Day 5 of the 30 Days of Indie Travel Project. So far, I’ve loved being able to write daily on different travel topics and create new blog content. On the other hand, it’s a bit difficult to discipline myself to sit down and write. I think on one hand I’ve always thought of writing as this intensely creative and personal process, as if a wave of creativity needs to sweep across you, an idea that springs forth in your head while you’re out running and you need to jot it down immediately before it becomes a fleeting thought and is lost forever.
So here’s to discipline…and harnessing creativity.
Day 5: Kindness
One of the greatest joys of travel can be the random acts of kindness you’ll receive from total strangers. Have you ever found kindness from strangers in unexpected places?
I work in midtown Manhattan, close to the Chrysler Building where, on any given day, I have to wind past the throngs of tourists, camera lenses poised to the skyline to capture its splendor. While it can be a bit of a nuisance on the busy work days when you just need to get to the office, I know how it is when the shoe is on the other foot and I’m the one traveling in a distant land and soaking up my surroundings. Be it a crowded city like Hong Kong or the quiet solitude of the Cotswolds, when I’ve been out of my element locals have been the key to helping me find my way, offering assistance or just being a friendly face in the crowd.
When first landing in Prague, Zuri and I were entirely out of our element. It was a national holiday, nearly everything was closed and the Czech language was indecipherable. By the time we found our way and checked into the hostel we felt turned around and defeated. Once we were settled in we sat in the common area, guide books in hand trying to figure out what to do first.
“G’day ladies!” came a booming voice.
I looked up to see a smiling Australian with a mop of curly blond hair.
“Did you just arrive in Praha today?”
“Yes, and we had no idea it was a holiday weekend. Do you know if everything is going to be closed?”
“Yeah, bit of a bummer about that. But there’s still plenty to see in town. If you’d like, I’m happy to show you around.”
And with that, we were off. He took us to a cozy cafe where he told us about his time in the Czech Republic and about his extended two-year trip, traveling across Europe, working odd jobs before he would head home and settle down in Oz. From the cafe we walked through town, stopping at the Orloj in the Old Town Square in time for an hourly show. It was such a small, yet lovely gesture, taking two weary travelers who were very out of their element and introducing them to the city.
It’s those moments that we all experience and what connects us. We know what it’s like to be in that position, feeling out a new situation, unsure of what lies ahead. So it makes it that much easier to recognize the tell-tale signs in others and offer a lending hand.