It’s amazing how many great stories have been shared by other travelers since the beginning of this monthly series. This goes to show that generosity still exists in our society, despite everyone’s schedules generally getting more and more packed. This is the 11th part of my monthly series that serves to inspire you to lend a helping hand to those in need, wherever in the world you may be.
Travel Stories Part 10: Jess
Travel blogger who also built a school in Ghana
OK, who am I trying to kid – of course there was more than one time! Let’s start at the beginning.
When asked about a time when my faith in humanity was restored, one story comes immediately to mind. It was 2010, we were three girls driving around Outback Australia in a campervan. Relying solely on our credit cards, we had a six-thousand mile route planned out and three weeks to kill. We arrived in a very remote and very rural town expecting to be able to fill up the van and hand over the plastic as we had been along the way. What we didn’t realise was that we had officially entered the ‘real’ outback and card payments were not widely accepted. We left the petrol station in the hope of finding an ATM. It was at that time we learnt we were in more of a hamlet than a town and there was absolutely no ATM available. We spent about an hour sitting on the forecourt of the petrol station in the hope of flagging down a passing car. None came and more time passed. We contemplated knocking on doors to beg for money but we really were limited for doors upon which to knock! At last, we saw a car approaching in the distance. It was coming from the direction in which we were headed (which was a slight spanner in the works as our plan was to borrow cash and return it when we all arrived in the next destination). However, the lovely couple we met, though reluctant at first, allowed us to spend $30 on fuel, for which they paid. We took their address and returned the money to them later. Had it not been for that couple, we probably would still be sitting there on that forecourt today. Humanity, you win. Thanks for having our back!
Jess is a Wanderer and she has been blogging here, about her adventures for just over a year. She took her first solo trip in 2004 and has never looked back. She is currently teaching in Egypt and travelling during her holidays.
Travel Stories Part 10: Goldie
Founder of Goldie Media
I was attending events as a blogger & newspaper correspondent and often had to drive myself around my City, Cape Town, to the different event venues. One evening I was on my way home from an event and my car decided to get stuck, out of all places, on the highway. I’m not a very easily scared person, I’m always ready to kick someone’s butt specially if it threatened my life. So there I was, stuck in the highway, without cellular phone battery. I had to do something, and fast, as it was dark. So I decided to be brave and try to stop someone. Believe it or not, for two hours, no one stopped. Just as I was about to give up hope, a car stopped. To my surprise, the two strangers in the car allowed me to charge my phone and even tried to fix my car. South Africa being such a dangerous place these acts of kindness are unusual. but there I was, in the middle of the highway, at night, saved by two strangers.
Danielle Erasmus aka Goldie is a young South African spunky mom with a passion for PR, Media, Events and fashion. She loves food and road trips. Her website has recently been launched here (Update: site is down as of October 2017).
Travel Stories Part 10: Jen Montague
Owner of travel blog Lost Abroad
After three weeks of traveling through Japan, the time had come for me to bid farewell to this gorgeous country. Or, at least, that was what I was meant to be doing. But instead, I was stuck on an Osaka train platform hearing indiscernible announcements being made while intricate symbols scrolled across the electronic bulletin boards.
My train was now around 20 minutes late. Having spent the last four years living in London, this was nothing new. But this is Japan. Things run on time in Japan. Yup, something was definitely wrong. A Japanese man approached me. “Do you know what is going on?”, he calmly asked, in stark contrast to the chaos around us. “There has been an accident, all the trains to the airport are cancelled”. “Do you know how I can get to the airport quickly?”, I pleaded. “Let me see what I can do”, the man said as he took out his mobile phone. As he spoke on the other end, he motioned for me to follow him to the ticket counter where he negotiated a full refund for my ticket. Handing me the cash he said, “There is a bus station across the street, I’ll take you there”. Following him like a lost child, I asked, “Why are you helping me so much?”. Turns out a few months earlier, he was in New York City on a business trip when his train was cancelled, leaving him stranded and confused. I asked if anyone helped him. He looked at me with a shy smile and said, “Unfortunately not. So I understand what you’re feeling. That is why I must help you”. As we approached the waiting bus, he turned to me and said, “My secretary has already booked your ticket online”. Before we parted ways, he took out his business card and asked that we keep in touch. His name was Kazumi Ohmasa.
Three years later, Japan would be ravaged by an earthquake and tsunami, killing 25,000 people. Kazumi’s kindness had firmly placed Japan in a special place in my heart, and I knew I had to do something to help. Back in the UK, I, along with some friends, organised origami workshops to help raise money for the Red Cross. We eventually raised £3000, one paper crane at a time. Although I have not had the opportunity to return to Japan, I still keep in touch with my good friend, Kazumi Ohmasa, who restored my faith in humanity that summer afternoon in Osaka.
