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Traveling can be dangerous. At least that’s what you hear when you turn on the TV. Murder in Greece, rape in the Dominican Republic, plane crash in the Swiss Alps, the tsunami in Phuket. The list could go on and on. We are bombarded with negative news everyday which makes it quite difficult to start exploring the world. Women traveling solo are considered as crazy, visiting countries like Iran is reckless according to many. Is going abroad really THAT dangerous?
While the mass media is usually negative, we, bloggers, the actual people who are traveling the world have an important message to tell. People are good! No matter if you are in rural China or in the center of New York City, you will probably find someone willing to help you, if you are in need.
Discover the amazing, scary, and heartwarming stories from all around the world. The stories about the regular people who gave a helping hand to a desperate foreigner being helpless far away from home. We call these people the travel angels. Why? They usually come from nowhere with a smile and then disappear as quickly as they appeared. You won’t see many pictures of the travel angels in this post. Mainly because no one thinks about snapping a photo when they lost all their belongings or get stuck in the African hospital. The other reason is that the travel angels don’t seek for gratitude. They are simply there to help, offering a couch to crash on or paying for dinner without you even knowing.
Losing All The Money
That’s probably the biggest fear of every traveler. Imagine being stuck abroad with no money or credit card. What’s worse, your phone is dead and you don’t know your hotel’s address… That’s what happened in Ukraine to Sheree Hooker from Winging The World.
It was our annual New Year’s Eve break and sadly, I had packed for Ukraine like an idiot. I didn’t have a coat and it was freezing cold so my boyfriend and I did what we always do when the weather becomes too much and decided to take refuge in a pub. How very British of us.
As we should’ve expected, one cheeky afternoon beer turned into several and lead to us meeting a couple of other travelers, one of whom was local. He told us about this amazing bar just a ‘short’ taxi ride away. He knew the owner and was sure he could get us some free drinks. Who would say no?
Fast forward and after an hour-long taxi journey to the other side of the city, we were sitting in a dingy bar slamming flaming shots. The evening had not quite gone as planned. After a drunken stumble to the toilet which involved me parting ways with my stomach contents, I realized we had indulged far too much and we should probably go home.
After voicing this to my boyfriend, we proceeded to have what is now, a very blurry but heated discussion which involved one of us storming off. As a result, we got separated, him with all the money and me with the address of the accommodation. By now, everyone who had led us to the bar had disappeared and we both had no idea how to get back.
My first thought was to take the metro, only to find out it was closed and I didn’t have any money anyway. I figured I’d grab a taxi and pay once I arrived at the apartment but once I pulled out my phone, I realized it was dead. Our address was saved on it. My stomach dropped.
I had no idea what to do so wandered around the city, looking for a place I recognized. In hindsight, this was a very bad idea. It was late and I was a young girl, alone, drunk and lost in a country where I spoke none of the languages.
As I walked, I stumbled across an angry dog who chased me out of a carpark. It was terrifying and in my attempt to escape, I jumped a fence which I proceeded to get stuck on. I ripped my jeans and I only just managed to getaway.
Now hyperventilating, I was petrified. After a few moments to try and pull myself together, I continued to walk around the city. What I was searching for I didn’t know but I thought it was sure to be safer than staying where I was.
After another hour or so, I came across a nightclub and went inside. I tried to explain, with hand gestures, that I needed to charge my phone. Luckily, one girl in the club understood and found a charger for my phone. She asked me where I was staying in broken English, to which I was able to show her the saved address.
‘This no problem’, she said. ‘We call taxi’. I told her that I had no money and tried to ask her to explain that I could pay the driver when I was at my apartment. I wasn’t sure whether she understood but she kept smiling and telling me ‘no problem’.
She rang the taxi which arrived a short time later. I was very concerned about my money situation but it seemed like the girl had told the driver that I would pay on arrival. At least it seemed she did, she was still saying ‘no problem’. Before I got in the taxi, my new found friend hugged me goodbye.
Now with a charged phone, I text my boyfriend who had made it back to the flat. The conversation involved a lot of apologies on both sides, showered with relief. I spent the long journey home exhausted but glad my ordeal was coming to an end.
Once we finally arrived at the apartment, I thanked the driver and told him I would get my money. He looked confused. Although his English was limited, he managed to explain that my friend had already paid using her bank card. I was shocked but overwhelmed with gratitude.
