Sustainability Through Storytelling, with JoAnna Haugen

Episode 189

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JoAnna Haugen is a seasoned writer, speaker, and founder of Rooted, a solutions-storytelling platform. Her work has been published in more than 60 print and online publications, including Fast Company, Popular Science, Mongabay, BBC, and CNN. Her time as a returned Peace Corps volunteer, commercial travel writer, intrepid world traveler, international election observer, and American expatriate informed the establishment of Rooted, a storytelling platform at the intersection of sustainable travel, environmental conservation, and community-focused advocacy efforts. Rooted’s mission is to responsibly document, support, celebrate, and share sustainable travel initiatives that put communities first and to help others do the same. Learn more about JoAnna’s background here: Destination on the Left is joined by JoAnna Haugen, the founder of Rooted, a solutions storytelling platform. On our podcast, JoAnna talks about using the diverse voices of a local community to help tell that destination’s story. The world is a messy place, and JoAnna shares her thoughts around embracing the messiness to develop a greater sense of authenticity. Learn how she and her company use authenticity, creativity, and collaboration to navigate the new challenges posed by the global pandemic.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • JoAnna’s journey into the travel and tourism industry
  • Why JoAnna was inspired to combat the damage caused by travel writing by creating her own storytelling platform
  • How Rooted is helping destinations thrive
  • Rooted’s three target audiences, and how the platform brings them together as a cohesive force
  • How JoAnna is using her platform to promote responsible travel communication and sustainable travel
  • How JoAnna’s experiences in Kenya shaped her entire perspective of the travel and tourism industry
  • JoAnna’s perspective on what destinations should be doing to stand out from the crowd
  • How destinations can embrace the diverse voices of their communities
  • Different ways destinations are using authenticity, creativity, and collaboration to navigate the new challenges posed by the global pandemic
  • Projects that JoAnna will be introducing in the near future
  • Best practices from JoAnna’s Collaboration in Crisis Guide

The Power of Storytelling in Travel and Tourism

JoAnna Haugen is the founder of Rooted, a solutions storytelling platform seated at the intersection of sustainable travel, environmental conservation, and community-based advocacy efforts. On our podcast, JoAnna talks about using the diverse voices of a local community to help tell that destination’s story. The world is a messy place, and JoAnna shares her thoughts around embracing the messiness to develop a greater sense of authenticity. Learn how she uses authenticity, creativity, and collaboration to navigate the new challenges posed by the global pandemic.

Local Solutions with a Global Impact

JoAnna says that “local solutions can have a global impact,” and that nugget inspired her to look for ways to combat the damage and destruction that travel writing has on the destinations we travel to and the people we meet while we’re there. It culminated in the creation of her storytelling platform “Rooted,” which aims to responsibly document, support, celebrate, and share sustainable travel initiatives that put communities first and help others do the same. We need to communicate about people, places, and the planet in a way that can activate impactful change. To accomplish this, JoAnna focuses on three specific audiences: travel service providers, representatives for local travel initiatives, and content creators.

Responsible, Sustainable Travel and Tourism

Many of us travel to certain places because the people there have shaped the destination as we know it. At the end of the day, JoAnna’s goal is to lift up local people, enterprises, and communities to highlight the work they’re doing and create vibrant destinations. That is what drives Rooted’s initiative to amplify everything being done on the local level. And in the midst of this global pandemic, we have an opportunity to tell an even greater story. If we want to maintain a sustainable travel and tourism industry moving forward, we need to do so in a way that lifts destinations up and paints them as something more than a pretty backdrop.

Nicole Mahoney: 00:23 Hello listeners. This is Nicole Mahoney, host of destination on the left. Welcome to this week’s episode with another interesting guest Joanna Haugen. In our conversation, we talk about using the diverse voices of a local community to help tell that destinations story. Joanna talks about how the world is a messy place and she shares her thoughts and how we should embrace the messiness and not step away from it to be truly authentic. I love that idea. And we talk in detail about how a destination can be more authentic. We also talk about the collaborations that Joanna has seen between tourism partners and content creators. During the COVID 19 pandemic, a little more about Joanna Haugen. She is a seasoned writer speaker, and the founder of rooted a solutions storytelling platform. Her work has been published in more than 60 print and online publications, including fast company, popular science, manga Bay, BBC, and CNN. Her time as a returned peace Corps, volunteer commercial travel writer, Intrepid world traveler, international election, observer, and American expatriate informed the establishment of rooted a storytelling platform at the intersection of sustainable travel, environmental conservation and community focused advocacy efforts root its mission is to responsibly document support, celebrate and share sustainable travel initiatives that put communities first and to help others.

