Day 5 of 30 Days of Indie Travel Project, from BootsnAll
Prompt #5: KINDNESS
“One of the greatest joys of travel can be the random acts of kindness you’ll receive from total strangers. Have you ever found kindness from strangers in unexpected places?”
Would you like to go with us?
The circles looked like targets, and I felt as ready as I could feel. I folded up the map and put on my coat. “I’m going out there,” I thought, “and by the end of the day, I will know this city.”
On my first day in Edinburgh, Scotland, I’d nearly been run over by a car. It’s always the basics that mess us up: I kept forgetting that British traffic was on the left. This city was to be my home for the next 4 months, and I could hardly cross the street. On my second day, I was already tired of feeling like nothing but a scared, never-been-away-from-the-U.S.-before 20-year-old Yank, plopped down in a place utterly different from anything I’d ever known.
I didn’t know anyone. I hardly knew was I was. My head still rang fuzzy and woozy from jetlag. But I knew what I had to do: buck up, face the city, and figure this place out. Alone. Determined. Armed with nothing but a basic map and, well, more determination. That was just how I ran.
Outside the hostel, I buttoned up my long black trenchcoat and looked out at the city in front of me. A deep breath fortified me. I tensed my legs, ready to launch.
“We’re going to the castle,” said a woman, who turned out to be from Germany. She pointed to her friends, a mix of men and women. “Would you like to go with us?”
I thought of how alone I felt. I thought of all the circles on the map, places I was going to try to get to know, to at least figure out by sight where they were. I thought of all the morning’s well-laid plans.
And then I smiled. “I’d love to,” I said. “Thanks.”
She smiled back. “You looked really alone.”
“I was… I’m really new here.”
“We are too,” she said.
And then we went to the castle. And then… I didn’t feel like just some lonely Yank in a big Scottish city anymore.
I felt like… I felt like I was finding my way, and that things would be all right. For the first time, I knew I was a traveler, and that I would get by in a foreign city, in a different country. For the first time I knew I lived in a big, welcoming world, just waiting for me to be willing to get to know it.
And all because of a moment’s kindness.
What is the 30 days of indie travel?
More like this: Urban Fantasy and Travel Stories from Rucksack Press »
Every day in November, the BootsnAll Travel Network is inviting bloggers from around the world to a daily blogging effort designed to reflect on how our travel experiences over the last year (or whenever) have shaped us and our view of the world. Bloggers can follow the prompts as strictly or loosely as we like, interpreting them in various ways and responding via text, photos or video posted on our own blogs. More information: Join the 30 Days of Indie Travel Project »