Beyond Borders Storytelling

Stories for Wanderlusting Adventurers.


Storyteller Spotlight: Breaking A Leg
Will Spargur
An interview with Adriana Calambas

BBS: What drew you to Beyond Borders Storytelling?
AC: I am working on how to tell stories to connect with and create changes in people. I have my own learning but how can I transmit that learning to other people? One of the best ways is through stories. But I don’t know how to tell stories, so I was looking on Google for workshops and stories. One of the first things that pops up is Beyond Borders Storytelling. I love the name, Beyond Borders, it’s expanding something, it’s traveling - I felt those emotions. Going to the workshop was scary but I said to myself, “What could I lose, right?”

BBS: Why were you scared?
AC: I am not really extroverted, or talkative. I am not a showman. I was going out of my comfort zone just going to the workshop.

BBS: Have you been to a Beyond Borders Storytelling show?
AC: Yes, before going to the workshop I went to a story jam to see what the end product was.

BBS: So you knew what you were getting into.
AC: Yes. Yes, and it was exciting. It’s that feeling that’s scary but at the same time it’s exciting.

BBS: When you went to the workshop, was it your intention to go all the way and do the stage performance?
AC: No. No, I was just going to check it out. I don’t like to commit. Because this is scary for me. And I am very careful when I commit to something. I went to the workshop thinking, “I am not going to commit but I am going.” The next step was going to the rehearsal. And I think to myself, “Okay I am going to the rehearsal, but I am not committing.”

BBS: So what happened?
AC: [laughs] What changed? I don’t know. It’s just that feeling of accomplishing something. Like breaking a fear. I am looking for transition from my regular job to something more meaningful. And I know storytelling and public speaking is needed for that. So, this is one step in that direction.

BBS: What were the most difficult things for you developing your story?
AC: My story was not so personal. It was just a regular experience that anyone could have. I was thinking I needed something more extraordinary. Something that would make people say “Ohhhh...”

BBS: What changed your mind?
AC: The first rehearsal when I heard the other stories and thought, “Oh, mine is not so bad. It’s just a regular story just like anybody else’s.” There was a lady there that said she had done it before. This was her fifth time and her story was just a regular story. So I think to myself, “I can do it.”

BBS: Was the rehearsal helpful in other ways?
AC: Hearing your feedback. At the beginning I am thinking, “I am the one who knows the story. You don’t know anything about my story. Why are you telling me that?” But that’s part of my own way of being against authority. That’s something I have been working through since childhood. I was a really rebellious girl at home. So anything that has to do with authority I am rebellious. But then I started opening myself up to listen your feedback and it was really good. Every time I went to the rehearsal I’d take it in the feedback then I cut and change my story.

BBS: Can you give an example of feedback you found helpful?
AC: Because my story was from a year ago I had forgotten many details. In the first rehearsal you started asking natural questions, “How did that happen and what day was that? How do you know that?” That really helped me remember details.

BBS: How did you feel the night of the show?
AC: A lot nervous. I don’t get shaking hands, I don’t get sweaty. But my voice and my mouth were dry. I was scared. English is not my first language, so I was, “Oh my God, I am going to bobble the words.” I cannot talk because my mouth was dry, really dry. In my first lines I messed up. My tongue got tangle and I had to repeat it again.

BBS: Was there a point when you felt the story started to flow naturally?
AC: Yes, when I first started getting rapport from the audience, it gave me confidence. I started thinking “Oh, this feels good.” Things started to come naturally. At some point I just felt connection and whatever was going to be said was there.

BBS: How did it feel when you were done?
AC: I felt good, really good, like a snake shedding its skin. I think, “I can’t believe I did this!” I have done many other things. I have parachuted, I broke my leg that day. I have gone scuba diving in really scary places. I have done really scary things. And this was one of those...scariest of the things.

BBS: Compared to parachuting, how was this?
AC: [laughs] The parachuting was easier.

BBS: Do you have any advice for people thinking about storytelling?
AC: Just go for it. People might think this is only for beginners but it really helps whoever does public speaking often. It’s different than giving a lecture or talking to a class. I have given many speeches. I have been in Toastmasters but this is totally different. It connects you with your uniqueness and authenticity.