Sometimes travelling is not always plain sailing. We can find ourselves in situations that don’t always go to plan or feel outside of our comfort zone.
However it is quite often in those moments that we not only surprise ourselves with how we deal with those situations, but we also witness the kindness of strangers that have selflessly helped us out in our times of need. Through a random act of kindness, a potentially challenging situation has turned into a good one.
Today (17 February) marks ‘Random Acts of Kindness Day’ and I thought this would be a great opportunity to celebrate those moments, share some positive stories and spread a little joy! We all know the internet can be a negative forum sometimes, breeding fear that the world is one big scary place!
But today is about trying to change that perspective. That amidst all the horribleness we hear about on almost a daily basis, there is a glimmer of goodness. That kindness does exist, and it exists all over the world!
I’ve invited 11 awesome travel bloggers to share such stories and perhaps they’ll even inspire you to pay it forward too. After all, as they say, one small act of kindness can go a long, long way!
Buckets, Buses and Blessings
By Teacake Travels
I’ve admittedly been hungover A LOT in my last 7 years of travelling. It usually starts with the line, ‘I’ll take the biggest bucket of drink you’ve got with that indistinguishable alcohol you’re selling; thank you kindly’.
Admittedly, since I’ve hit my thirties, my alcohol consumption is diminishing but the level of kindness I receive from strangers on my travels certainly is not. One delightful leather-faced Grandad by the name of Juan, sat next to me one hungover morning, on my rickety bus from El Nido to Puerto Princesa.
Packed together like sardines, he spoke to me throughout the whole journey with an insatiable curiosity about who I was. Although I wanted to throw up the whole way there, his presence was unique and loving. EVERY DAY after our goodbye at the terminus, he texted me with inspirational blessings, from his battered Nokia phone. It wasn’t creepy. It wasn’t weird. It was just genuine positivity and care. It’s one of the loveliest acts of kindness I’ve ever received.
Follow along with Alice’s epic solo adventures on Twitter @teacaketravels
Summiting Kilimanjaro in Other People’s Clothes
By Mapping Megan.
Travelling means you meet people from all walks of life and from many different cultures, and travelling the world can mean you witness humanity at its very best.
One such instance was when I was about to hike Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. I had washed and hung my clothes out to dry over a communal balcony the day before our departure, and when I came back to my room they were missing. Probably stolen, could have been monkeys – who knows.
The chill on the mountain is incredibly harsh in the evenings so I thought I was screwed – my thermals and socks were included in the clothes which disappeared. Loudly complaining about my situation over dinner that night, a group of Danish girls who had just completed the climb came up and offered me their clothes. They didn’t need them, they said, as they had finished the climb and were all heading home. Total strangers who I didn’t know, offering me their clothes.
Their gesture was so incredibly touching and generous; and I send out my heartfelt thanks for this random act of kindness I experienced on the road!
Check out Megan’s awesome adventures on Instagram @mappingmegan
That one time a taxi driver in Myanmar returned our lost camera
By Nomadic Boys
Our camera is our baby! We love photography and without it we do feel quite naked!
On our way to the airport one very early morning in Yangon, Stefan very clumsily FORGOT our camera in the taxi! We were flying back to Bangkok. We got our plane fine and arrived safely in Bangkok, only to later discover our baby was missing! We don’t know how Stefan managed to do this to our camera, but you can bet this caused many, many arguments between the Nomadic Boys.
After calming down, we contacted the hotel we stayed at in Yangon. Sure enough, the taxi driver who took us to the airport found our camera, returned it to the hotel and the hotel staff arranged for it to be brought to us via one of their guests who was flying from Yangon to Bangkok!
We were extremely humbled and pleasantly surprised to see our baby again. But since that day, Stefan no longer is allowed to carry the camera and Sebastien instead take charge of this.
See more of The Nomadic Boys love for photography over on Instagram @nomadicboys
Getting Picked Up in Paraty, Brazil
By Emily Luxton
When we missed the bus back to Paraty after visiting some waterfalls miles outside of town, my then-boyfriend and I were faced with a very long walk back. After nearly two hours on a deserted road, a woman pulled up beside us in a tiny, bright blue car. She didn’t speak any English, we didn’t speak any Brazilian, but we figured out she was offering us a lift.
We squeezed into the back, and she drove us all the way back to the main road. She also found us a bus stop, and got us on the right bus back to Paraty. The entire time, she was chatting away in Brazilian, with me replying in English and neither of us having a clue what the other was saying. For me, that experience sums up the Brazilian people – who were all so unbelievably warm and welcoming.
Kindness in the Australian “Desert”
By Two Drifters
While we weren’t exactly stuck in the middle of Australia’s outback, we found ourselves in a bit of a pickle during our travels down under.
Our lovely campervan had carried us happily all over the country, but in the town of Broome, Western Australia, a crowded parking lot forced us into a sandy overflow area. When it came time to leave, our little 2WD van could not make it out of the sandy pit and continued to dig itself deeper with each whirl of the tires.
Fortunately, a band of Samaritans appeared—in the form of cheerful middle-aged Australians. A pair of older couples trotted right over and heaved us out of our sandy demise. It was so nice to be shown that small act of kindness—and the fact that they came to the rescue without request or hesitation spoke volumes about the kindness of fellow travellers— and of Australians!
Alone in South America
By Where is Tara?
