I love a moment of clarity. It was the 19th of February 2014 and I was on an overnight bus from Buenos Aires to Iguassu Falls. It was 19 hours non-stop and I remember I had really under-estimated how hungry I could get on that bus. Everyone was offering each other their snacks – sharing chips and chocolate – and exchanging stories.
I took a moment to write this in my travel diary:
I’ve noticed on this trip that travellers are so willing to share – themselves, food, clothes, time, ideas. I wonder what makes it easier, more natural even, to give these things so freely and unconditionally on holiday but not at home? Is it an equality of vulnerability? The feeling that you’re in a reality/time vacuum together? But also I’ve noticed that, not only are people more willing to share these things with me, but I’m also more willing to receive them. Graciously accepting help is not something that comes naturally to me. Or at least, it didn’t use to. Even though I’m travelling alone, in many ways I feel more connected – like I’m part of this secret nomadic community where, when help is required, someone steps out of the shadows to lend an eager hand. Help is more readily given and by those you don’t expect it from. Maybe Mum was right – life is all about expectations.
Since I’ve been home, I’ve been more aware of random acts of kindness too – those moments where someone takes time out of their day to make yours a little brighter.
It might be the guy that holds the elevator door for you before you start sprinting. Or the lady with a trolley full Chicken Tonight and family size Cornflakes that lets you go ahead with your two bananas and block of chocolate (75% cocoa of course). Or the little kid at the markets with a spiderman costume that offers you half his sandwich (no, I didn’t take it).
Sharing things is nice; sharing yourself, your time, is better. A little kindness goes a long way.