So, what is a random act of kindness?
According to good old Wikipedia
“A random act of kindness is a non premeditated, inconsistent action designed to offer kindness towards the outside world.”
This topic is close to my heart because over the past 9 months I have been on the receiving end of countless of these so called random acts of kindness. I want to share how they have impacted me, with the hope of inspiring others to take part in this ‘movement’.
Before I started travelling, 9 months ago, I had a pretty positive outlook on the world, despite the media being saturated with horror stories that vilify ‘the other’. Understandably, many of the people around me were slightly fearful for me.
I obviously knew that my blunter friends meant well, when telling me that ‘most people are assholes’ and that I shouldn’t trust anyone; but I decided to approach my travels with optimism and high expectations for humanity. And guess what?! I have not been disappointed. I have experienced a couple of shitty situations, but the abundance of beautiful experiences more than make up for them. In fact, I have been touched and moved by the kindness of most people I have met along my travels, locals and travellers alike. I have included a list of the most memorable things people have done for me at the bottom of this post in case you are curious.
I’d even say that traveling on my own has given me more trust in human kind than ever before. Human beings are good! Some behave ‘badly’ but that is mostly out of necessity and/or ignorance.
Less about me, more about ‘it’
As per the definition, the idea is simple:
Do something kind for ‘someone’, just because you can.
This can be as simple as smiling at someone. And you would be surprised by the impact such a ‘small thing’ can have on someone’s day. This year has taught me that, no matter how small, it is always better to do something positive than not doing it. Whatever can make someone feel seen and cared for is worth the effort. Even if it’s just offering gum or starting conversation with your bus neighbour.
I must admit, I have previously hesitated to do things because I considered them to be too insignificant. Not anymore! If we all do little kind things for each other, the World will be a much kinder place all together. And the beautiful thing is that not only the receiver of such acts benefits. Many will share these with their friends, who will most probably be lifted by the positive story and may even be inspired. And guess what?! Doing something good, in return feels good!!
I say this from experience, as I have also been on the giving end of RAK, but this blog is not about that. In fact, the beauty of these acts, is that they are not done for recognition, reward or gratification, they come from a selfless place, without expectation of anything in return.
Last but not least:
I refer to this as a sort of new movement because we have given it a modern name but I know this is by no means something new. In fact, I strongly believe that kindness comes naturally to happy human beings. However, it seems, the fear culture and the distance sometimes caused by social media and/or living in big cities has made these more rare.
If you feel unsure of what you can do, you can find loads of ideas on https://www.randomactsofkindness.org
Thanks to all of you who took the time to be kind to me. I am grateful.
San Francisco: Local gave me a ride back to my friend’s house late at night after a dance medicine class
Burning Man: I’d probably need a whole post about this so I’ll just say this is the place where I have experienced the most random acts of kindness per hour!!
Hawaii: Friend let me stay with her for 10 days
Local (new friend’s friend) let me stay on her couch
Local gave me a free botanical garden tour
Fellow traveller lent me her hoodie to hike up a volcano
LA: Local (new friend) let me stay for 2 weeks
San Diego: Local gifted me a bracelet from his market stall when I said my budget did not allow for shopping
Baja California: Hostel owner saved me some of the food she cooked for herself and her son
Holidayer bought me the same pair of shorts as her when I said I couldn’t afford to shop
Taken to a local water spot and then to dinner with another traveller
Mexico: Friend picked me up from the airport at midnight and drove me to the bus station when I left
Visiting friend bought me dinner and paid for our car insurance
Friend let me stay with her for 3 nights
Cuba: Friend invited me to dinner
Belize: Fellow traveller protected me from an unstable drunk local
Local gifted me a necklace made with a seed referred to as heart of the ocean
Guatemala: Local gifted me a citrine stone from his stall
Guatemala to Nicaragua: Fellow traveller shared her essential oils with me to make the long journey more pleasant
Nicaragua: ‘Foreign local’ took me around the island on a bike
Spanish couple on holiday took me to the waterfall I dreamed of going to but couldn’t as I didn’t have a car
Costa Rica – Envision Festival: Like Burning Man, too many RAK to mention but the most memorable one is my friend making a macrame necklace for me.
Colombia: Tourist bought me a hairband when he heard me tell me friend I couldn’t justify buying both
Expat gave me a ride from airport to my hotel
Panama: Local gave me a ride from the airport to the bus station