I have no problem to say that PEOPLE ARE GOOD! It doesn’t matter where they come from, people are generally kind. During our life and our journeys, we collected countless experiences that prove exactly that.
This post will show you that if You Smile to the World, the World will Smile Back to You.
Have you already read the news today? I don’t know on which day you are reading this blog post, but let me guess the current topics: Maybe someone committed a crime, there is political tension in or between some countries, a scandal in a big company, a health threat you didn’t know about or was there even a terror attack?
Probably you have seen one, or more, or all of these issues today. While these things unfortunately are really happening, we start to think that those are the ONLY occurrences going on nowadays. With all this negativity being thrown at us by shocking headlines every single day, we forget that there is so much positivity, kindness and happiness out there as well. Even more, I dare to say that the good things outweigh the bad things by far.
Why I’m saying that? Once after my journey around the world, someone asked me about the people I met and I was talking about all the amazing things I experienced. Then he asked me if people had been rude or unfriendly to me somewhere, and I couldn’t think of a single situation in which this would have been the case.
In the following, I want to share stories of my journeys with you that show how many amazing, selfless people are out there who were eager to help me make my life so much easier on the road.
Friends of friends of friends of a friend in Sydney, Australia
First of all, I will start with one of the stories that I still can’t believe really happened. When I came to Australia, my first destination was Brisbane, where a Portuguese couple who were friends of a friend of mine offered to host me and my girlfriend during my stay in that city. On the day we arrived, they had invited another Portuguese couple as well as they were moving to a town south of Sydney the next day. I shared contacts with them so that perhaps we could meet again if we came close to their place later on my journey.
When I was planning our stay in Sydney, I wrote them a message if they knew somebody living there who could perhaps host us for a few days. And they really did! They gave me the contact of another Portuguese couple, Maria and Miguel, who lived directly in Sydney. I got in touch with them and they said that at the moment, they were doing cat sitting at another house in Sydney, so their own apartment was unoccupied. If we wanted, we could stay there, they would give us the keys. Overwhelmed by this more than generous offer, I couldn’t believe my luck. Sydney was one of the most expensive cities on earth, and I would really get the chance to stay there for free in an apartment in the center of the city?
I scheduled a time with Maria to meet her at her work to pick up the keys. She was the kindest person, just put the keys into my hand and even called an Uber that brought me and my girlfriend directly to her apartment.
It was awesome. We stayed there for a week and they even had bicycles we could use to explore the city. I had to pinch myself a few times to make sure it was real. We met the couple for a drink at the end of our stay and they were just amazing people. I am so thankful that they were so selfless to just let us live at their place without even knowing us before. How many people would tell you that nobody would ever do that for someone?
The knights in shining armor in Hawaii, USA
Even if the following story is about an unpleasant situation, I am glad it happened as I got to experience the incredible helpfulness of the Hawaiian people.
Me and my girlfriend had rented a car with Turo and we were parking at the side of a road behind another car to go on a hike.
Due to two hurricanes passing close to the island, it was raining as hell on our way back. When we finally reached the spot where we had parked the car, there was… nothing. Our and the other car were gone. At first, I was thinking that it was stolen and started to get desperate. It was not my own car, how much would I need to pay the owner for that? And before all of that, how were we supposed to get somewhere from where I was right now? I had no idea where the next bus stop was and even if I did, the Hawaiian buses didn’t have the reputation to work very regularly.
When we were standing there, being completely wet and muddy, not knowing what to do next, a man approached us and asked if I am looking for the car that was there. He explained to me that there was a new regulation (that nobody agreed to) that you were not allowed to park at the side of that street on weekends and holidays between 11 am and 3 pm and that the sign for that was somewhere far up the street. And guess at what time I was there. I got towed. The man invited us into his house so that we could calm down and make a call. We felt a little bit self-conscious as we were dripping wet and muddy, making his floor all dirty. But he didn’t mind at all and his wife offered us warm homemade cookies and drinks. They let us use their phone several times until we could find out where our car was. It was on the other side of the island in Honolulu. Now we had to find a way to get there by public transport, which would have taken almost all afternoon. The wife looked at us and said: „Come on, get in my car, I’ll drive you there“. I can’t describe how thankful I was for that offer. And she didn’t only drive us, she helped with all the paperwork at the towing service and stayed there the whole time until we had my car back. This experience made me realize that doing a small favor for someone can make their whole day.
