Friendly faces in unknown places
“One of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are.” – Edith Wharton
How true is that! Traveling in unknown places can be fairly overwhelming, especially if you are by yourself: fumbling through new currency, languages and accents; figuring transport systems, ways of working, new surroundings; breaking into local cliques and making new friends. But it is all so worth it, not only for the kick you get for exploring something unfamiliar but also when you find people reaching out to help or smile at you when you least expect it. Just like that!
I remember getting ‘almost’ mugged at the Rome train station. I was looking at the train arrival info when this good looking bloke came up to me, showed me a scribbled bit of paper and asked if I knew this place. Just as I’d begun to glance at the paper, another fella moved swiftly past me and I felt a sudden jolt on my shoulders. Lo! the second guy had snatched my hand bag and was running away with it. Just then, this unknown man who had been reading his book quietly all this while, moved fast, ran up to the fleeing fella, blocked his way and grabbed my bag. The fleeing fella dropped my bag and disappeared in the crowd. The quite savior came back, handed my bag over to me and as I was mumbling my gratitude, he simply nodded, apologized on others’ behalf and then quietly walked away…
Another time after a long work trip, lugging very big suitcases, I got to Linköping, Sweden where a conference had been relocated. So there I was in the basement platform of the train station looking up a humongous steep flights of stairs with no elevator or escalator in sight. I helplessly spent quite some time in futile attempts to drag my bags up the stairs. Then just out of the blue, a big man towered over me! He muttered something in an urgent tone, grabbed my bags and started climbing with a quick step. I thought I was getting mugged again and went hurrying and shouting after him. As I reached the ground level, panting and huffing, there were my bags securely arrayed in a neat row. There was no one around whom I could thank.
“Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel’s immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way.”
Over the time I have learnt to keep my bags light and hang on to them tightly when I travel :-). But I’ve also learnt to look out for that friendly glint in peoples’ eyes that says you’re welcome. It was a real pleasure meeting you!!
See more people and the things they do every day in The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life.