Lost in translation.

Andrew Gillott
Aug 9, 2015

When I was a child, we occasionally- rarely- had the opportunity to go to a very posh caravan site in North Wales. We packed our suitcases, waited for the bus and embarked on an odyssey of 1970s public transport, all travel sickness and roadside wee stops.

It was always worth it. A hundred tiny white jewels clinging to a cliftop above a clear blue sea. It was always sunny and you could fly a kite in acres of meadows and wild flowers. The caravans had colour telly — we didn’t have that at home. It is the most beautiful and significant place I can recall about family holidays. Romantic.

In my Twenties, I took my girlfriend- now wife- to that clifftop. I wanted to share the beauty and the romance with her. I thought it would become as significant for us as it was for me. It wasn’t as I remembered it; knackered little caravans crammed in to a field, wind-blasted and corroded by the sea. I had captured those memories when young, translated the experience with child’s eyes. The reality was somewhat different and the romantic weekend became a test of endurance. It was another 10 years before we married…

Storytelling is an essential tool in reflective learning. Reality frequently gets lost in translation. Memories get stuck in the moment. By telling stories, we have the opportunity to begin once more. Notice new things. Have another go at the translation. Find lost things; rub out some of the lines and start again.

Stories help us to imagine how the world could work better.