What am I not seeing?

Are there stories in this community that would surprise me?

What can I learn about this place that is overlooked by the casual observer?

How do I uncover those stories?

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The Community


“When I look around, I immediately see stories created by designers and architects. I’m more interested in the stories beyond the facade”
— Alan Parrish, Founder

The Reality Abroad Community

Reality Abroad is a private online community of inquisitive individuals seeking to uncover stories hidden from the casual observer.


We share a curiosity for the world hidden “beyond the facade.” We follow our curiosities wherever they take us to discover stories hiding just out of view of the average person. These discoveries fuel our desire to learn, share, and more deeply understand. 


Our path to discovery is only the beginning of our learning experience. Through discussions, training, and additional exploration, we develop our skills and mindset to uncover hidden threads of stories. We continue our development through the sharing of our discoveries. 


Storytelling is an important component of our journey to better understand the communities and cultures we encounter. By sharing our discoveries, we are compelled to look more closely at places than we would otherwise and to listen more attentively to what’s going on and to think more deeply about them.


Our journey to discover, learn, and share has purpose. As the writer Jeff Greenwald said, “With an open eye and an open heart, you can teach people valuable lessons about the way their fellow human beings face desire and suffering and happiness on this planet.”

Our purpose includes, but is not limited to:

    • Immersing ourselves in the communities of the world and developing relationships
    • Unveiling the unarticulated needs of the world’s communities
    • Capturing behavior in different contexts of everyday life
    • Adding a human dimension to stories we remember and can relate to
    • Building our understanding beyond the statistics or casual views
    • Capturing emotional behavior
    • Discovering differences between what people say they do and what they actually do
    • Uncovering values, concerns and fears of the people
    • Challenging our assumptions about the world
    • Revealing complexities and connections
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The Experience

Reality Abroad is all about helping its members discover the world hidden from the casual observer. The journey “beyond the facade” includes:

Instruction and assistance

Members are continually offered practical instruction and training to uncover hidden stories, including those in their own communities. The training includes instruction on:

  • utilizing the skills of investigators, investigative journalists, travel writers and anthropologists to find hidden stories
  • developing an inquisitive mindset
  • being alert to threads of stories and hidden aspects of communities
  • exploring communities from different angles or topics of interests
  • preparing for interactions with community members
  • interacting with communities, including who to talk with, where to find them, and what to ask
  • forming conclusions based on discoveries
  • overcoming challenges during investigation or journey
  • taking advantage of new possibilities

Respectful conversations and sharing

We often heard from our #RATW participants that we were one of the few places on the web for “respectful” conversation. We have always believed that each person’s unique perspective can help us understand not only more about that person, but also their community.

Respectful conversation and sharing are two vital components of the Reality Abroad experience. As the writer Bill Bryson said, “There’s a natural human instinct: Whatever experience you have, as soon as there’s something amazing to you, you want to find another human being to share it with.”

A sense of community and purpose

Conversation, asking questions, and learning are the three primary activities in the Reality Abroad community. Members interact with other curious individuals from many different backgrounds and perspectives, each with a desire to discover, share and understand.

This unique blend of diversity, common purpose and respectfulness serves as a foundation for greater understanding about the world and ourselves.


We all love a good story. The Reality Abroad Community not only seeks stories hidden from the average person, it helps its members share them. They learn to understand, identify, and share good stories by learning and developing the tools and techniques of suuccessful writers and journalists.

Continued exploration and learning

The journey to discovery nevers ends in the Reality Abroad Community. With continued sharing and learning, its possibilities are limited only by the curiosities of it members. Each year we introduce new opportunities to discover, learn, share, and understand our world and its people.

Whether you are a traveler, writer, expat, local, or just someone curious about the world, you can find a home with us.

Follow your curiosity to the Reality Abroad Community.

We need you!

Apply here


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Your First Step

Follow your curiosity.

Join us in the journey to discover the world “beyond the facade.”

Please fill out the form to request an invitation to join Reality Abroad.


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