There is no denying how stupid myself and my boyfriend were that night. However, what I am thankful for is how lucky I was. I will never see my savior again to thank her for her kindness but I think of her often. Despite all the doom and gloom, there really are good people in the world.
Losing Everything And No Access To The Internet In The US
Ok, we are living in the 21st century, Wifi is everywhere, so even if you lose your luggage and money, you can always call your family or friends to send you some money and book a place to stay online.
What if there was no Internet? Talek from Travels With Talek has a heartwarming story to tell from the time she was a kid growing up in New York City.
When I was a kid my mom owned a travel agency in NYC. One day a couple of distraught and harried looking Canadians wandered into the travel agency. They had lost their luggage and money and wanted to see if they could arrange a bus ticket home to be paid in Canada. We listened to their story and felt bad that they had this unpleasant experience in our beautiful city.
My mom did more than feel bad. She put them up for the night in our apartment. I remember helping her put fresh sheets on the fold-out sofa-bed. In the morning we made them a hearty breakfast.
But here’s the kicker. My mom took up a collection for the stranded Canadians and collected enough money to get them tickets to return home. It was like a big, happy party; the contributors were giddily putting bills into my mother’s collection box.
The Canadians were so grateful it was almost embarrassing. Like they couldn’t believe this was actually happening.
I’m glad they had more than a “I was robbed in NYC” story to tell when they got home.
No Money To Come Back Home In Thailand
Linn Haglund from Brainy Backpackers has a pretty similar story to tell:
Once in Thailand, at the very end of my trip, I stood in front of an ATM to take out the last money I needed for souvenirs and getting to the airport back to Australia where I was going to spend Christmas with Friends.
I looked in my wallet. No card. I searched all possible pockets. No card. I freaked out. Still no card. I only had one card. But it wasn’t there. Shit!
Slowly I tried to remember the last time I withdrew money. That was more than a week earlier. In Koh Phangan. Now I was in Phuket. And I had no cash to buy a super-cheap wooden elephant and so definitely not to get to the airport the same evening!
I had been sick the day before on the bus from the island to Phuket. A British guy had been kind and let me stay in his hotel with aircon while he was out partying all night. I had intended to pay him some money for the room when I got money out, but now I wasn’t able to do so.
Frustrated and scared, I didn’t even know how was I going to get to the airport. In Australia, I would be picked up by friends and I would get hold of money. but until then, I was screwed.
The British guy was a true travel angel! He handed me cash for my taxi and some extra to buy food and water at the airport.
I have no idea what I would have done without his help and moral support at that moment. Maybe still be in Thailand?
Getting Sick or Injured Abroad
That’s another one on the top or biggest travel fears. No one wants to get sick far away from home, especially when we have nobody to take care of us… The African story of Annie Robinson from Off Goes Annie gives me goosebumps. I am really happy it all ended up well!
A few months ago, I was doing a volunteering project just outside of Mwanza, North-Western Tanzania. Despite the fact I had been religiously taking anti-malaria medication, and avoiding drinking unfiltered water, I got very sick. I was taken to a clinic, with a dangerously high fever and severe pain all over my body. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced, and in truth, I hardly remember those early hours – my only recollection is being alone and very scared. In my rather delirious state, I really thought it was game over.
After lots of tests, I was diagnosed with acute malaria and giardia (a type of parasite from ingesting dirty water). The doctor gave me some anti-sickness injections, and a whole host of tablets to take over the next few days. He told me that as long as I could keep them down, I wouldn’t have to be admitted to stay in the hospital. I remember taking the tablets, and desperately thinking “keep these down, keep these down!”, but I immediately failed. I was far too sick to return to the place I was staying and had to be kept in hospital on an IV.
I cried my eyes out, despite the multitude of pain relief I’d been given, I was just so terrified. And then one lady made everything so much better, a real act of human kindness that I’ll never forget. One of the nurses stayed with me constantly for a full 8 hours after I’d been admitted, even after her shift had ended and all the other nurses swapped over. She sat next to my bedside, holding my hand and stroking my forehead with a cold cloth. We hardly spoke, but she was everything I needed at that moment – like the Mum I desperately wished had been in Tanzania at the time instead of back home! I don’t know what I’d have done without her that night, whilst all the medicines kicked in and I started to recover. I never even managed to learn her name, but I have so much to be grateful to her for.
