“Whoa. You’d better be careful traveling through there. It’s dangerous.”
These are sentiments we often hear from people we meet, just after we tell them what we’re doing and where we’re headed. Their fear is palpable. We smile, then begin with the usual response, “Well, actually, you might be surprised to learn….”.
We run off a list of examples, those we’ve heard about from other cyclists and travelers, and those we’ve experienced ourselves, that counter the fear that our society so easily slips around our shoulders, like a heavy, burdensome cloak. We have grown afraid of each other, and so we don’t answer our doors if we’re not expecting anyone, and we don’t make eye contact with our neighbors as we walk down the streets, and when someone is kind or conversational we are suspicious instead of responsive, and we most certainly don’t believe an obviously delusional couple who have quit their jobs to bicycle around the world when they tell us our fears may be unfounded.
The truth is, Kai & I are looking forward to overcoming our own fears and false assumptions over the coming years. In our culture, it’s easy to fall into a space of isolation, of separateness, labeling it as “safe”. It’s time for us to put ourselves out there, openly accepting our vulnerability, and, in turn, recognizing the vulnerability of those around us. Perhaps it’s the act of publicly acknowledging our fragility and dependence upon others that spurs the many, many acts of kindness and generosity. When we see it in others, don’t we also feel a natural urge to extend our arms and draw them in, to create a safe space, to express our empathy…..to say, “Yes. Yes. I understand because I am human too.”?
How to Build A Global Community
What’s Your Story of Kindness?
Are you a traveler? Do you have a story or example of a stranger’s act of kindness or generosity? If so, please share in the comments section of this post. We’d love to add it to our bank of “goodness” stories to tell people we meet along the way.