As we have travelled around the world over the last 4 years we’ve realised that people are kinder than we often give them credit for.
Our reliance on complete strangers and people we haven’t met (in person) has blossomed since our nomadic travels started and we haven’t been let down. By and large, the human race is kind.
Contrary to what you see on the news.
To celebrate National Pay It Forward Day on April 28th DoubleTree by Hilton will prove that Nice Travels by giving away 20,000 of their delicious, warm chocolate chip cookies in New York City. Can someone grab me one? Because they will be giving you the cookies in pairs, encouraging each person to have one and share the other in an act of kindness. I love it! Click here to see how Nice Travels.
So I got thinking about the acts of kindness that have happened to us during our travels and the times we had the opportunity to pay it forward. This might not be as warm and gooey as DoubleTree’s chocolate chip cookies, but it should make you feel a little more hopeful about humanity’s potential for compassion.
Those That Have Been Nice To Us:
1. Big Red
When we started our #motherofallroadtrips around the US we quickly learned that hiring a car was going to be the most expensive part. After mentioning this in a Facebook group of like-minded family travellers I received a private message from one of the ladies in the group.
She let me know that she was leaving for Spain for a year and her car was going to be sitting in their garage the entire time. She then offered her car to use on our journey.
We flew to Oregon filled with trepidation. Was this for real? Was someone really lending us a car?
When we pulled into the driveway we knew it was true. The angel had placed our logo and #motherofallroadtrips on the back of the car. Generous to a fault. Wow! We have driven Big Red since September 2015 and will be handing over this amazing gift back to it’s owners in May 2016.
2. A roof over our heads
We meet many people in our travels and nothing surprises us more when we’re offered a bed under their roof. When they are home and even when they are not.
In January 2013 a family gate-crashed our hotel pool in Belize. We ended up spending 3 days with them as they vacationed in Ambergris Caye. They said to us if we were ever in Boston to please visit. We have since visited twice, both times in their house under their incredible generosity. They have become great friends.
On the same trip we took a snorkeling trip and spent the day with 4 lovely girls on the catamaran, plus a night bar-hopping in our golf cart. One of these ladies told me if we were to ever visit New Orleans to let her know. She was a property manager and had an apartment that she freely let us stay in for two weeks (when we reached New Orleans near 5 months later). All 4 girls also came down to take me out to Bourbon Street one evening.
The list goes on. A fellow travel blogger in Toronto I wanted to meet replied she wouldn’t be home when we were coming to town, but asked would we like to stay in her house for 2 weeks.
Friends we had only ever met online have invited us into their homes in Lake Tahoe USA, Brighton Beach, England and so many more. This doesn’t even account for TrustedHousesitters gigs.
3. A meal in our belly
We love sharing a meal with locals and hearing their story as much as they love hearing ours. We have been invited to dinner, gone out to lunch and met people across the globe.
One story that stands out is a family that we met on our very first time leaving Australia in 2012. This gorgeous family invited us to lunch at their home and we had such a good time we stayed for dinner too.
Since that moment in 2012 we have now met this family across 6 countries, sharing Christmas in Romania, the lantern festival in Thailand and discovering the Redwoods in the US. We plan on meeting again in 2016.
Those we have passed kindness onto:
1. Hosting families
We might not have a regular home, but when we do it is open to everyone. During a brief visit to Perth in 2014 for 3 months we hosted two families that we had met on our travels. We showed them around Perth (their first taste of Australia) and that was as fun for us, as it was for them.
2. Giving away belongings
In all honesty, this is as much selfish as it is rewarding. We love giving stuff away and since we travel so lightly we often find our selves in a position to give away belongings. During our first time in the US in 2012 we had a brand new car seat we had used for 2 months. I asked the lady at our hotel reception if she had a baby and she told me she did. I asked if she would like a new car seat and ended up giving it to a very grateful sweetheart.
As part of our job we are given many things that we can not possibly carry (or drink) so we always find ways to pay it forward. Giving away a bottle of wine, surprising someone with a new backpack. Or just donating items to charity - some brand new and never been worn. It all comes back to us in one way or another, so we feel happy to give.
Last Christmas in 2015 my kids were blessed to receive a “Box of Awesomeness” from a blogging conference I attended. We told them it was a very special Christmas present in that they could choose 5 toys each and the rest they would give to boys and girls that do not receive Christmas presents. It was a wonderful moment for them to practice charity.
3. Travel with us
What’s one more person, right? We have travelled with my parents, my best friend, friends, and this year more recently, my sister has come along for the ride. She travelled from Chicago to New York with us and then visited us in Florida. She will be also joining us on our upcoming RV trip this May in Nevada/Arizona. What’s one more person?... but more fun and a reliable babysitter. :)
#NiceTravels is DoubleTree by Hilton’s new slogan and I can’t think of a nicer way to launch a campaign. They are even having a contest where you have the chance to win free stays, simply by posting your own photo depicting an act of kindness and tagging it with #NiceTravels #ContestEntry before May 25th 2016.
Niceness is contagious.
What is your favourite travel kindness? Let’s pay it forward this April. Share your own #NiceTravels moments in the comments below.
This post brought to you by DoubleTree by Hilton. The content and opinions expressed below are that of me, Erin!