we bring now carry a new cache of vibrant stories that enrich ourselves and those around us. Because, as Ibn Battuta said, traveling does not just emblazon experiences in our own minds, but it gives us the capacity to share what we saw and did and learned with the people in our lives.

Traveling works wonders in making this world we live in, a world that we see as incalculably massive, seem far more compact and connected than we could otherwise comprehend. In watching Triad’s video documenting the UNC Kenan-Flagler South Africa Global Immersion Elective, or GIE, student Martin Hottel said that the program “introduces you to humanity.”

That quote carries the core purpose of traveling. Whether it’s chatting with your rickshaw driver on the streets of Bangkok or visiting Hansen’s disease patients in Guayaquil, traveling shows the many facets of the human experience. When in South Africa, Baaqir,, and Justin spent a day touring corporations such as Citibank and Procter & Gamble, viewing firsthand the economic versatility of the country. The next day, they spent time in Alexandra, one of the country’s rural areas called a township. Baaqir noted the disparity between the two days, the contrast between global economic prosperity and systemic abject poverty. In both situations, Baaqir saw the role that media and storytelling can play in being a window of opportunity and a vehicle for change.

As inherently social and curious beings, humans are driven by an intense desire to launch themselves into the unfamiliar. It was not apathy that took Ibn Battuta on unprecedented journeys, and it is that same curiosity that sends our team across the planet.

At Triad, we understand that traveling is not just a type of entertainment. It is wholly and profoundly more than that — it is a fount of inspiration, an experience of humility, an opportunity for growth. None of us would be quite who we are without the experiences we have had trekking across the world and as we move forward, we’ll follow the words of Ibn Battuta. We’ll use that speechlessness to become the best storytellers we can.