Nicole Mahoney: 02:04 Do you do the same with that diverse background? I know you will gain a lot from this conversation, but before we dive into the interview, I want to share this important information with you. Joanna, thank you so much for joining us. I know we are going to learn so much from you today, but before we get started with the questions, can you tell us your story in your own words, if find, to add so much more context to our conversation? Absolutely. Thanks for having me on today, Nicole. My name is Joanna and I am the founder of rooted, which is a storytelling platform at the intersection of sustainable travel, environmental conservation and community based advocacy efforts. I came to my work through a decade of travel and work in the industry that started my time as a peace Corps volunteer. Uh, shortly out of college, I found myself in the peace Corps.

Nicole Mahoney: 03:07 Um, strangely enough, on a muddy road in the middle of monsoon season, where I discovered that local solutions are a huge part of how we can solve some of the world’s biggest problems. Um, and taking that little nugget with me that local solutions can have global impacts. I continued on a career of, um, becoming a commercial travel writer. And of course, this is a job that a lot of people want. You get to travel around the world, meeting credible people, do incredible things and write about it and be paid. And I had a fantastic time as a commercial travel writer, but I realized that in that capacity I was doing a lot of damage that I didn’t know I was doing at the time. Um, and that comes in part with some of the tendencies in travel writing, falling back on cliches, this flyby journalism kind of mindsets.

Nicole Mahoney: 04:17 And so about five years ago, I pivoted out of commercial travel writing and started working on the other side of that and finding ways to combat the damage and destruction that travel and travel writing and storytelling can have on the destinations we like to travel to and the people we meet when we travel. So most recently, I have focused this work on rooted, which is this storytelling platform in my mission of rooted is to responsibly document support, celebrate and share sustainable travel initiatives that put communities first and to help others do the same. So I have a particular focus on responsible storytelling and how we communicate about the people and places and planet in a way that can actually activate impactful change. Um, and so, you know, that’s a lot to unpack. There is a lot to talk about when we talk about responsible storytelling in the travel space.

Nicole Mahoney: 05:32 And so, um, I, I focus on three specific audiences with this work and that would be travel service providers. Uh, so frontline workers like tour operators and, um, you know, accommodation owners, the companies that are offering, uh, travel packages, destination, um, representatives and representatives for local travel initiatives would be the second audience that I’m working with. So this would be local social impact projects and social enterprises that bump up against a travel and tourism space and finally content creators. And this would include travel writers, influencers, anybody who’s creating that content about travel experiences to share with their audiences. So this is where I find myself today after, um, a muddy trip down on the road in the peace Corps where I saw local solutions could have, um, global impacts a stint in the commercial travel writing world some time on the industry side, learning about the sustainability aspect of travel. And now I find myself here with rooted.

JoAnna Haugen: 06:51 Yeah, that’s a, that’s a really amazing, um, journey. And I’m going to ask you actually to tell that story about the local solutions, because in preparation for this interview, I did read quite a bit of information on your website, and I know it’s a really fun story, um, that really set you off. So could you just talk a little bit about what happened on that, uh, during that, uh, muddy season, uh, that gave you that first glimpse?

Nicole Mahoney: 07:21 Yeah, absolutely. So I lived in a small village called [inaudible] in the rift Valley in Kenya and monsoon season was this time of year where we were essentially shut off from our surrounding cities only because we lived several miles from the tarmac down a dirt road, a hilly road. So during monsoon season, there came a point where the rain had basically stopped. I was serving with my husband in the peace Corps and we decided that we needed to get into town to get some kerosene we needed to go to the market. So we made our way to the matatu, which is the small vehicle that it’s a band that as the public transport in Kenya hopped in the van, uh, waiting in queue Winnie and a bunch of like 20 and 30 something year old guys hopped in the van as well. We all needed to get to our closest town was called it’s called FIFA.

