The Kindness Of Strangers

25.April 2011

Guest Authors

This is a guest post by Adam of WorldTravelForCouples. He reminds us that it is the small parts of travel that can be the most memorable; you tick the big things off your list, but it is the small things that stay in your heart.

One aspect of our RTW trip that continues to stick out now that we’re home was the kindness of random strangers we encountered in places all over the globe. Some of our most memorable moments from our travels happened in the most random places at the most random times by the most random people.

While I will always remember moments like walking through the Sun Gate and seeing Machu Picchu for the first time and getting my first glimpse of the Taj Mahal, it’s these little random moments that keep us traveling and coming back for more. These acts of kindness will forever be etched into our memories, and they are the stories we tell most often.

I will always remember Buenos Aires. When a friend of a friend, who we had never met before arriving in Argentina, invited us to spend New Year’s Eve with her and her family. New Year’s Eve in Argentina is traditionally a family holiday, so being invited to the outskirts of the city to someone’s home to celebrate with extended family was an honor and one that I will always remember.

I will always remember being in our hostel room in Bogota just relaxing. We then heard a knock on the door. The owner was there and asked to come in. He informed us that it was International Women’s Day, and that he had presents for all the women staying in the hostel. He then proceeded to give a little present to Megan as part of their celebration.


I will always remember arriving in hectic Cartegena in the middle of rush hour with no place to stay. Colombia was probably king of random acts of kindness because Colombians are just incredible people. We wandered around, and upon entering our fifth hostel and hearing that they were also booked, we looked at each other with that exhausted look. The worker told us to wait, picked up the phone, made a few calls, and told us to follow him. After walking a few blocks he brought us to a new (and nicer) guesthouse where we ended up staying for several days. Even though their rates were higher, we received the same price as the hostel we were originally checking out.


I will always remember our time in the quirky little town of Dalat, Vietnam, when the sweet girl working the front desk ran out after us as we left to go grab lunch. Dalat is in the highlands of Vietnam, so it gets a bit chilly compared to the rest of the country (chilly by Vietnamese standards means highs in the 70’s). She was extremely concerned that we were heading out without jackets and hats. “It’s very cold,” she exclaimed, “you should have a hat and jacket.”

I will always remember leaving that same guesthouse in Dalat and receiving a present. A clearly homemade craft that we still have to this day, sitting on my desk. They just wanted to thank us for our stay, and this was how they showed their appreciation.

I will always remember India. While India was easily the most difficult, maddening, and challenging places we traveled, we had perhaps one of the best experiences of our trip there. In the city of Jodhpur as we were traipsing through the labyrinth-like streets, we entered the studio of a man who taught art to youngsters. We looked at much of his art, and he was very nice, friendly, and not at all pushy (a rarity in India). Later that day we decided to return and purchase something. He was so excited that we did that he invited us to lunch the following day. We happily accepted and had a home-made Indian lunch with him, a student, and a friend of his while sitting on the floor of his studio. We spent the entire afternoon there chatting and hanging out, and it is something that I will forever remember.


It’s easy to pick out the really memorable moments from traveling. Those famous sites we visited, those festivals we attended, that food we ate. But what really fuels that love for travel is the people we meet along the way. The locals, the hostel and restaurant owners, the other travelers. They all contribute to what it is that we love to travel, and why it is that we’ll keep coming back for more, time and time again.

About The Author: Adam Seper is a lover of travel, bacon, sour candy, pizza, spicy food, beer, dogs, music, and sports, not necessarily in that order.  My wife, Megan, and I embarked on a year-long RTW trip two years ago, taking us to South America, New Zealand, SE Asia, and India.  To say it was life-changing would be an understatement.  I currently run World Travel for Couples and do freelance work for BootsnAll.  You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Click
to join the OneGiantStep Facebook conversation!

8 Responses to “The Kindness Of Strangers”

  1. Adam Says:

    Thanks so much for having me guest post! I very much appreciate it!
    Adam recently posted..Culebra Island – A Picture Post

  2. Kim Says:

    Very beautiful and heartwarming post. I remember landing in France for the first time and being very worried because the people,as I’m sure you know, are supposedly grumpy, especially if you don’t speak french (I don’t). Upon landing I could not figure out their subway system and a woman buzzed me in and in hand gestures tried to explain how everything worked. She stopped and took her time and I couldn’t get over her generosity. It was a great trip to France but what I remember most is the kindness of that woman.
    Kim recently posted..Advice For Traveling And Life

  3. eric Says:

    Awesome. Although I’m still nervous, I can’t wait to finally get started on my African adventure. Hopefully with similar experiences. I think your story is a perfect example of how genuinely nice people really are, despite a few bad apples.
    eric recently posted..Mystic Water

  4. megan Says:

    Some great stories in this post – love the one from India. It’s those kind of experiences that make you forget the scams, the hassles and the never-ending requests for money.
    megan recently posted..Afternoon at the Mongolian Museum

  5. Poi Says:

    Great memories Adam – Funny that probably the kindest act we’ve had from a stranger happened in Dalat, Vietnam as well.

  6. Ayngelina Says:

    I completely agree, my best memories are from people who reached out and helped me when I needed it most.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Happy Anniversary to Me

  7. Dalene - Hecktic Travels Says:

    Awesome post Adam, and it was great to hear your stories. One of our fave days was in Colombia as well, where a Paisan couple took us under their wing in Medellin, buying us local treats and showing us around a park, only because we happened to be sitting on the subway with them. It’s funny, I think about all the tourists I would see back home, and in the past I don’t remember ever going out of my way to help them, but now, I wouldn’t hesitate. Travel is a great teacher!
    Dalene – Hecktic Travels recently posted..A Scuffle With Honduran Police

  8. Nicole Bryce Says:

    Those were great stories of peoples kindness throughout the world. One memory I have of my travels, is not quite such a random act of kindness story, is when my partner and I were in Havana, Cuba. We ended up talking to a couple of young guys in their early twenties on the living conditions in the country. It makes you thankful for what you have when speaking to folks who may not have as much as you.