Dangerous Riptide In Nicaragua
The story of Naomi Beemsigne Williams from Eat Love Explore is even scarier! She and her sister could have died in the ocean… Thankfully the local travel angel was there and he helped them out when they needed it.
I was traveling in Nicaragua with my sister and we decided to go to San Juan del Sur beach which is known to be a great spot for surfing and bodyboarding. It was one of our first international trips and didn’t yet know all the tips for new travelers.
It was really fun until I looked around and could no longer see my sister. I turned behind me and saw her very far out in the water. I yelled at her to come back, but it seemed like she was only going further out so I swam out after her to help her get back to shore.
As I approached her, I felt something grab a hold of me and I was being pulled out to sea. We were caught in a riptide. At that time I had no idea what was happening but I started to panic and could tell that something was wrong.
I immediately untied my board and swam as hard as I could towards the rocks which were on my left side.
I kept yelling at my sister to do the same. “Swim for the rocks! Swim for the rocks!”
It wasn’t easy but I managed to get to the rocks, but not before being hit by a massive wave on to the razor-sharp rocks. And I mean RAZOR sharp. My left thigh took most of the hit and I was bleeding but didn’t notice.
I was looking out for my sister who was almost there when she got hit by a wave and also got cut up by the rocks before getting her grip and climbing up.
Just then out of nowhere, a local guy came and asked if we were okay. He could obviously see that we were hurt and helped us climb over the rocks and back to shore and safety.
I don’t know how we would have safely made it back without his help, but after we made it back to shore and got cleaned up, he disappeared – or maybe I just don’t remember saying bye to him because we downed a bottle of booze to help make the pain go away lol.
This was one of the scariest moments of my life and I’m so glad that he was there to help us! I still don’t like going into the water with lots of waves, but it hasn’t stopped me from swimming in the ocean!
Getting Injured in Denmark
Accidents happen all around the world. Hopefully, every traveler will be as lucky as Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles and find their own travel angels!
Last year, when we were on a cruise in Northern Europe, I encountered a couple of travel angels that will forever have my gratitude and admiration.
Our cruise ship was docked in Copenhagen and I was eager to complete my long list of things to do in Copenhagen in one day. We had just finished our visit to Rosenborg Castle and the King’s Garden, and were on our way to the next experience on our list when the unimaginable happened right out of the blue.
Copenhagen is famous for its bikes, and the road we were walking along had a pedestrian curb (which I am used to), and a smaller bike curb (which I had never encountered before). I rushed across the road, bent on avoiding vehicular traffic and the zillions of bikes, and never even saw the curb. My foot crashed into it, and before I knew it, I had taken a flight through the air and thudded to the pavement on my right side.
The first thing I said to my husband when I could speak was “I think I’m going to die!” I could feel blood pouring down the right side of my face, and I was winded and dizzy. My husband’s face reflected my panic. We were in a strange city, didn’t know the language, and it felt like I was badly hurt.
People were whizzing by us, going about their daily lives. But two women stopped as soon as they saw me fall. The older woman handed me tissues, gestured to me to wipe my cheek, and tried to comfort me without words.
The younger woman, presumably her daughter, asked if we spoke English. Relieved that she spoke at least some English, we explained that we needed a doctor, but that we had foolishly left all our ID back at the ship. The lady explained to us that the emergency room physician would see me regardless and that we wouldn’t even need to pay anything. She called the ER and made an appointment for me.
She called a cab using her phone, explained the circumstances to the driver, and told him where to take us. We went to the ER, where the doctor told me that I appeared to have no serious injuries except for a broken front tooth and bruises. We were super relieved! I was even able to walk around some more after I had rested for a few hours.
I can never forget the kindness of the two strangers that stopped to help!
A Caring Hand High Up In The Slovakian Mountains
Imagine being stuck high in the mountains, in a foreign country, with your legs totally petrified. This hike could end up badly for Chris Kamberis from Trip And Trail if he hasn’t get helped by a total stranger.
Back in 2015, I went to Slovakia for the very first time with my now wife. She was very eager to introduce me to the High Tatras, so we arranged to spend three days hiking there along with her father—a hardcore mountain enthusiast.
