“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime”
-Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad
There are 196 countries, roughly 4200 religions, more than 5000 cultures… and around 7 billion people in the world, each with a different character and personality. Yet somehow I think all of them have something in common… Something that can’t be easily described through words and pictures and diagrams. I have two stories that hopefully can represent my thought…
I was in Rennes, France, in the metro station wanting to go to a bus station, I was in a hurry to catch the bus to go to another city, and I thought that all ticket machine in that metro station accepts card but that time, it only accept coins and I don’t have any coins left. It was a very early morning… The office station was still closed, no store was opened yet, and there are hardly any people in that station. I could get back to my hostel but I would miss the bus, which only run once in Monday. When I was hopelessly searching through all my pockets, suddenly I felt someone tapped my shoulder. Turned out it was a young man, and he was giving me a ticket while say nothing. I was confused but accepting it anyway, expecting he would ask some money or something. But no, after he gave me the ticket, he just walked away, still not saying anything. I tried the ticket to the automatic gate and it worked!
It was after a day trip at Phuket when I asked the driver to dropped me off at a shooting range at Patak rd. I had no idea how far it was to my hostel in Patong because I was sleeping when I left for the day trip in the morning, I only estimate it was around 10 minutes drive, so I thought, it was pretty close, right? Then after hours of trying guns and chatted with the staff there, it was time for the shooting range to closed. I was calmly go outside to the side of the street, only to find there are no public transport or bus or something I could rent to go back to my hostel. I should have know it from when I was deciding to dropped off here! Patak rd is like a highway road, there are only a few people there and very few closed, small buildings except the shooting range. After 15 minutes of standing on the side of the road like a lost child, I went back in to the shooting range, which now already closed. I met the staff whom I talked about guns before, asking him how to go to Patong. He was confused and explained to me that it is around 25 km to Patong and there are no public transport from there, moreover it was 6 PM and it starting to get dark. I said thanks to him and started to walk back out to the road, seriously thinking to go back to Patong by walking because I thought there was no other option. Then when I was out of the shooting range, I hear the staff calling me, and he was riding a motorcycle. He offered me a ride to Patong, while his house is just beside the shooting range!
I guess what I want to say is, if we open our mind a little and started to think positively, we would know that somehow there is a link that connect us all. Sure, maybe in life we’ll meet a swindler, con man, mugger, or other people that want to take advantages from us. But I think that’s the challenge: We have to keep our mind open and positive while still be cautious towards an ugly end. We can’t let these evil people make our mind become narrowed, and travelling helps a lot with it. In my experience I realize it by the help of stranger’s kindness, but I’m sure that people can experience it too with a different things. Travel, experience different things, open your mind; give and receive a Stranger’s Kindness.