Nicole Mahoney: 08:33 Um, and as we started going down this muddy hilly roads, the vehicle would slide down the Hills and as we would get to the bottom of the Hills, the driver would accelerate and make his way up the next Hill, you get to the top and we’d slide down the bottom to the bottom of the Hill and we’re going along relatively fine. We are at least moving forward when we reached the bottom of one of these Hills and the matatu got stuck. And I remember thinking I’m either going to have to walk several kilometers back TQ and Blaney or several kilometers forward to the tarmac. And regardless of the way that I walk, I’m going to be ankle deep in mud. And the guys in the vehicle opened the door and they got out kind of surveyed the scene. They didn’t look concerned at all. And they had a quick little conversation.

Nicole Mahoney: 09:32 One of the men broke a leaf off of a banana tree and laid the leaf there. These huge leaves in front of one of them in front of the tires and all the men pushed on the back of the vehicle to start to get it, to move a little bit. We managed to get out of the mud and all the other men grabbed banana leaves. And they essentially did like this leapfrogging in front of the vehicle, Lang the banana leaves down and then picking, picking them up as the vehicle had driven over them, laying them down again. And they basically made a makeshift road. And before I knew it, you know, we had gotten ourselves out of the mud. The driver started accelerating up the Hill, the mentor, the least of the side, and hopped into the Mattachine. And we were on our way to, [inaudible] no big deal and, you know, serving in the peace Corps, um, in a place that has a long history of having volunteers and having aid organizations in it, I saw a certain amount of learned helplessness in my community.

Nicole Mahoney: 10:51 And that moment in the Metatron where these men created the solution, simply out of necessity was a very good vivid, a moment where I realized that local people are the people who should be at the, in the driver’s seat when it comes to creating solutions to the social and environmental issues in our world are so many solutions. If you will, are top down and the local community is not included necessarily in that problem solving, but they not only should have a voice at the table, they should be driving the conversation because they’re the ones who are very familiar with the historical and cultural context. And they know their strengths and tools that they have at their, um, that they’re available are available for them to use. And that was just made very clear to me on this particularly muddy day, one day in the rift Valley. And that that moment has always stuck with me and it has driven the work that I do now through rooted.

JoAnna Haugen: 12:06 Yeah. I love that story. And I think it demonstrates so many things that, um, are important to, you know, so many of us and that we talk about on the show a lot. And that is the whole idea of the creative solutions that come when you’re faced with a challenge and how creative is that we need to, you know, we need to make a road and to use, you know, what they had around them and to use those banana leaves, banana tree leaves in that way, I think is just such a, a fabulous, you know, demonstration of what can really happen. Okay. When you work together like that. So, um, I’m so happy you shared that. Um, I wanted to learn a little bit more about rooted. So you talked about the three audiences that you serve and you said it’s a storytelling platform. Can you talk a little bit more about, uh, the platform and, and how you’re using it?

Nicole Mahoney: 13:00 Sure. So I they’re this trifecta of audiences, really. They all intersect with each other. And my goal is to use rooted as that platform. So

Nicole Mahoney: 13:17 At the, at the end of the day, I want to lift up local, uh, enterprises, people, communities, and highlight the stories and the work that they’re doing to create vibrant communities. I mean, we travel because of the people who have made a place, what it is. So my, at the end of the day, I want to amplify and elevate local initiatives and work being done at the local level. So when I talk about the audience of the local travel initiatives and the social impact projects, what I’m doing there is sharing the stories that they have and the work that they’re doing through case studies. And, um, I’m going to be, I I’ve been starting to use Instagram to share more work of these social enterprises that bump up against tourism and really amplify

Nicole Mahoney: 14:19 These social impact projects in the travel and tourism space. Now, I, then I’m also working with travel service providers and those working in the tourism industry like DMO is to help them tell a better story and become ambassadors for the destinations where they work. And part of that has to do with talking about the local people and how we tell a responsible story about these local projects and the people in order two direct our attention and travelers money and resources Mmm. To these local spaces. So I am creating content courses and resources to help travel service providers learn how to tell about our story and to connect them with some of these social impact projects and then friendly. We have our content creators and they, um, like I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of irresponsible practices when it comes to content creation, it’s getting better, but learning how to unpack, um, the complex narratives at a local level in order to tell a better story for their public facing audiences is really important with making sure we don’t have leakage when it comes to traveling.