After warming up on a short trail the first day, for the second, the Slovaks decided to take me straight to what is probably the most challenging trail in the country—Priecne sedlo.
We got on the foot of Priecne in less than three hours which is fast. I had some stomach problems on the way, probably from the altitude but decided that was not a big deal and carried on. There were many people going up and a small line had already been formed which gave us the opportunity to catch our breath.
We started climbing using footholds on the granite and the thick chain which was there to help on the difficult parts. Soon we got into the clouds but I could still see the base of the mountain several meters beneath my feet. Things were going well and we were more than halfway when suddenly—as I was reaching for a foothold— felt severe pain in my hamstring at the back of my thigh. I knew it was a cramp so I stretched my leg for a bit and when it went away I tried again. I got that terrible soreness again, this time followed by a total numbness of the muscle.
I was not too worried until I tried to use the other leg with the same result. This was not just a cramp. My now father-in-law who was right behind me asked what was wrong. I couldn’t really answer. I suddenly couldn’t move my legs and to make things worse, people were queuing up behind me. With great effort, I managed to lift myself up the chain by using only my hands and sit on a small ledge that was on the side.
A man climbing with his family right behind us asked what was wrong. My companions told him that I was constantly getting cramps. He immediately understood that I was dehydrated and told me to wait for his father who was at the end of the line and had magnesium tablets with him. Indeed after ten minutes, his father reached the place where I was sitting. He was probably well into his seventies but looked younger and spoke a few English.
“What’s wrong?” He asked. “I have no idea,” I replied. “I just can’t move and when I do, I’m in terrible pain.”
“These will fix you up in twenty minutes,” he said as he was dropping two tablets of magnesium into a bottle of water.
“How come you’ve got these with you?” I asked.
“I got the same once in Switzerland and was lucky enough to come across someone who had magnesium with him. I always carry them since then.” He replied smiling. “Drink it all and wait at least a quarter for it to start working.” He gave me the bottle.
I thanked him before he turned to leave. “Wait at least fifteen minutes” he yelled and started climbing on the granite.
Indeed after twenty minutes, I was able to stand on my feet again and slowly climb the rest of the way to the top.
I found him sitting on a huge rock at the other side on the way down. His name was Vladislav and was surrounded by his kids and a bunch of grandchildren. We spoke a little and he let me take his picture. What a guy! I’ve never left for the outdoors without magnesium since then. You can read the whole adventure on Priecne Sedlo here.
Sometimes you don’t even need help but a complete stranger does something good for you without asking for anything in return.
Free Lunch In The US
Kurosh Hashemi from Road Goat was overwhelmed with the kindness of strangers who paid for his lunch when he was a broke student:
I was a college student visiting ritzy Malibu, California. My high school friend Shern Sharma was in town and I wanted to show him around the cool spots. One of our mutual friends suggested driving down the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu so we thought why not.
In amidst our drive along Malibu, we decided to stop by the quaint Thai restaurant for lunch. Browsing through the exotic menu we have neither tried nor understood, we decide to play it safe and order a fried rice dish with either chicken, beef, or shrimp. After some chat, we knew we both wanted the shrimp dish, but we were too broke for it so we settled for chicken and laughed it off for a while. When we asked for the bill at the end of the lunch we were shocked to learn that the people in the table behind us (who had already left) had paid for our lunch. They must have heard our shrimp discussion and sympathized for two young college students on a road trip!
Their kindness made our day and saved us some lunch budget that we spent on enjoying a cold beer at a watering tavern near the beach.
A Caring Hand in Korea
The uplifting story contributed by Carol Perehudoff, a luxury travel blogger from Wandering Carol proves that people are good, no matter where you are in the world.
When I was teaching English in Korea, a big news story about acid rain in Seoul came out in the paper. A few days later, after I’d left my apartment to go to work, it started to rain. I didn’t have an umbrella or a raincoat but there wasn’t much I could do except plod ahead to the university I was teaching at. I was crossing an overpass over a busy road when a middle-aged Korean woman rushed up to me and shoved her umbrella into my hands. I tried to refuse it, but she shook her head furiously and hurried away. It was a wordless interchange and took me a minute to process what had happened. By then she had disappeared.
