The storyteller in me has since Friday (a week ago) brought me from Berlin in Germany to Pristina in Kosovo. Two cities, two capitals with different pulses, meeting places and architectural monuments. There are many differences between the two places, in Berlin well-groomed dogs walks in leash with their owner, in Pristina the dogs are homeless and sit on a street corner hoping to be given a pat or treat. Both cities lure you in with history and contemporary presence, before you settle down in some rustic restaurant or cafe to gather energy for a further meeting with the city.
Traveling is a strong motif in the folk tales, the hero or heroine must go on a journey to fight trolls, find treasure, overcome obstacles, meet good helpers and then travel back home with new knowledge that will benefit the society, the story ends with a world in balance. The folk tales tell us that a world in harmony requires someone to travel out into the unknown and go back home with something new.
There are often several reasons why the protagonist in a traditional story has to travel, often due to poverty. Or it is an imbalance in society like the king’s daughter is cidnapped or something valuable is stolen. Sometimes there are some who are greedy like a king who cannot get enough of gold and glitter and send off whoever is considered least valuable to the «society» to bring back something valuable. It is not always the case that the story gives a reason, the protagonist just leaves. But it is the young person who travels, because the story is about the young and promising person who will save the world by coming home with new knowledge.
There is one story that you find in multiple cultures and has also been used in other non-traditional narratives such as novels, where the poor have a dream that if he travels to that and that place, he will hear something that provides great wealth. The protagonist leaves and arrives at a certain place told in the dream, after a hard journey and with much exploration to find out what the dream has told him. There, the protagonist meets another character who tells you should not listen to or believe in dreams. For the person himself has dreamed that if he went to it and that place he would find a treasure. The place the other describes is the home of the protagonist. The protagonist goes home and finds the treasure that will provide wealth for the rest of his life. The journey is not just a means of change, the journey itself is changing, it is discovering who one is in the context of other strangers. It is to discover the value of one’s self and one’s movement in the context.
As a storyteller, I get the opportunity to travel a lot, as many traditional stories require travel, the stories also create movement in the storyteller. There are many reasons why the storyteller in our time travels, there are few storytellers and the skills should be disseminated, the storytellers are in networks that extend beyond the local context in which they are, storytellers invite each other to strengthen their local networks, to increase their competence. and expand the skills. Storytellers travel as part of their livelihood through tours as in the cultural school bag (a touring system in Norway). But the journey also has a spiritual level, one is keen to gain insight into the stories of others, one is hunting for stories through travel. The narratives themselves may make it necessary for the storyteller to travel because one has to research places that will enhance the narrative.
Last week I moved between Berlin in Germany and Pristina in Kosovo, different cities in so many ways, I had to redefine my presence to respond to the places.
As mentioned earlier, to travel is a motif that you find in traditional stories, such as folk tales. Often the protagonist is forced to travel for a better life. These stories stretch far back, ancient motifs that helped create a culture. This motif is also very modern, through the waves of the Mediterranean come those who want a new hope for life, those who are forced out on a journey. Norwegian folk tales, a national pride, abounds with these journeys, yet many do not see the necessity many have to undertake, who call the travelers for fortune seekers who come here to change culture and “steal social benefits”.
Another aspect is the climate change that changes our travel activity. For my own part, I choose to look at it as a positive challenge, the journey must be planned with greater care and also inhaled with a different frequency.