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Every month, I share five inspiring stories of kindness of strangers. This will be the last and final post of 2015 and I wanted for it to be specially heart warming. With all the terrorist attacks and pain in the news, it is important to remember that the world is not a big scary place that you should hide from but a place where many wonderful and kind strangers are ready to lend a helping hand. In my over a decade on the road I have never been mugged and nothing bad has ever happened to me yet I countless stories of someone I had never met before doing something special for me.

Go out. Explore and come back with a bag full of memories and learnings.

Travel Stories Part 12: Stefan and Sebastien

Gay travel bloggers

Stefan and Sebastien

As we were leaving Myanmar earlier this year, Stefan stupidly left behind our baby in the back of the taxi taking us to the airport in Yangon.

When we arrived later in our condo in Bangkok, we realised our baby was missing, Sebastien even considered filing a divorce petition. Luckily, we called our hotel in Yangon only to discover the taxi driver returned our baby to the hotel and the hotel arranged for one of their guests flying to Bangkok to take our baby with them and reunite us with it!

The kindness of that Yangon taxi driver and the staff at the Three Seasons Hotel prevented what could have been a very messy divorce!
You can read more about the travels and tribulations of this lovely gay couple over at their blog, Nomadic Boys. I guarantee that their writing will feel like a ray of sunshine and will always make you smile

Travel Stories Part 12: Jules and Christine

Blogging couple promoting responsible tourism and adventure travel

Jules and Christine

A few years ago Christine and I were crossing the border from Honduras to Guatemala after having a horror run with buses and immigration officials. It had been a really tiring couple of days and everything just seemed to be going wrong. We finally crossed into Guatemala and were desperate to get out of there quickly when a man approached us and offered us a ride to our next spot. Being a little apprehensive to jump into a random car in Central America we hesitated a little, but something about him gave us confidence in his offer. Turns out we made a pretty good judgment because he ended up being part of a local Guatemalan church group who were on a religious mission throughout Honduras.

The moment we jumped onto the bus every single person was super friendly to us, offering up food and drinks and asking us a million questions about the world and ourselves. We made it down to the end of the bus where a youth band had musical instruments and we started jamming out tunes and having a massive sing along. After a couple of hours we were back to feeling energized, excited about being in Guatemala and had put all our worries behind us. When we made it to our stop it took us about 10 minutes to get off the bus because everyone was hugging us and saying goodbye, and then even as it took off down the road there were random arms hanging out of the window waving until it round the bend. Christine and I looked at each other with a look like “what just happened?”. Another amazing example of a crazy adventure that occurs on the open road when you keep an open mind and live a little.

You can follow their responsible adventures at Don’t forget to move

Travel Stories Part 12: Alice

Solo kick-ass female travel blogger

Alice

Alice’s Jeepney in Palawan

I’ve been known to get myself into some right old pickles throughout the last five years I’ve been travelling across Asia. I’ve been caught up in a knife fight in Cambodia whilst eating ants, had my backpack held hostage in a taxi in China, been swindled by aggressive Vietnamese moto repair men and had to sustain the inevitable effects of drinking soju with crazy Korean businessmen. Of course, I wouldn’t change any of it because it’s from the absurd and oh-so-slightly-dangerous experiences, that you learn who you are, what you need and what you really can do.

Through all the craziness that the world is experiencing at the moment, it’s imperative that we see the goodness in people on our planet. The moment which restored my faith in humanity happened in the hottest, people-stuffed mini bus you can ever imagine on the beautiful island of Palawan in the Philippines. Granted, the people of Palawan are some of the nicest people I’ve ever come across but this particular man, Juan (yes the cheesy name stereotype rings true) may just have been that angel that is in charge of me. A wrinkly old man, with clothes a wannabe hip-hop teenage kid would wear, took a shining to me as we had no choice but to be wedged together. Nothing dramatic happened during that journey but his innocent and humble interest in me was undeniable. He asked me questions about everything and anything and at the end of the journey he took my mobile number. EVERYDAY after that, he texted me with motivational messages on his battered nokia phone, full of love and kickass religious support. I’m not religious at all but I felt incredibly protected by him. It’s one of the nicest things someone has done for me without even asking.

You can read more about Alice’s fantastic stories and adventures in Teacake Travels – She is someone who has no fears, is funny and will make you smile and also reflect on life on the road

Travel Stories Part 12: Sarah and Nathan

A travel blogging couple writing about well-balanced living at home and abroad

Sarah and Nathan

Sarah at El Muro Hostel

Five months in to our new nomadic life we made a rookie mistake while traveling in Guatemala. We placed our cameras under the seat of our shuttle and hopped off at our destination in Antigua without them. When we realized our mistake the shuttle was long gone. Based on all the stories of crime in Guatemala we didn’t hold out much hope of ever seeing them again. As travel bloggers, needless to say we were devastated. A call to the shuttle company by the Villa Esthella hostal owner in Antigua produced nothing so we decided to continue our journey to the tiny village of Lanquin the next day, leaving our contact info just in case.

Three days later, in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle, the owner of the El Muro hostal appeared at the bar saying that our cameras had been found! Only problem was they were over 200 miles away in Lake Atitlan and we were leaving in the morning going the complete opposite direction. Our amazing angel of El Muro jumped into action. After two more days, many calls, promises and possibly bribes he and the Villa Esthella manager had arranged to get the cameras as far as Antigua. He them comped the two extra nights we had to stay at El Muro, arranged for one of his employees to drive us to Coban (2 hours away) and purchased bus tickets for us from there to Antigua where our cameras were delivered to us by the Villa Esthella owner himself.

Two people who did not know us and had nothing at all to gain stepped up and went above and beyond to help us. The El Muro owner would take no money from us and just said that he believed that helping others was the right thing to do and asked that we tell people that Guatemala is not all full of criminals. Just thinking of it now brings tears to my eyes. Not because we got our cameras back, but because it confirmed my belief that there is far more good than bad in the world, it’s just that the bad gets more media coverage.

Follow Sarah and Nathan’s travels for tips on how to achieve a balance in your life at Live, Dream, Discover

Travel Stories Part 12: Jason

Traveler and entrepreneur

Jason

Jason at my rooftop terrace

Expect the unexpected, this has become a common theme during my travels and entrepreneurial journey.

The setting was Cataluyna. More specifically, I was staying at a friend’s condo in Sitges (where the epic rooftop pic was taken) and had plans to discover Barcelona. If for some reason you are not familiar with Barcelona, it’s an epicenter for architecture and fine art. Heading there was a no brainer, especially to see Park Guell and the Picasso Museum. Between making those two stops and finding time to enjoy multiple espressos, shop the open air market and strolling down Passeig de Gràcia, it was a full day. The last train from Barcelona to Sitges leaves at midnight and I had to take a connector to get there. After boarding the connecting train, the security guard and his German Shepard companion walked past and we struck up a conversation, which ended with him confirming that this was indeed the correct route to get back. I’m about to exit the train and he says, “it’s much quicker if you ride this to the end and switch there.” A local’s advice is usually best so went along with the info. Needless to say, that sure was a mistake because after we exited his face said it all: pure confusion. After admitting his mistake, he proceeded to offer me a ride back. It became quite clear then that the kindness of strangers exists everywhere and especially when you least expect it. Pay it forward…always.

Jason has been tirelessly working on his start-up, Zipkick. The company will the first to offer curated travel booking – can’t wait for it to launch!

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