It was such a brief small moment but such a powerful one that showed the kindness of strangers. It also was symbolic of a bigger picture, that I may have been an outsider in Korea but that as a guest in her country, this woman took my welfare to heart, even at the expense of her own. Would it have mattered if I had gotten wet in the rain? No. But sometimes it’s the simplest gestures that mean the most and make all the difference in building cultural bonds. It’s certainly a moment I will never remember without thinking of warmly of the country.
Help With Changing The Tire In The US
Chris Harvey from Called To Wander is one of the few people who managed to snap a photo with his travel angel!
We had driven over 12,000 miles in our truck camper from Florida as we meandered across the North American continent. We had 415 miles of the infamous Dalton Highway to drive before we could rest easy in Fairbanks.
About an hour out of town the steering wheel became loose and I drifted across the highway assessing the situation. Next, I noticed that the entire vehicle seem to be squatting toward the back driver’s side.
I needed a safe place to stop – which I saw a quarter mile down the road.
In jumping out of the truck I was able to watch the last of the air hiss its way from our tire. Prepared for the situation, or so I thought, I quickly grabbed our bottle jack from the backseat and set to trying to raise the rear axle enough to swap out our spare tire.
We stopped in front of a pump station. As I glanced from beneath the truck I was certain someone in the station would see us and come offer to help.
With each crank I felt more alone – still more determined than ever to change our tire. Eventually, I felt the futility set in. While the jack was rated to be able to hold the weight of our truck and camper, the amount of effort it took to crank the handle was becoming overwhelming.
Someone is pulling over, my wife said.
When I crawled out from beneath the truck to greet our helper I realized that we could not have had a better hand to help us out. The man was dressed in outdoor clothing and drove an overland vehicle with all of the gear you’d want to see when you were broke down on the side of the Dalton Highway.
I introduced myself and showed him the progress on the jack. He smiled and called his friend to grab the farm jack off the back of his truck. They were two retired police officers on their own journey of a lifetime to drive the Dalton Highway to step foot into the Arctic Ocean.
We quickly slid a few blocks of wood beneath his jack and began cranking the handle beneath the camper to lift the axle from the ground. I kept cranking my bottle jack while he and his friend leveraged the truck on the farm jack.
Once the flat tire was well off the ground we made quick work of loosening the lug nuts and swapping out the spare tire. We achieved in ten minutes what would have taken me an hour or more – if even it had been possible.
We talked for another half hour about adventure and travel and the kindness of strangers. My wife and I were in the first phase of a journey to help other people as we attempted to drive from Alaska to Argentina. Yet at this moment we were the recipients of an act of kindness that launched us into a humble state of being.
Helpful Stranger In The French Train
It’s nice when someone takes care of you, even if you are not directly asking for help. Stuart Fahy has an interesting story from his first travel abroad in Europe:
The first time I ever left the UK was not the best introduction to traveling. I was going around Europe for a month and after taking the ferry across the English Channel I spent the night in Calais. I was planning to take the train to Bruges the next morning but when I arrived at the train station I learned there was a French rail strike! What should have been a relatively simple journey turned into 14 hours sat in train stations, understanding nothing of what was happening or being explained to me and wondering if this was all such a great idea.
A bus, two trains and many hours later I eventually boarded a train bound for Belgium. However, my ordeal wasn’t quite over yet. As I was sat on the almost abandoned train a message came over the speaker in French. It was now after 11 pm and this was probably the last train that day. I had no reason to suspect anything about the announcement so sat happily waiting for the train to leave. Then the only other person in the carriage came over and asked me where I was going. I told him I was trying to reach Bruges and he explained I needed to change to another train.
Quickly I grabbed my bags and thanked the guy (a little unsure which language to do it in) before leaping off the train and rushing towards the one on the next platform. There was no reason why he should have spoken to me but I’m incredibly grateful that he did. I have no idea where I’d have ended up if he hadn’t or if I’d have ever seen Bruges. But it was thanks to him that a memorable and frustrating first day of traveling ended on a positive.
Caring Old Lady In Croatia
Sometimes it’s good to know that there is someone there for you, even if you don’t need help. The heartwarming story contributed by Brianne Miers from A Traveling Life is exactly why everyone should travel abroad, at least once. You will make memories that will never fade.
