A journey of some kind is a vital component in a compelling story.
"When you're finished changing, you're finished." - Benjamin Franklin
In order for a story to be compelling, it must contain change or transformation of some kind.
No story will be compelling if nothing happens and nothing changes.
In every type of story, personal stories and fiction, something must change in order for the story to move along, and for the reader to want to continue on the journey.
The change can be anything. It could be a personal realisation, whereby the main character, or storyteller, undergoes an internal transformation from one state of mind to another. It could be that the landscape changes and the journey is a physical one from one place to another. Or it could be that the world changes and something external is forced upon the main character or storyteller.
The type of transformation might be specific to the genre or kind of story being told, but nevertheless change must occur in some form.
The reason that transformation is so important to stories is that not only does it provide momentum and movement which keeps people interested, but also because it helps the listener to identify with the story in a deeper way.
Life and reality are constantly changing, and although we might fight this or deny this, it happens nevertheless. Nothing stays the same, and deep down inside we know this. It creates a certain tension of the unknown, we never know quite what might happen next. So, we listen to stories to try and make some sense of the world and to feel safer with the uncertainties of life. When we relate to the change and transformation that we hear in stories, it makes us feel connected and reassured. We aren't the only ones going through this. Everyone is on a journey, and everybody else's destination is as uncertain as yours.
Storytellers play a vital role in the sharing of this human experience. When storytellers demonstrate change and transformation in their stories, it resonates deeply within us and we keep listening because they are revealing something to us, something we either recognise from our own experience or realise through the experience of others.
"If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living." - Gail Sheehy