When I was 22 I set off to South America by myself. I had planned to go with friends but in the end they all cancelled. That didn’t stop me. But I was a little bit terrified. I was about to spent two months, including my 23rd birthday, in Peru and Brazil. People kept telling me horror stories. But in the end, I experienced so many random acts of human kindness on that trip.
During my first few weeks in Peru I joined a group of strangers to tour the country. When they found out that it was my birthday they ended up baking me three separate cakes, one for every week of the trip. One in Cola Canyon, one at the top of the Inca Trail and one in Lima. They even organised a special cocktail night for me when we were in the middle of the Amazon Jungle. It stopped me from feeling homesick.
When we were at the top of Colca Canyon I found out I had passed my pharmacy exams. Our bus driver pulled over and bought me an Inca Cross necklace to celebrate. It’s still one of my favourite souvenirs. When I was hiking the Inca Trail my hands got so cold at the top that I couldn’t bend my fingers. A man walking behind me gave me his gloves. These were all small acts but they make such a difference to me.
I had such an awakening in Peru to how wonderful people are and how lucky I am to just exist amongst them. There is so much goodness in the world, even where you least expect it.
By Global Giraffe
We were travelling back to Phuket from Koh Samui when we found ourselves in a van with a dozen of other backpackers and once we got further inland the driver insisted that we pay him extra money for him to take us all to Patong.
We told him that we lived in Phuket town and that is what we had already paid for, but the driver became very hostile and threatened to kick us out on the side of the road. Luckily we had a phone number to a Canadian couple, that we had recently met and without any hesitation, they quickly came to pick us up in the middle of the night.
We were very grateful for these two beautiful people to take the time out of their night and selflessly lend us a hand in a rather unfortunate situation and thus led to a cherished friendship.
Making friends with Cambodian business men
By Dan Flying Solo
Sat outside a cafe in Siem Reap’s famous pub street, cooling off from the heat outside I found a friend with a street seller.
I invited Douk for a drink to cool off and have a conversation. He shared his life story with me, including how he tragically lost his arms. To me he was a businessman, not a beggar, and I happily purchased a book from him to learn more about the haunted past of Cambodia.
He told me to wait, five minutes later he returned as promised. He handed me a Khmer language learning book. for free. ‘When you come back, we will be able to have a better conversation’.
It’s these little acts of bringing our worlds closer together which got me hooked on travelling in the first place. 14 months later that book is still firmly in my suitcase, waiting to be used next time I make it back to Cambodia and to see Douk again.
View more of Dan’s amazing photography on Instagram @danflyingsolo
Stranded at the airport
by Migrating Miss
When I was 17 I was stranded alone at an airport in the USA where I was living abroad for a year. After a group trip in New York, I was travelling back to Kansas alone when unfortunately there was a huge delay. I missed my flight connection and ended up stuck in Missouri airport, faced with the prospect of spending the night alone because under the airline’s guidelines I was too young to be given a hotel room.
When one of the pilots of my last flight found out what had happened he helped me call my worried host parents in Kansas, and took me down to where the pilots and flight attendants get their rest. He woke me up the next morning, gave me food and made sure I was at the right gate for my flight. As a young 17 year old unused to travelling alone, I’ve never forgotten his kindness!
Going the extra mile
By Danik of The Curious Explorers
We were recently in Melbourne, Australia and I am a very keen runner. I take part in a series of runs called Parkrun which is a free 5km (3.2 mile) run which is held every Saturday in several countries. On the last day of our visit to this huge island, I found a course in Craigieburn, north of Melbourne and still about a twenty-minute drive from the airport. We had a flight departing at 10.35am and the run was 8am. It was a bit of a risk but as I can run this distance around 20-24 minutes and found a way to get to the airport after crossing the finishing line, then it was a risk I was willing to take.
After contacting the organisers (at Highlands Parkrun – that was the name of the course), a guy called Gary got in contact with me and said he would be willing to pick us up from the train station and then take us to the airport afterwards and this was sorted out a few weeks beforehand. And true to his word, he was there waiting on the platform and took us to the nearby park.
He introduced me to some of the other locals and was great at giving me encouragement as I ran the three lap course. And as promised, he took us from the course to the airport and got there about 1 hour and 40 minutes before our flight to Kuala Lumpur was due to take off. We even stopped on the way to check out kangaroos in the wild. We will never forget what Gary did for us and I hope our paths will cross again soon, I am pretty sure they will as Melbourne is a fantastic ‘foodie’ city and we fell in love with the place.
Check out The Curious Explorers (authored by Danik and Claire) new couples travel blog.
Strangers Become Friends in Seoul
By Road Unraveled
I love seeking out a good cup of tea when I travel, so when I heard Seoul is home to the Beautiful Tea Museum I couldn’t wait to visit! Imagine my disappointment when I stopped by on my last morning in South Korea to find it closed.
As I turned to leave, a voice called out to ask if I spoke English. When I said I did, a woman appeared and said her friend was the owner of the museum and was hoping I would join her for a traditional Korean tea ceremony. Although the museum’s owner didn’t speak English, her lovely friend translated our conversation while I learned how to make a proper cup of tea. I’ll never forget the sense of acceptance and the joy I felt that day. To this day, one stranger’s act of kindness still reminds me how travel can create incredible connections between people.
How have you experienced the kindness of strangers while travelling? Share your stories with us in the comments below!
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