10 years ago, I was seated in the window seat of a bus that was making the four-hour drive from Zagreb to Split, Croatia – first winding through a hilly landscape and then heading south along the Dalmation Coast. In Zagreb, an older woman had taken the seat next to me. She wore a cross and kept her hands folded over the purse in her lap for the duration of our trip.
As I was staring out the window and daydreaming, she tried to strike up a conversation with me. Unable to speak her language, I shook my head sadly and said “I’m sorry” a few times. A young woman seated in front of us overheard the interaction, so she turned around and offered to act as our translator.
Through her, the older woman asked where I was from, where I was going, and why I was traveling alone. Even though I assured her that I was fine and that I would be meeting friends in Split, she said she was worried that I was by myself so far away from home. I was so touched by the motherly care she showed me. The three of us chatted for quite a while, and as we approached our destination, the older woman began digging in her purse. She took out a small vial, and grabbing my hand, she pressed it into my palm and closed my fingers around it. At first, I wasn’t sure what she had given me, but the translator explained it was holy water to keep me safe on my journey.
All these years later, I still have the holy water, which I keep in a drawer in my home. I smile at the memory of my “travel angel” every time I see it.
Rescue Operation Of The Camera In Italy
You can often see the kindness of other people in the most basic and trivial things… Read the story of Rai from A Rai of Light about his lost camera in Italy and how the stranger helped him get it back:
My first time traveling in the Cinque Terre, I excitedly set off to explore the hiking paths that connect the villages. It’s almost midday and the Italian sun is at its peak, but I walk in the shade of olive trees, appreciating the beautiful views all around. Along the way, I stop to take plenty of photos. At one point I set my camera to capture what would be a particularly fine shot of myself to the background of the villages and the Mediterranean in the distance.
A couple steps away and I notice, almost in disbelief, the camera falling off the edge. Any attempt to reach the camera is in vain. Fortunately, David, the owner of the apartment I was staying for the night, lent me his ladder. The following day we set out from the village onto the hiking paths to retrieve the camera. It was a long walk, made even longer by weight of the ladder. Once at the point where the camera had fallen, we set the ladder firmly in place. David held the ladder while I made a cautious attempt through thick vegetation and precarious edges to retrieve the camera. After what felt like ages, I managed to grab hold of the camera and carefully climb back onto the path, camera in hand. Relief rushes through me as I thank David for his kind assistance, without which I would not have been able to do any of this.
Getting Lost Abroad
Being Lost In Japan
When I read the story of Sarah from Borders & Bucket Lists, I instantly thought of our own travel angel that we have met in Thailand.
When we were in Bangkok for the very first time, our taxi driver couldn’t find our hotel. Then he just stopped the car and asked us to leave because he didn’t want to drive around. He said we can find it by ourselves. Today, we would easily handle this situation but it was our first travel overseas, we’ve been tired after 48 hours of traveling with no sleep. Our backpacks were heavy, we had no internet, we’ve been really hopeless. Then a big white guy in a white shirt approached us. There was literally no one on the street, it was late at night and he really looked like an angel. He asked whether we needed help and then walked us directly to our hotel.
Anyway, let’s get back to Sarah’s story:
Just this summer, my family and I visited Osaka, Japan for the first time. According to our hotel website, we were supposed to take a “shuttle” from the airport to our hotel, so my brother and I used our minimal Japanese language skills to follow the signs that said, “Hotel Shuttle.” Eventually, we found ourselves oddly placed in the middle of the parking lot under a bright red and yellow sign that blatantly said, “HOTEL SHUTTLE.”
It seemed a little odd to me that there was no one else under this sign with us. Not a minute after we’d stopped there, this kind Japanese security guard walked up to us. Due to his limited English skills, he simply asked, “Where?” We told him our hotel name, and he made it clear that we were in the wrong place. He tried to explain to us where to go, but, unfortunately, there were a lot of directions and little language commonality. Eventually, he just decided to walk us where we needed to go.
We followed him across the parking lot, into an elevator, across part of the airport, into a bus station, and to a ticket counter. He even told the woman working at the ticket counter which tickets we wanted to buy. We purchased the tickets, and he walked us directly to the line that we needed to be in.
If not for this kind stranger, who knows how long we would’ve been standing under that bright yellow and red sign in the middle of a parking lot!