Nicole Mahoney: 15:55 And also, um, you know, telling a story that is, uh, has diverse voices and doesn’t exploit the place or the people who live there. So I’m connecting content creators again with some of those social impact projects, but then also connecting them with the travel service providers, because the travel service providers are the ones who are there, um, you know, frontline ambassadors in the destinations where they travel. So, you know, I’m creating content and resources to educate essentially the travel travel service providers and content creators in order to lift up this third audience of social enterprise, uh, and impact projects that bump up against tourism. And that is where rooted comes in with bringing these three audiences together. That’s fantastic. I love that. That’s really awesome. So I want to just dive into a couple of these questions under creativity and, and already you’ve shared so much creativity just in, you know, your storytelling Mmm.

Nicole Mahoney: 17:05 Your vision to bring these three audiences gather, uh, the project that you’re working on with rooted. Mmm. And you’ve been in the industry, or while you’ve been to a lot of places, you know, how very competitive it is and the tourism and hospitality industry. And I imagine, you know, and I, I don’t know, but I imagine some of that competitive nature, you know, there’s so many choices of where people can go has maybe even, um, caused, you know, some of this, whether you call it over tourism or, you know, some of these things that you’re, that you’re working to, you know, you’re working to improve, I’m curious what you think, tourism service providers destinations, what they should really be doing, um, to stand out from the crowd and what’s really gonna make a difference for them. That’s a great question. And I think we’re actually at a really pivotal moment right here to tell a better story.

Nicole Mahoney: 18:06 And what I mean by that is, you know, when during this great pandemic pause, we, we saw a lot of people in the industry talking about, you know, a better way forward, a more sustainable way forward. And a lot of that does come from, um, lifting up the communities where people work. And yet one of the things that I see a lot is the way that industry players, markets and, uh, communicate about their services. And well, I’m referring here to things like the common listicle and the references to the bucket list. And I mean, even the other day, I received a press release about the best Instagrammable places in destination XYZ. And, you know, if we want to, if we want to truly build a tourism future that is sustainable, we need to do that in a way that doesn’t flattened destinations into a pretty backdrop.

Nicole Mahoney: 19:25 And I believe that despite the fact that Instagrammable destinations and bucket lists and these kinds of things are the topics that somehow float to the top of Google. I think a lot of that has to just do with it’s click bait, miss, um, I think, you know, demos, destinations, uh, tour companies, they need to tell a better story. First of all, first of all, by stepping away from, um, storytelling that is damaging and destructive, and doesn’t do any kind of service for the places or the people that they are, um, trying to share with the people, you know, with potential travelers. So how can somebody be more competitive now that we’re coming out of this, um, pandemic? I would like to see more industry players, you know, walking the walk that they were all talking about during the lockdown about a better future. And that has to do a lot with storytelling, talking with local people, letting their voices be the guiding, um, the guiding feature for how a destination is represented.

Nicole Mahoney: 20:46 And, you know, that can be uncomfortable. Sometimes there are environmental problems, there are social problems, but that’s part of what makes a place a place than if we’re talking about presenting destinations in an authentic manner. Well, the world is messy and we need to embrace that rather than step away from it. And I think that those, uh, companies and destinations that will be competitive are the ones that are willing to embrace who they are and where they’re working and the people that live there with, you know, a full heart and, you know, both arms and, and tell that story in a very complete way. I think also, you know, coming out of, um, coming out of the black lives matter movement and the desire for more diversity in the travel industry travelers want that they’re looking for diverse voices, you know, so we need to step away from the cookie cutter, you know, Instagrammable destinations with the, the white influencer in her big brim hat, and truly represent a destination for what it is it’s messy, it’s complex, and that’s what makes travel so special.

Nicole Mahoney: 22:08 Um, and I think that companies can, that can find a way to tell that story and include locals in that story have a competitive advantage. I think that’s a really great, and, um, I love how you talk about, you know, the world is messy, the world is complex and, you know, don’t step away from it kind of lean into it. Right. And, um, what a great point as a, as a good way for travel providers and destinations, um, to embrace diversity then to bring all of those extra additional voices into the conversation and into the storytelling. I think that’s just a really a great perspective and wonderful idea. I appreciate you sharing that. And, um, I know you have some projects that you are working on coming up in the future, and I’d like to give you the opportunity to share what those are, because I think they might also, you know, further help our listeners, as they’re thinking about ways they might work in this new way of storytelling that you’re talking about.

