The kindness of strangers…

I’m currently on my biggest adventure yet, 3 1/2 months travelling solo through the UK, Eastern Europe and India. So often I’m reminded of the danger and troubles in the world, and questioned about whether it’s safe for me to be travelling on my own. 3 weeks into this trip, instead of feeling fear and worry that reflect the woeful stories of the media, I’m feeling humbled by the kindness of strangers.

Arriving at my hostel in Rotterdam, I was handed my bedding at reception and needed to lug my suitcase, bagpack, handbag and now bedding up 3 flights of narrow stairs. A Chinese girl travelling with her family offered to help and carried my bedding so that I could lug my beast of a suitcase up the stairs without dropping anything.

Landing in Dublin after midnight, I took the airport bus to the city centre and stood on a street corner trying to get my bearings. As I stood there trying to make sense of my surroundings, a German guy came up to me and asked if I was lost. I smiled and said… ‘maybe’. I asked if the road ahead was the one I needed, he asked which hostel I’m staying at. Turned out we were staying at the same place so he offered to carry my suitcase and walked with me to the hostel. He waited as I checked in and to our surprise, we were staying in the same dorm room. There was no elevator in the building, so he grabbed my suitcase and carried this 20kg monster up 4 flights of stairs for me. Once we were in the room, he pointed out my bed and turned on the torch on his phone and aimed it at my bed so that I didn’t have to make it in the dark. I thanked him so much for his kindness and he brushed it off as if it was nothing.

In Galway, I stumbled into my room after a few pints down the local. The room was full of men snoring loudly, so I put my headphones on and eventually fell asleep. In the morning, the guy in the bunk above me accidentally dropped something on my bed. I passed it up to him and we got chatting. Him and his friend were heading out for coffee and he asked if I wanted one. I said that would be amazing and he told me to stay in bed and he’ll bring it up to me when he got back. As I lay in bed appreciating the peace and quiet of an empty room, he returned with a hot cup of coffee. I tried to offer some cash but he refused and just smiled.

That night in Galway, I got chatting with a woman and her brother. They were from Belfast and had come down for a weekend getaway to avoid the bonfires on the 12th. She kept telling me to come and stay with her if I came to Belfast… I’ve just spent 3 nights with her and now feel like I have an Irish family. Her grandson spent a morning showing me round Belfast city and the Ulster museum. Telling me about the history of Northern Ireland. She refused any money and looked after me as if I were one of her own. As I said goodbye, she had organised a taxi for me and without my knowledge paid for the trip down to the docks in advance.

There have been many occasions where I’ve leant a helping hand to strangers, without expecting anything in return. I do this, because it’s the right thing to do. I am so humbled by the kindness of strangers on this trip so far as I’m reminded that what goes around, comes around.

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