The Kindness of Strangers

I was talking to some friends last night about solo travel and the enormous benefits bestowed on people who are brave or adventurous enough to set off on their travels alone. I thought I could use my blog to share some positive experiences I have encountered with total strangers but mainly I wanted to use this post to hear your stories!

Have you ever experienced the kindness of strangers while on your travels??

Be it someone who helped fix your puncture in the Australian Outback or a young kid who helped you find your hotel through the winding streets of Venice??

kindness of strangers

On my way to Australia last November I had a great experience where I befriended a stranger on the plane from Cork, who turned out to be an extremely well off but more importantly very inspirational business man who employed over 800 people in a Tech company in China. He taught me many a thing that I still keep with me today, and also treated me to a delicious meal while waiting for my nest flight. An experience that can be read about here.

Almost a year later and as my trip to South Korea began, I found another stranger putting a smile on my face. After a short flight from Cork to London Heathrow, I had another dreaded 5 hour stopover. As all the restaurants were super busy I was asked to share a table with a few other travellers. No problem. I got talking to the guy opposite me, mainly because the cocktail he was drinking looked interesting so I decided to order the same(!), and he turned out to be a very good-looking and interesting Irish guy (if you are reading this…HELLO!).

We had a great conversation about work, travel and life, as he asked me why I had decided to jet off to Korea for a year. We chatted for a while and then he bid me farewell as he had to run to catch his flight. As he stood up to leave, he informed that he had been so intrigued listening to me talk and was so sad that he had to depart that he had paid for my meal and drink as a farewell gift. I was actually speechless but secretly delighted.

I’m sure we have all been that kind stranger too, at one stage or another. One memory I have, which while not entirely a ‘kind’ gesture, is certainly something that put a smile on the face of many strangers.

It was a day I will never forget…the day I got naked with a few thousand other brave souls in Dublin harbour as part of a Spencer Tunick Art Installation!

Standing knee-deep in the freezing, Irish sea or laying down on the hard, cold rocky pier back to back with naked strangers, as a ship sails in from England (no doubt full of puzzled passengers!) was a morning I’m not going to forget anytime soon! I can’t begin to imagine what was going through those passengers minds as they saw a few thousand naked Irish people welcoming them into Dublin Port at 5 o’clock in the morning! “Welcome to Ireland, the friendliest nation on Earth!”

Giving out FREE HUGS to bewildered students in a trendy shopping area in Seoul, South Korea was also a great way of spreading job to strangers! That, and the day I spent dressed as a clown and face painting kids for free in Dublin, Ireland.

Nothing can put a smile on your face like the kindness of strangers.

Please share your stories in the comments below! x

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5 thoughts on “The Kindness of Strangers

  1. Cannot really name one example of such kindness; I travel alone a lot and the amount of amazing people that I meet is just incredible. The world is full of good people and I guess those simplest things, such as a nice conversation, a meal shared, a ride given or simply their interest in me are actually the nicest “souvenirs” that I bring with me back home.

  2. My first trip to Maui was almost 30 years ago. We had rented a car…just a small Toyota or Honda. We were determined to drive completely around the island including the Road To Hana. The Road To Hana has a reputation and people make a living off of T-shirts that say “I survived the road to Hana”. The night before we tackled this it rained quite a bit but when we started on our way it was gorgeous out. We had driven for hours by the time we hit the section of the road that had been washed away the night before. There was a huge gully. Lots of people were lined up and assessing the situation and making recommendations. There were quite a few people like us that were on vacation and very disappointed. The locals that were on scene decided they could get us across. Everyone took turns. The driver would get in the car and steer while 6 big burley locals would push the car down in the gully and then almost lift it up to the other side. Then you would park on the other side and turn around to help the next guy. Back and forth it went. It was an amazing experience.

  3. Great post. I can relate to this. Whether it was someone going out of their way to help me get where I was going, or helping me with a flat tire, or just talking to me on a plane and giving me advice for when I got to the airport, I’ve been helped by a number of strangers. It makes me feel more confident in the human race. 😉

  4. Last summer I traveled to Japan and stayed there for a week to do some volunteer work. Before we went home we got to try the famous Shabu Shabu that Japan is so famous for. All of the servers were exceptionally kind, one of them asked if she could email me sometime and ask about my country. I agreed and gave her my card.

    A week later, our country was hit with a series of strong typhoons. To my surprise, my mail was flooded with emails of concerns from friends living abroad, one of emails was from her. She asked if I was okay and if the typhoon was as bad as how it was shown on TV (it was really bad by the way). To this day, we still email back and forth.

    It’s really surprising how you meet people when you travel and get to stay friends with them even if they live faraway.

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