Nicole Mahoney: 23:16 Uh, yeah, absolutely. So I am currently working on two courses. The first course will be directed for, um, directed toward travel service providers and a business marketing managers that are working for tour companies. This would also be relevant for any destination representatives. So this course is about strategies for impactful change, and it will break down for example, some of the destructive storytelling, um, tendencies currently in the industry, and then also provide of course, new ways of presenting the stories that are in the destinations, where we work. It will include ideas for inclusive and responsible content creation, how to talk about difficult social and environmental issues. It will dive into a deeper understanding of consumer psychology and behavior change. You know, we, we talk a lot about travel as a force for good. And so, you know, there’s this opportunity to empower travelers as change makers.

Nicole Mahoney: 24:33 And so this course will look at how to not only provide a spectacular travel experience, but also how to potentially engage travelers in change makers and make changes in their behavior once they’ve gone back home. Um, and then also tips for helping frontline service providers like the tour guides tell better stories as the ambassadors of their destinations. So this is one course that I am working on right now. I’m hoping to roll this out in the next couple months. No second course that I’m working on is about responsible travel writing for content creators. This course will focus on, again, breaking down some of the problematic language and specific articles, structures, and editorial choices that are made by writers. And also some suggestions on how to navigate those when it comes to discussing this with editors, because these are common tropes that we fall into in travel media.

Nicole Mahoney: 25:44 Uh, we’ll also look at narrative structure and acknowledging bias in our own writing. It’ll dive into ethics a bit, you know, there’s this whole issue of, for example, the press trip and what you should do when you encounter some questionable things on a press, trip, your obligations, and then also talk a little bit about the influence of social media, and again, how to model that behavior for the people who are following you or reading your stories. Um, so these are two courses that I am currently in the process of working on. We’ll be rolling out in the next couple months. Um, I also create other resources that, um, all three audiences that a rooted serves might find of interest. So I developed case studies, like I mentioned about social impact projects that bump up against, uh, the tourism sector. I actually just released one last week and I have a new playbook out about collaboration during crisis, and I’m pulling together a terminology guide and how to talk about complex sustainability issues in a way that actually, you know, resonates with people who don’t know the jargon. So I’m, in addition to these two courses, I’m always creating other resources then to help people become better and more responsible storytellers in this space.

JoAnna Haugen: 27:23 That’s fantastic. And where can our listeners find all of those resources?

Nicole Mahoney: 27:28 Um, so if you go to rooted, that page will redirect you to my website, which is a sub, which has a subset of Rubin and everything can be found on the resources page. Um, there will be a new page going up very soon where you’ll be able to sign up for updates on the courses that I will be putting out. So if you go to rooted, that will redirect you to exactly where you need to go, and you’ll see where you can sign up therapy, sign up for the newsletter as well. That’s a biweekly newsletter and all the updates come out in that newsletter, too.

JoAnna Haugen: 28:12 Perfect. We will have those links as well. And the show notes section for any of our listeners who weren’t able to write that down right away. So, so that is perfect. I’m really curious about this collaboration during crisis, a guide that you’ve just come out with, and that’s just a perfect segue into the other topic that we’d like to cover on the show, which is, which is collaboration. And I, I’m hoping that you can share a little bit with us, um, about, you know, what is included in that particular guide and maybe a few of the, you know, best practices that you might share with our listeners that you’re seeing as we’re moving through this crisis.

Nicole Mahoney: 28:54 [inaudible] yeah. So this was actually created. Um, the idea for this was born very early in the shelter in place left town, because I saw a very curious thing happening, and that was, um, tourism providers, closed strengths, brought everything in, in house and content creators. We’re pivoting away from the travel space. And to me, there was this huge opportunity for these two different groups of people to be working together, you know, in a time of crisis. I understand why people want to close ranks and, and, you know, go inside and, and that’s a safe space and collaboration can be so powerful during a crisis. So I went looking, you know, there were all these really creative solutions for how tourism partners were engaging their audiences, but I was specifically looking for ways that content creators and tourism partners were collaborating together during times of crisis, because that, you know, there’s not a lack of creativity in the tourism industry, but there was a lack of collaboration finding people who had actually worked together, um, from these two sectors was actually quite difficult to do so this playbook was born out of the pandemic, but the collaboration solutions are laid out in a way that they can be utilized during any future crisis.