Being Left Alone At Night in Delhi, India
Even though Daisy from Beyond my Border has been living in India for some time, she hasn’t expected to be left completely alone at night at the bus station… Thankfully, the travel angel helped her go through that difficult night:
When I completed my undergraduate degree, I decided to live in India for 4 months. My parents weren’t exactly ecstatic. They read up on worrying incidents and concerning statics and tried to sway my decision every other day.
But I had my heart set.
In August of 2016, Delhi became my home.
Shortly after, a family came up to me and asked if I was ok. Hearing my concern, they happily invited me home. I was hesitant. Unknown country, unknown people- major stranger danger. But the late-night plus their super friendly ways quickly changed my mind.
After getting into the car, we twisted and turned along several different streets and arrived at a cozy bungalow in a quiet neighborhood. They invited me in and proceeded to offer me chai and snacks. Their daughter even came down to join the fun! Time flew by and it was 6 am before I knew it. The daughter brought me to the metro station, which began operations then, and I headed home safe and sound.
Despite the things we hear on the news, I’ve come to know India as a beautiful, kind country with some of the nicest people in the world!
Weird And Funny Travel Angels
The travel angels don’t need to be perfect. At the end of the day, they are normal people, just like us.
I was going to a small attraction in China in one of the least touristed states (Guizhou) – and my taxi driver dropped me off at the wrong train station. There were no English signs anywhere and my map and translation apps weren’t working.
I met two students who were willing to help me, and they found a group of 50-year-old men who were going to the same train station.
The group of men hopped on the bus with me (a 40-minute ride across 2 buses) and walked me to the section of the station I needed. They spoke no English and I no Chinese but we got along great.
After arriving at my hotel after a long train ride, I was advised they couldn’t accept my booking as they didn’t accept foreigners, and I had to find a different hotel. It’s 10 pm, in a small city with few foreigner-accepting hotels and I have no idea how I’m meant to find another one. I’m about to burst into tears at this point.
A nearby worker overhears and tells me he’ll get me to a hotel (I think, I’m not really sure what he’s saying as its all in Chinese). We go outside to the main street and he looks like he’s hailing a taxi.
A car finally stops but instead of a taxi it’s two older ladies, he doesn’t really seem to know them but they’ve pulled over so he speaks to them in Chinese and they ask me to get in the car. I was pretty confused at this point but was willing to take whatever help I could get.
They drove me to a hotel and walked me over to the reception to help me get a room. Before leaving they insist on taking a few pictures with me posing at reception like they were proud parents sending me off for my first day at school. I wish I had gotten them to take some with my camera as well.
If it wasn’t for the students, the older men, the nearby worker, and the older ladies I would have missed my (expensive) train and been stranded in a foreign city. They were definitely my heroes that day!
Nudist Host In New York City
Last but not least- the story contributed by James from Portugalist.
I must admit his adventures in NYC really cracked me up!
A few years ago, I was visiting New York for NYE with my girlfriend at the time and, to save money on accommodation, we decided to couchsurf. After chatting with a few hosts, I found someone who was willing to let us stay on his couch.
Unfortunately, he hadn’t cleared it with his landlady. We arrived at his apartment late at night to find him mid-argument with her, a conversation that included a lot of uses of the words “bedbugs” and “serial killers.”
The conversation went from bad to worse. She evicted him then and there and, suddenly, instead of there being two of us who didn’t have somewhere to stay, wow there were three.
It was getting late and I wanted to find a WiFi connection so I could start looking for a cheap hotel, something I wasn’t confident I’d be able to find. Our Couchsurfing host (if I could still call him that) was less concerned. He had heard of another Couchsurfing host who was known for helping fellow couchsurfers out at the last minute. There was just one thing we should know: he was a nudist. Would we be okay with that?
That was the least of our worries at that point, and so we decided to take a chance on this other host. Phone calls were made, and we got back on the subway and headed to Brooklyn.
Our travel angel greeted us in a sarong, which came off as soon as we were inside the apartment. It took a little bit of getting used to (mainly trying to work out whether 100% eye contact was the polite or impolite thing to do), but it wasn’t long before we decided on the appropriate etiquette and settled in.
In the end, we stayed there for 3 nights, which allowed us to get back on our feet. Not only did we avoid sleeping under a bridge that night (or at least paying a lot for a last-minute hotel), but we also got a good story out of it as well.
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Have you met a travel angel on the road? Share your stories in comments!
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