The whole act of traveling is to experience new things and to meet new people, but it’s amazing how sometimes it limits your view on how you see the world. When you are exposed to so much, it’s easy to compartmentalize an experience as good or bad or people as good or bad. I believe there are two types of travelers: those using travel as a medium to believe better things about the world, or those that use it to narrow a view, to confirm things. It’s not every day you meet people who are willing to show you kindness and to help you along your way.
I would say in some ways, I’m more of the latter, but every now and then, being on the road surprises me about the goodness of people. I recently experienced this traveling back from Vienna this last week (hence the absence of a post or two). Let’s just say there is a reason why tickets are so much cheaper traveling on major holidays. I booked my ticket back to Florence on New Year’s Eve with the realization that I would be waiting in the Florence train station (or a bar with some celebratory prosecco) for the majority of the night since every hostel cost at least 100 euro to stay at during the holiday.
I had expected to spend the entire night alone, but I was waved down by an adorable couple in their thirties at the airport.
“Can we get you a coffee?” they asked.
Under normal circumstances, I would have said no and kept walking, but for some reason, I wasn’t afraid to trust them whatsoever. There was something about the genuine way they were asking about my holiday, why I was traveling on that day. I learned they were from Germany, and that we were all planning on spending the night at the train station, as well. After popping on the shuttle, stopping at a McDonald’s where they bought me a sandwich, and huddling inside the train station, we quickly became friends. We exchanged information and a hug before they headed back home to Germany and I got on my train to Lucca in the very early hours of the morning.
There are no doubt times when you need to be cautious traveling on your own, especially as a young woman. It’s always a good idea to watch your back a bit, because you never really know when someone is authentic and a good person or whether something bad could happen to you.
But there are also times when it’s important to trust other people. It’s not easy—especially in this day and age when we hear so many horror stories about women traveling alone and something horrific happening to them. But trusting your heart and your gut is part of life traveling and life in general. And by completely shutting people and experiences out, you aren’t really living.
Have you ever met someone extraordinarily kind on the road?