What, yet another silly day to add to your calendar? Well, not really, this is actually a good one to have and one I fully endorse, especially now, when we live in a world where horrible news is a daily occurrence, where life is too busy and we can become self-absorbed and forget about those less fortunate than us. If we all did just one nice thing, one random act of kindness, if we can put a smile on someone’s face and make someone’s day, that can only be a good thing!
My challenge was to show random acts of kindness whilst travelling around the world.
As a traveller like Anisa, I wanted to do something kind whilst travelling, but what would I do?
In honour of Anisa, I wanted to repeat what she had done, so on my long-haul flight from Gatwick to Kuala Lumpur, I waited until after the main meal and delivered a Christmas card and box of chocolates to the cabin crew. They were surprised and delighted at their little Christmas gift and when they saw me taking a walk along the aisle to stretch my legs, they would call out with massive smiles on their faces to thank me whilst munching whole heartedly on the chocolates. I knew that repeating Anisa’s gesture was the right thing to do!
Keep Bristol Warm
Before I left the UK in December, I found out about a charity drive called “Keep Bristol Warm”, a community event to help the homeless. Their aim was “To raise as many donations of items useful for the homeless as possible. It will also raise awareness of the ongoing issues faced by Bristol’s street sleepers”. December is winter in the UK and at a time when people are turning up their heating, others are on the streets shivering in concrete doorways wondering how they would make it through the night. I wanted to be a part of the Keep Bristol Warm event but I had already donated my sleeping bag and cups to a local soup kitchen and most of my stuff had been given to Help for Heroes. Thankfully I was still able to pull together a few jumpers (including a Rudolph Christmas jumper!), a couple of coats, some blankets, thick dressing gowns, new underwear, soap and a couple of toothbrushes and toothpaste – all items that were listed on the website.
I left that place feeling proud, not for what I had done as my contribution was just a small one; I was proud because there were still people who cared enough about the plight of others that they would come out in their droves to donate as much as they possibly could. In a world where we sometimes wonder if there is much kindness left, days like today showed me that yes, kindness still does exist.
Beach clean up
The island of Mabul in Borneo is small and beautiful, but sadly it is plagued with a lot of rubbish. Part of the problem is due to the ocean’s currents bringing in rubbish, but another problem is that there are no rubbish collecting facilities on the island.
As I now live on Gili Air, a small island in Indonesia, it is more important than ever to keep on top of the rubbish that is washed up by currents onto the beach. I regularly take part in island beach clean ups and have even hosted a few!
My Random Act of Kindness
When travelling around, I always try to pick up a few local words such as “hello”, “thank you”, “please” “goodbye” and something extra that is unusual such as “awesome” or “excellent food” as this always brings an extra warm response when used. Whilst starting our full time travelling in Borneo, we ensured we used these words as often as we could and the smiles and appreciation we received were so genuine and heartfelt, I realised that my random act of kindness didn’t have to be a big grand gesture – to make someone’s day, all I had to do was engage with people in some small way. If a local person in the country you are visiting wants to shake your hand, then shake their hand, if someone wants to practice their English by asking “hello, what is your name”, then stop for a moment and respond. If a child wants to high-five you as you are walking or cycling by then high-five them. If someone on a bicycle is cycling past you, waves and says hello, then smile and respond, and if your neighbours want to share a shot of their local drink with you, then share it, you never know, you may end up spending a few hours singing songs with them whilst they play their guitar … and that is what travelling is all about!
Being tagged for this post and finding out about the Random Act of Kindness day has left a lasting impression on me. It has made me think a lot more seriously about what we can all do on a regular basis to put a smile on people’s faces, as I found out, it’s the smallest of things that can make someone’s day.
Going forward on my travels, I want to see where I can make that small difference in someone’s day and do something unexpected without being asked. I want to be a more responsible traveller and do what I can without leaving a long-lasting negative impact. I am fortunate to be able to see the world and now I want to make my travels more purposeful.
I now hand over the Random Act of Kindness baton to my friends, and fellow big-hearted travellers : Jenn Pepple (By Land and Sea), Anna Sofia (Two Nerds Travel), Lisa Stanton (Simple Sojourner), Kelly Turpin (Trippin Turpins), Stephanie Griggs (1 Adventure Traveler) & Anna Ge (Slightly Astray).
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