6 Times Travel Showed Me the Kindness of Humanity

6 Times Travel Showed Me the Kindness of Humanity

Kind people exist. Make it part of your goals to find them, and better yet, to be one of them!

Travelling opens the gates to all kinds of experiences. Part of the whole package is meeting people from all walks of life. It never ceases to amaze me how many rich cultures and traditions make up the world, like a million tiny pieces in a huge and complicated puzzle.

Throughout my years of travelling, many people have touched my life in irreversible ways. Sometimes, these instances left me in miserable, angry tears. Other times, travelling has forced me to stare directly at the kindness of humanity.

Since I’m an optimist, I believe that despite the looming darkness in this world, a constant light will always prevail. And so I’d like to focus on the many moments where I was thrusted with great, unexpected kindness on my travels. When goodness hits you in the face, it can take you aback in the most surprising yet delightfully comforting ways. In these unexpected moments, I felt warm, safe, and overjoyed to be living in a world full of genuinely altruistic people.

1. The lady who offered half her sandwich to me — a broke, hungry traveller

On my way to Sydney, I withstood an uncomfortable seven-hour plane ride. I continually woke up to intense hunger pangs yet I remained unwilling to purchase overpriced airplane food. As I woke up to my rumbling stomach’s nth complaint, the middle-aged lady beside me looked at me kindly and offered me half her sandwich and bottle of C2.

After gratefully accepting her offer, I immediately wolfed down the sandwich and downed the whole bottle of juice. We then had a fruitful conversation about my teaching job and the impact it makes in the world.

2. The man who got my huge duffel bag from the luggage compartment after he witnessed my pathetic struggle

Image credit: Mattes

My friends and family know that I rarely avail of check-in baggage due to practical reasons.

On an eight-day trip abroad, I packed a massive duffel bag that only just met the restrictions of a carry-on. Lugging it around all throughout security checks and the long lines to get through immigration was a killer.

When one man saw me at the height of my exhaustion as I (failingly) attempted to retrieve my duffel bag, he immediately came to my rescue and handed it to me. It was a simple act of kindness, but because of my travel fatigue, I couldn’t imagine feeling more grateful than I did in that moment.

3. The generous band of strangers who offered us their tent to sleep in when we foolishly stranded ourselves on an island

My boyfriend and I once got stuck on an island because of several stupid decisions I made. (I was young, reckless, and totally irresponsible!) Long story short, we missed the last boat returning to the city, and we were completely unprepared. We had no cash, no changes of clothing, and absolutely no plans. Clothed in nothing but our drenched swimwear, we were freezing cold without a place to sleep.

By a stroke of pure luck, a band of sympathetic strangers took pity on us and offered us their tent to sleep in. Another group spotted us shivering madly and handed us blankets for warmth. As we lay in a stranger’s tent wrapped in another stranger’s blankets, my boyfriend whispered quietly, “We were saved by kindness alone. This is our call to do the same for others.” 

Also read: The 6 Essential Items for Every Camping Trip

4. The friend who worked triple shifts just so she could have more free time to spend with me the week I arrived

travel kindness

Sometimes, those unexpected moments of kindness you experience while travelling happen to with be your dearest friends. On my most recent trip, I flew out to meet a good friend who was finishing her master’s degree at the University of Sydney. As a full-time working student, she was up to her knees with deadlines and shifts at the retail store where she worked. What she didn’t tell me was that the week before I arrived, she worked around the clock, taking double — even triple — shifts!

She wanted to put in as many hours as she could so that by the time I’d come over, she could easily take a day off to take me sightseeing. As tired and burnt out as she must have been, my friend trudged through the exhausting work week. She never said anything about the extra load she took on. I only learned about it when it was mentioned casually in one of our conversations. I was shocked — her humility and silent sacrifice moved me deeply.

Also read: 17 Exciting Things to Do in Sydney for First-Timers

5. The stranger-turned-friend who took me around town

travel kindness

Of course, there were several times that my friend couldn’t take me around Sydney because of work and classes. I expected as much. What took me by surprise was that when she was unavailable, her roommate offered to take me around town. I was taken aback at how thoughtful and generous people can naturally be.

My friend’s roommate had only just met me the second I walked through their doors. Yet somehow, she invited me to take me out to one of her favourite local restaurants. Beyond that, she even insisted on covering the bill.

6. The brothers who offered us their home to sleep in when we couldn’t make our way back to our own apartment

travel kindness

One night, my friend and I commuted to one of Sydney’s faraway suburbs to meet up with a couple of her friends. We were craving for Indian food and this particular suburb was known for their excellent authentic choices.

We made our way to her friends’ place only to find out that the railroads going there were being repaired. Instead of discouraging us from visiting them, they instantly offered us their couch and airbed to sleep in. We had a very memorable evening jamming to old tunes, drinking homemade cocktails, and sharing funny stories.

Also read: These 10 Pinoys Share How Strangers Helped Them on Their Travels

These are just a few of my favourite personal anecdotes that highlight the innate goodness in human beings. Don’t get me wrong, though; there are also tons of people who downright suck: The nasty woman in a rush that pushed me ruthlessly then proceeded to cuss at me. The cantankerous and disgustingly racist old lady who told me to go back to my own country. The man who found enjoyment in teasing me by giving me the wrong directions.

There were countless foul interactions I’ve had with people who acted indecently and almost inhumane. But for every vile, horrible person I’ve had the misfortune of crossing paths with, there has been an abundance of kind and thoughtful people who made up for the nastiness I encountered.

So the next time you travel, I urge you to spend some time consciously looking for precious moments of kindness. Whether it’s a good deed fulfilled by a close friend or an unexpected display of kindness by a complete stranger, always remember: Kind people exist. Make it part of your goals to find them, and better yet, to be one of them!

About Author

Raya Esteban
Raya Esteban

Raya Esteban is a lifetime education advocate who currently works as a Montessori primary school teacher. With every chance she gets, Raya loves stringing words together to create compelling travel pieces for everyone to enjoy. A nature-lover and a curious wanderer, she enjoys hiking, diving, and exploring the phenomenal world around her. If she isn’t in the classroom, you’ll probably spot her at a beach or on top of a mountain soaking up the sun.


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