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Random Acts Of Travel Kindness – Leveraging Your Connections On The Road

by Meg · 11 comments

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am.  ~Author Unknown

I not only love this quote because I desperately want a dog, but because it demonstrates that people are inherently good.

Back in the States, I was always shy when it came down to reaching out to others for help.  But one thing I have learned since Tony and I started our trip around the world is that, more often than not, people are willing (and delighted) to help out a friend… or even a stranger.

My advice to RTW travelers (and really to everyone): Put yourself out there!

I used to think that my network was strictly limited to the United States, but once I started digging more, I realized how many global connections Tony and I had that we could leverage abroad.

Through sharing our plans with the world through LandingStanding, Facebook, Twitter, and by just talking with people, so many doors have opened for us while on our journey.

People who have helped us out on the trip (and even welcomed us into their homes), have ranged from family friends, to long lost friends, to complete strangers.  I am continually shocked and humbled by people’s kindness during our travels.

Here are some “random acts of kindness” we have experienced on the road:

 Jorge and Yani in Santiago, Chile

Tony and Jorge goofing off on the Santiago metro

One of my best friends, Martha, has in-laws (Jorge and Yani) that recently moved from New Jersey to Santiago.  Having only met them once at Martha’s and Jose’s wedding, they graciously hosted us in there beautiful new apartment in Santiago for a week in January.

We had a delightful time getting to know Jorge and Yani over family dinners (Yani is an AMAZING cook!), watching the Superbowl at an American bar in their neighborhood, and through touring with them around the city.  We now consider them dear friends and cannot wait to cross paths again with their family!

Giovanni in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Touring around Buenos Aires with Giovanni

Giovanni was a friend of mine from middle school in upstate, NY that I had not seen in 14 years!  Through Facebook, Giovanni discovered that Tony and I were travelling to Buenos Aires (his current hometown), and we immediately made plans to meet up.

I was amazed by how easily Giovanni and I threw ourselves into conversations reminiscing about our middle school years as if no time has passed at all.  While in Buenos Aires, Giovanni took us around the city and showed us some great neighborhoods, such as Recoleta and La Boca.

Valeria in Paris, France

So happy to see Valeria after so many years!

Valeria was one of my gal pals from high school whom I had not seen in five years.

Very similar to Giovanni’s story, we connected via Facebook when Tony and I made plans to travel to Paris (where she lives), and not only did she show us around her city and join us for some epic meals, but she even let us stay at her apartment in downtown Paris the night before our flight to Rome.

It was so wonderful to reconnect with her and see her living a fabulous life as a photographer in beautiful Paris!

Allie and Jim in Tuscany, Italy

Tony and Allie relaxing on the farm after a hard day of work!

Allie and Tony studied abroad together in 2005 in Florence, Italy and haven’t seen each other since.  Allie and her boyfriend, Jim, are currently working on the Agroturismo, Barbialla Nuova, in Tuscany and invited us to stay (and WWOOF) with them upon discovering that we were travelling to Italy.

In June, we spent two glorious weeks at Barbialla Nuova with Allie and Jim and had a great time getting to know these two better through many shared family meals and long hours spent working on the farm!

Lisa and Fritz in Lago Maggiore, Switzerland

Our romantic villa, courtesy of Lisa and Fritz!

Lisa and Fritz are family friend’s of the Rulli’s and own a STUNNING home right on Lago Maggiore in the town of Gerra Gambarogno, Switzerland.  For five splendid days in June, we were invited to stay in their romantic to-good-to-be-true guest villa.

During our amazing Switzerland vacation, we enjoyed getting to know this incredibly inspirational couple over shared meals, drinks, and cigars on their picturesque waterfront terrace.  They even were generous enough to let us borrow their adorable Smart Car for a day to zip around the lake region!

Bethany and Ted in Umbria, Italy

Our food and wine soulmates, Ted and Bethany

Tony and I met Bethany and Ted in Buenos Aires through travel bloggers, Mike and Steph, and had an instant connection with these Two Oregonians!  After attending the TBU conference in Umbria with Ted and Bethany, they invited us on a wonderful cooking class press trip with Walks of Italy and Il Fontanaro, where we had the most amazing day of our RTW trip yet!  We have enjoyed Ted and Bethany’s company so much on our trip that we even reconnected with them in Croatia and have plans to visit them in their beloved city of Portland in 2013!

