Unexpected Kindness When Traveling

Submitted by indohoyindohoy on 22 May 2012   •  Opinion

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Have you seen the movie Pay It Forward? It’s where that kid who sees ghosts helping the dead with their unsolved business. Oh wait not that one. It’s where that kid who used to see ghosts created the concept of paying good deeds forward, not paying them back, so that kindness becomes viral and the world becomes a better place to live in. I think it’s an awesome concept. But I’m not here to preach about how you should be kind to others (although that might be a subliminal message), I just wanna share about some ‘kindness’ experiences in my travels.

Last month (April 2012) I was on my trip to Magelang (in Central Java) to see the Waisak ceremony in Borobudur – a big annual Buddhist celebration. There was no train nor flight directly from Jakarta to Magelang, so I had to take the night train to Jogja, a much bigger neighboring town. Considering the route that day and the fact that my backpack was a bit too heavy to carry around for hours, I impulsively tweeted for help if anybody had an idea how to deal with that.

Just when I decided to just bear with the backpack, my old friend Arya texted me that he would pick me up at the train station. Little did I know, he was also giving me a ride for the whole temple visit! And did I tell you I arrived in Jogja at pitch black 4 a.m.? Arya didn’t own a motorcycle cos he rides bicycle wherever he goes, so he borrowed a motorcycle from a friend at such wee hours, and picked me up at 4.30 a.m. So kind of him! I felt Budha’s blessing already and Waisak hadn’t even started!

travel Indonesia - Yogyakarta 

We rode first to Boko temple and then Prambanan, then Arya took me to lunch at a place that only locals might know it (further blessing: local’s insight). And then to the airport for the bus to Magelang at 2 p.m.

travel Indonesia - Yogyakarta

Unexpected kindness didn’t end there. In Magelang, an Indohoy reader whom we started to acquaint with since he won our first giveaway, had waited with a pack of slondok (Magelang’s fried and dried cassava crackers) brought with him to the hotel where I was staying. Talk about a welcome snack!

Like Arya, Fahmi the ikat scarf winner was also ready with his motorbike and took me for a town tour, being local of Magelang. Now I know which market just got burned, where a cinema was going to be built, and that Magelang has a mountain at the centre of the town! He even offered to accompany me (and my friends that came later) to hike up the mountain the morning after Waisak ceremony, before he goes to work. We were up for it but too beat to go that early, unfortunately. But I did go around town once more that morning with Fahmi, to the post office and reserve bus tickets back to Jogja.


travel Indonesia - Magelang 

Fahmi was sorry that he couldn’t make it to Borobudur with us. Now I’m saying this to him (and I’m gonna make him read this): Dude, you were a very good host! Magelang must be proud to have a citizen like you! And did you know, there was no way we could go out from the crowd to find food that night at Borobudur. So that slondok you gave me really helped stuffing our tummies while waiting for the lantern releasing 🙂

These were just a few of kindness I received in my travels. I don’t believe I have done much good deeds to either Arya nor Fahmi, but look what they did. They were paying forward good deeds, perhaps unintentionally, and I was the lucky ‘next person’.

Travel Indonesia - Yogyakarta

I bet there are tons of examples of this. Some call it karma (thanks to Stella for confirming what karma really is). And it happens any day anywhere, not necessarily when you travel. But being away from home in unfamiliar places, receiving one little good deed can give so much relief, perhaps multiples than when we’re at home.

Now… in the spirit of paying kindness forward, we would like to give away some souvenirs to you guys. But because our souvenir collection is limited, we can only pick 2 winners with best answers. You can be one of these 2! How?

travel Indonesia - Bali


Importanto! This Quiz is a ‘has been’.

Option 1:

Mention us on Twitter and tell us what unexpected kindness when traveling you have received from a stranger. Don’t forget to put #Kindness before you mention us.


#Kindness @indohoy I was given a cute puppy for my 6th birthday by a new neighbor.

Option 2:

Just type your answer in the comment panel below, and don’t forget to type in your e-mail 🙂


We’ll announce the winners on Twitter, Facebook, and on this website a week from now. Break a leg!


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