The Family that Saved my Travel Memories – Tainan, Taiwan.
In Tainan, I planned to stay at a couchsurfer’s home. I had already skyped with Tony and his family before. Since he was a teacher, he asked me if I could do him the favor of helping him with an English interview of one of his students. I agreed of course. When I told him that I planned to get there by hitchhiking, he offered to pay me a bus ticket in exchange for me helping him with that interview. Obviously, I refused at first, but he insisted, so I took the bus he booked for me. It was the most comfortable bus I had ever been in.
His wife was an English teacher as well and at his home, I had the opportunity to share my journey around the world and the places I’ve been to some children. I wanted to show them some pictures on my laptop when suddenly it stopped working. The screen just went black and nothing we did turned it on again. So they drove me to a computer shop at 10:30 pm, and there they found out that my internal disk had a big scratch. All the photos of my entire journey were there. Well, it was hard to hold back my tears but I had the hope that I could recover everything. It took 3 days to recover 95% of my disk. They drove me to that shop so often. During the time I was waiting for the laptop, they showed me all around Tainan, I had the opportunity to go to an Indigenous Language Contest and to give a speech about my journey in a school for dozens of children. Moreover, they wouldn’t even allow me to pay for any of the amazing meals in every restaurant that I had been with them.
Finally, when I could pick up my repaired laptop, I received the bill. I had to buy an external disk for 70 €, an internal disk to replace the destroyed one and the reparation service for 200 €. I had to swallow, this was a lot of money for a backpacker on a budget. When the family saw me being down like that, they paid the whole 200 € for me. They ignored my protests. They didn’t know me from anywhere, but they just wanted that I continue my journey happily and without problems.
My second mother in Bangkok, Thailand
Last but not least, the experience that really made me feel like I have found a second mother in Thailand. I stayed with my girlfriend at a guest house in Bangkok for a few days and shared a lot of smiles and kind gestures with the cleaning lady who didn’t speak a word in English. One morning, she knocked on our room door and presented the most beautifully prepared fish dish she had cooked. We asked (with hands and feet) how much it costs and she just gestured a „no“ and gave us the food. She continued to do this every day until the end of our stay. As she didn’t accept payment for it, all we could do was giving her hugs, which made her very happy.
On the day of our departure, we had to leave very early in the morning. We thought that we wouldn’t be able to see her again to say goodbye, but she had asked the receptionist about our check-out time and came to the guest house at this ungodly hour. She gave a bracelet to my girlfriend and accompanied us to the taxi. When we were hugging her goodbye, she put something into my hand and left quickly before I could realize that she had given me 200 Thai bahts to pay for the taxi to drive us to the bus station. I didn’t have a chance to give it back to her as the taxi was waiting and she was already far away. I don’t know how much she earned, but I do know that this was a lot of money for a local. And I hadn’t even done anything for her except being kind and friendly. I think I don’t need to mention that I had to hold back more than one tear.
I could tell you a thousand stories like this, but those are some of my favorite ones. It amazes me every time how many good people are out there who just love to help a traveler have a great experience in their country. People are always afraid of the unknown, but they don’t realize that in every part of the world there are strangers who care about you, even if you did nothing for them except being open-minded and kind-hearted. I really do think that if you have good intentions and approach everybody in the friendliest way possible, you will get the opportunity to have an amazing experience. You will find kindness in the strangest places. And most of all, I learned that we should stop expecting something in return if we do someone a favor. Do it because it makes another person’s day better or easier, and only because of that. You will see that this makes you happy, too.