ten times thanks

By the time I reached the 3 month anniversary of my departure, I walked in 12 countries and met people from dozens more, all the while struggling with more languages than my head can even wrap itself around. With each one “thank you” is usually the first word I learn.

It’s too easy to lose sight of the things that really matter when you are trapped in a day to day grind. You can’t help it. It’s survival of the fittest, basically, and a rat race to boot.

But when you are travelling, oftentimes it really is survival, and you’re tired (and very unfit) and all you want is something to eat and some place safe to sleep. That is when you are more likely to be surprised by the generosity of strangers: when you need it most.

Whether we can fathom it or not when we’ve been cut off on the highway or bumped into on the sidewalk, most of the time, people come through for one another.

Sure, sometimes we have a morbid fascination and usually laugh when people trip and fall or wipe out on a treadmill, but when it really counts, we tend to help each other out. There is good in each of us. Deeper down in some than others, but it’s usually there.

I think back on the last 3 months and realize how lucky I have been. I have had complete strangers offer food, give me useful gifts, and when bristling through the Nairobi airport, even had a guy spot me $20 US for the transit visa despite my insistence otherwise. But he told me that his daughter will be travelling soon and hopes she gets help if she needs it.

I’m sure she will.

It seems “thank you” is a valuable sentiment to learn, so in each of the languages I’ve had to use so far,..

Merci.
Misaotra betsaka.
Dankie.
Toda.
Danke.
Ahsante sana.
Shukran.
Gracias.
Eskerrik asko.
Thank you.

To my family, and my friends at home and on the road, I owe you so much more than that, but it’s a start, at least.

Now for a feel-good video…nevermind that it’s a commercial….

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