Stories – specifically, travel stories – will be the theme for an upcoming open mic in Antigonish.
Travel Tales – trauma and triumph on the road – will take center stage Tuesday, Sept. 24 at the Red Sky Gallery on Main Street.
“I feel like this is something that we have talked about – off and on – for years,” Rose Murphy said, while gesturing to gallery owner Rosemary Curry.
The theme for the storytelling evening is travel – the experiences and adventures – along with culture shock.
“I think everyone has an incredible travel story,” Curry said, noting it could be everything from “an accidental happening to a coincidence.”
One of the stories they expect the audience to hear is from someone who was almost arrested while travelling in Rome.
“We have people in Antigonish who have lived in and travelled all over the world,” Murphy said.
The list of storytellers, as of the Sept. 10 interview, included Brendan Ahern, Katie Edwards, Jeanette Fecteau, Denise Davies, Angus MacCaull and Katie Connolly.
“There are others threatening [to tell a story],” Curry said, with a laugh.
Along with the stories, there promises to be great conversation and light refreshments served.
“We think it is going to be a great evening,” Murphy said.
Heading to Asia
The impetus to bring the long-talked-about idea of an evening of storytelling to fruition for the friends was an upcoming journey for Murphy.
A couple days after the open mic, she will be leaving for a six-month volunteer experience with Cuso International, a non-profit development organization.
Murphy will be volunteering with Swiss Contact, Cuso’s non-governmental organization (NGO) partner “on the ground.”
“I will be working with local people and small businesses to develop a sustainable and inclusive tourism industry in southern Laos and Cambodia,” she explained.
Her focuses, as an entrepreneurship advisor, will include building infrastructure, experiences and services, with an emphasis on inclusivity and participation.
“A bit of both,” Murphy said, when asked if it is the volunteer experience or travelling to that part of the world that made her select this upcoming challenge.
She noted Cuso International matches volunteers with prospects they see as a “good fit.”
Describing it as “maybe, a bit of a stretch,” Murphy compared Laos to Nova Scotia, noting similarities, such as both locales natural beauty and landscape.
“They are so unspoiled,” she said.
And, of course, both have “genuine and friendly people.”
As part of her Cuso International volunteer commitment, there is a fundraising component.
“It is about paying it forward,” Murphy explained, noting her goal is to raise $2,000 before leaving Antigonish.
Those monies go towards funding an experience for another Cuso volunteer.
With that in mind, the organizers are suggesting people who come to Travel Tales make a $5 donation, which she noted is “in no way mandatory.”
“I really believe this organization is doing great things to reduce poverty and inequality by sending volunteers to work alongside people striving for change in their lives,” Murphy said.
For more about Cuso International’s work, visit cusointernational.org/about/
To make a contribution to Murphy’s fundraising, go to tinyurl.com/Cuso-Rose
Travel Tales will be the latest of a myriad of eclectic events that Curry has hosted in her Main Street space, ones focused on the arts.
“I think it is a great place for it,” she said, agreeing with the description of her gallery as a ‘community space.’
When it comes to taking opportunities to contribute to her community, she explained she “grew up in that style.”
“He allowed us to bring people into the space,” Curry recalled of her time working for the late Brock Elliott at Sunflower Natural Foods.
For more information about the event, or to secure a spot to tell a ‘travel tale,’ email Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org or Curry at email@example.com