Jennifer filled up her passport by the age of 25 and has lived and worked in four countries. She is happiest when she’s on the go discovering new things and sharing those experiences with others via her blog, here.
Travel Stories Part 10: Ashima Sharma
Entrepreneur, Freelance Writer and Travel Blogger
My husband and I love to inspire people to ‘Travel More with Less’. A couple of years back we decided to start exploring other countries. We finalized one and our next destination was the South East Islands in the Gulf Of Thailand. Yes, it was over half a dozen islands that we planned to venture out into over a two week adventure trip. Understandably, we were super excited and slight nervous. The excitement was not only because we were traveling international for the first time but also because we were backpacking and didn’t want to book hotels, but find deals at the last minute. That’s right; we wanted to grab a place to stay there and then. We wanted to have ‘The Adventure Trip’ of our lifetime! We decided to halt a day in Bangkok to break the journey and another couple of days on our way back to experience the beautiful city and Ocean world.
Through our stay in Bangkok, we also wanted to visit the Asiatique Village. We decided to take the metro and got a bit lost. There was one person who noticed that we were confused and lost. He decided to intervene and ask if he could help. We jumped right in to take his offer. He was a very polite and softly spoken Thai gentleman. He directed us to the ticket counter and helped us find the way. We thanked him and we both went our ways.
Well, the story didn’t end there. We took out tickets and ran towards some random direction, to realize that we were on the wrong platform. Remember the Thai gentleman who I spoke about earlier? He happened to notice us again. He walked up to us and smiled. We smiled back and checked with him which was the right platform. He told us not to worry and suggested that we follow him. Although I insisted he should just give us directions not to miss his train, he insisted that he could catch the next one. He took us to the right platform, on a complete different level, and we parted ways by saying our goodbyes.
As soon as the train door shut, my husband and I both looked at each other’s face said it out aloud- Gosh, we didn’t even ask his name!!
It was that day, we reflected, that we realized the are kind people in this world who are there to help you and make you feel welcome in their country. It was also that day that we agreed to make sure we would exchange names with any passer by volunteering to help.
Ashima Sharma is an Entrepreneur, Freelance writer and Travel Blogger. She travels to experience different cultures and cuisines, and ends up making new friends along the way. Her objective is to inspire people to ‘Travel More with Less’! To know more about her and get inspired to travel, visit her site here.
Travel Stories Part 10: Anthony
Owner of travel blog TheGeordieTraveler.com
It was fairly late at night, just 24hrs after arriving in Taiwan. I was about to begin a six month stint living in Taiwan’s old capital, Tainan, but first, I wanted to explore Taipei. My friend and I were heading back to our hotel, riding the MRT, when we suddenly had an urge to find the night market we had heard so many great things about.
Full of the confidence that comes with the excitement of travel we turned to the girl sitting next to us and asked if she knew which station to stop at. It quickly became apparent that she spoke no English and, we were just about to offer our apologies and look for the next person, when she brandished her phone and opened up a translation app.
What followed was a hearty conversation involving the toing and froing of her phone, for well over three hours. Not only did the girl know the way to get to the nearest night market, but she took it upon herself to march us there. She guided us through the bustling streets of Taipei, as we still frantically typed messaging back and forth using this ingenuous app.
Once at the night market we were meticulously shown around and introduced to a fair few Taiwanese delicacies and night market traditions. Despite the girls best efforts, I will never fully embrace Stinky Tofu. We were then guided towards an abundance of street games and with furious pointing and the hurried use of her app, we were ushered to join in and play – all before she forcefully demanded the stall owner gave us a prize even though we totally sucked!
The night drew to a close as she directed us back towards our hotel – but not before swapping contact details and agreeing to perhaps meet again. The whole experience was a unique surprise and a brilliant welcome to Taiwan. I am so grateful for this girl’s time and effort. For her to go out of her way to help us for several hours was truly remarkable. Faith in humanity – restored!
I am in the look out for similar stories to be featured in the next release. If you would like to share yours, do email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
If you’d like to read more inspiring travel stories, check these posts…
- Travel Stories Part 4: Moments that will restore your faith in humanity
- Travel Stories Part 8: Moments that will restore your faith in humanity
- Travel Stories Part 6: Moments that will restore your faith in humanity
- Travel Stories Part 5: Moments that will restore your faith in humanity
- Travel Stories Part 7: Moments that will restore your faith in humanity