Nicole Mahoney: 30:41 It’s essentially an idea book of ways that content creators and tourism partners can work together in times of crisis. So, you know, a couple of the things that came out of this that I discovered, uh, for example, there were a few destinations that held, uh, Instagram takeovers with content creators they’d worked with in the past. They, for example, had some content creators share information that they had learned during their time when they had visited the destinations kind of a show and tell, uh, with these Instagram takeovers, there were also some Facebook chats where content creators for interviewed by the destinations. Probably the one that I liked the most was the example of destinations that turn the tables and took this opportunity to highlight the content creators that had brought value to them by writing blog posts that called out evergreen content about their destinations written by the content Raiders, not only to, you know, drum up interest in their destinations, once tourism was picking up again, but also to show some love to the collaborative or to the content creators, who’ve done so much amazing work for them.

Nicole Mahoney: 32:08 You know, so this book lays out six collaboration ideas, and then it also provides some lessons learned. Um, some of those being that longterm relationships are key. Those collaborations that I’ve found were all born out of, uh, relationships that had been fostered over a period of time, you know, leaning into somebody you already trust is, was very important. Um, and then one of the other things I learned was that there is an opportunity to tap into local and domestic sources. So when tourism partners drum up, you know, any help from content creators outside of their local sphere, there were locals who were able to share information about local businesses offering takeout and things like this. So leaning into those local collaborations was really important. And the final piece of this, uh, collaboration playbook is a list of resources and ideas that tourism partners in particular can take advantage of for any crisis. And so I’m, you know, said 20, 26 page playbook, I believe, and it’s free available again on rooted. And I do hope, um, you know, that these lessons we learned from the pandemic lockdown can be used in a way that doesn’t freeze both tourists and partners and content creators in the future. Collaboration was so important. And those that embraced it fair it a lot better, I think, coming out of this crisis.

JoAnna Haugen: 33:54 Yeah, absolutely. And I love those ideas that you shared and, you know, I hadn’t thought about, um, especially the one that you mentioned about the destinations that highlighted those content creators, and you did see a lot during this, um, pandemic of, you know, people really, um, valuing their relationships and it, it was kind of like, it wasn’t about business. It was more about just appreciating each other, working together, getting through this together. Mmm. And how interesting that you were able to find that even between, you know, the tourism destinations or the travel service providers and those content creators, um, I hadn’t really thought about that, but what a tremendous opportunity to really, you know, uh, strengthen those relationships and again, get through this together. So I think that that’s just fantastic. I already went in and downloaded my copy. So I’m sure many of our listeners will do the same.

JoAnna Haugen: 34:58 Um, and this has been such a great conversation. I have, uh, one last question, um, that, uh, I am excited to talk to you about because I love this whole idea of, um, you know, early on in our conversation, you talked about local solutions. Um, you talked about bringing in those local voices, having the locals be, you know, at the table. And I know we are at a time of transition, you know, in travel and tourism, we were already starting down a path of transition. I feel like the pandemic has maybe accelerated some of it.

Nicole Mahoney: 35:36 Um, and it is

Nicole Mahoney: 35:37 Really having that more holistic approach to a destination and to destination marketing. And I know we’ve talked about it a little bit already, but I’m curious if you’ve given thought to Mmm. You know, the role that destination marketings and you you’ve referred to them as, um, travel, uh, service providers, you know, within a destination, the role that they have in terms of being in the community and being more like supporting the community and thinking about what’s local versus so focused on the outside, you know, as tourism marketers, we’re focused on bringing people in from far away. Um, but I think there’s been this trend, whereas tourism, marketers are also becoming more and more focused internally and within their communities. I’m curious if you’re seeing that or what your, um, what you are hopeful for as we come out of this pandemic, if you could just reflect on that.