Leah and Leanne in Berlin, Germany

Dinner in Buenos Aires with Leanne, Leah, Mike, and Steph

Leah and Leanne are a few of our new travel BFF’s!  Having met through the Global Bloggers Network on Facebook, we first met up with these two lovely gals in Buenos Aires and immediately hit it off.  By the time we left Buenos Aires, Tony and I considered them close friends.  \

We have now reunited with them in Berlin, where we spent 10 days crashing on the couch in their Kreuzberg apartment rental… Let the legendary adventures continue!

And a special thanks to other travel bloggers – Emily from Emily in Chile (Santiago), Edna from Expat Edna (Paris), and Adam from Travels of Adam (Berlin) – for showing us a good time in your hometowns during our RTW trip!

Enjoying a drink with Emily in Chile


Enjoying Paris' famous pastries with Edna

We have had such a fantastic time reconnecting with old friends and making new friends on the road and we appreciate everyone’s generosity during our travels.  We are homeless now, but when Tony and I have a place of our own, our doors are ALWAYS open to those who lent us a helping hand and showed us a good time on our RTW adventure!

Your turn: Have you experienced random acts of kindness during your travels?  Please share your story below in the Comments section!

About Meg
Exhausted from traveling every week as a Business Management Consultant early in my career, I took a year off in 2012 to travel at my own pace. I am a high-energy girl that loves being active, eating food, drinking wine, and exploring the world with my partner-in-crime (and husband), Tony! I now reside in Portland, Oregon and continue to write about travel, food, wine, and the awesome adventures we have in the Pacific NW!

Adam July 20, 2012 at 11:31 am

We still need to meetup so we can talk all about Asia!

Meg July 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Yes!! This just got me super excited to see you for brunch tomorrow at Cabslam!!

Barb July 21, 2012 at 12:00 am

My daughter contracted a serious illness and had to be flown from Sicily to Rome where she could get better medical care. We arrived at Gemmeli Hospital with nothing. I met a woman in the hospital’s cafe during non-visiting hours. Her own daughter was hospitalized with a bad case of encephalitis. She offered to drive me to places where I could purchase much-needed items for my daughter and me. She also invited me stay at her home. This total stranger reached out to help me during a very stressful time; I will always be grateful for her kindness.

Meg July 21, 2012 at 9:11 am

What!? I never heard that part of the story…. So cool!

Barb July 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Yep, it happened and this lady’s kindless was above and beyond. I took her up on the shopping offer because we arrived in Rome with nothing and the hospital expected Kat to have her own nightgowns etc. I ended up staying at the hospital’s facility for out-of-towners but her offer was very much appreciated. There were so many other things, particularly Kat’s health, that this tidbit was forgotten until your post. You’ve met and reconnected with some really nice people in your travels.

Edna July 21, 2012 at 5:44 am

Nothing beats falafel and pastries — you’ll have to come back sometime, an even better cupcake shop has opened recently in Montmartre :)

Meg July 21, 2012 at 9:13 am

Ahhh don’t tease me! I miss the Paris desserts so much – And of course that wonderful falafel. Although, I am in Berlin now and they have a TON of falafel stands. But what I miss most from Paris are the Nutella crepes!

Leanne Pittsford July 23, 2012 at 7:44 am

Awww! We’re SO glad we met in Buenos Aires and nudged you to meet us in Berlin this summer. We can’t wait until you move to San Francisco 😉 hint hint.

Meg July 23, 2012 at 7:57 am

haha a San Fran reunion is definitely happening! Now Tony and I just need to be able to afford to live there :-)

Emily in Chile July 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm

You guys are so welcome! It was great to meet you both, and with how fun you are, I’m not surprised you’ve got people around the globe lining up to show you a good time.

Meg July 30, 2012 at 3:24 am

haha aww thanks Emily! We loved getting to know you better in Santiago and hope our paths cross again in the near future…. Hopefully next time you visit the states, we will have a place in some cool city and we can show you around our neck of the woods!

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