Nicole Mahoney: 36:36 Uh, yeah. So I actually think we are going to see more focus on domestic tourism and this focus on, you know, what do we have here at home and not thinking so big, not trying to pull in all the foreigners and people from outside our communities. And that’s a really special, you know, space to be in. How often do we think about traveling, you know, far, far away, and yet there’s so much we don’t know about our own backyards. And so I actually think the idea of telling our local story to the people who live in our own communities is such a powerful and awesome opportunity. And so I do see an opportunity here to tell our local story to the people who live in our communities to deconstruct, you know, these tourists sites that were always for other people in a way that maybe made them in accessible or not really welcoming, honestly, to people who lived in our own communities.

Nicole Mahoney: 38:00 Um, there are some examples, um, and they’re not coming right to mind. I just, I read an article the other day with some examples of places that are providing, for example, discounted passes to some tourist destinations in their own communities for people who live there. And I, you know, I would love to see more, uh, deemos and destinations turning their focus inward, providing incentive for people to learn about their own destinations in a deeper, more meaningful way. Again, you know, a destination is built with this rich historical and cultural context, but what does that really mean? You know, this is an opportunity to enjoy our cities and our, our own backyards in a, in a whole new way, you know? And so I think there is an opportunity for domestic tourism and, and meeting our own residents where they are right here on our own in our own neighborhoods.

Nicole Mahoney: 39:07 But also I think this is the chance for us, as you mentioned, two, empower our frontline service providers, our tour guides, our accommodation owners in a way that, um, tells a, a richer story. You know, not every story can be told by every person and it shouldn’t be. And so I, I would love to see more travel experiences and more destinations embrace a wider range of voices within their own destination in order to provide a more diverse and a richer fabric and a richer story of the place that people want to visit. Um, actually my last trip before the lockdown, I went to Israel and I had this fantastic experience on this trip. Um, it was based on this idea of dual narratives and the whole trip was based on conversations and interactions. And, you know, we spent an evening with a Jewish rabbi and we spent a day in Bethlehem with the third generation Palestinian refugee.

Nicole Mahoney: 40:21 And we spend time with an environmentalist on the West bank who talked about water scarcity and, you know, Israel and Palestine is super complex, but it’s not one person’s story to tell. And when we have the opportunity to hear a story from several people who live in the same place, that is, that is something to take away with you when you travel. That’s a story that travelers are going to continue telling other people about long after they’ve left the destination. And that’s something that, you know, no marketing can put a price on, right. That word of mouth. And that incredible storytelling told from the, this diverse range of voices who are there. So, yeah, I think we have an opportunity both with our local audiences and then also with people who are coming in from other destinations to learn about, you know, these places that we know and love and hope to travel to again soon.

Nicole Mahoney: 41:28 Yeah. That’s really, really fantastic. Um, Joanna, thank you so much for sharing with us today. It’s been so interesting and you bring such a great perspective. Um, I love this focus on storytelling and you’ve given us so many different ways to think about it, different ways to approach it and some resources that we can, that we can look at and use. So I think that’s just really awesome. Are there any final thoughts or is there anything I didn’t ask you that you wanted to share with us before we say goodbye? You know, not, not necessarily. I just, you know, there was a, I just want to share one quote that I, I read in the Telegraph yesterday about how to avoid the colonial gaze when we travel. And this article made me think about this opportunity to rethink the way that we talk about travel and destinations and those quotes, it says enjoying the city and knowing its history aren’t mutually exclusive.

Nicole Mahoney: 42:33 And I would love destinations and those working in the tourism industry to embrace it’s complexities and to lean into the hard parts. And I think only by doing that, can we start to dismantle the difficult bits and create a more sustainable future in a way that is truly authentic? Um, so there is a huge opportunity here right now for us. And I I’m hopeful that the listeners of this show are willing and ready to do exactly that, to enjoy that city and know its history both at the same time. Absolutely. That’s awesome. Thank you so much. What a perfect way to wrap up, and I appreciate you taking your time with us today and we will look forward to connecting with you again. Thank you so much, Nicole. It’s been my pleasure. Thank you for listening all the way to the end of this week’s episode. This gives me a chance to tell you about our weekly. I see. Why am I in case you missed it? The newsletter each week, along with our podcast episode, we share an article written by one of the break, the ice media team members about the travel and tourism industry, our articles mirror, the mix of industry segments and topics similar to this podcast to join our newsletter text D O T L two 66 eight six six, or visit break the ice forward slash

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