The Kindness of Strangers

Many new folks have come to visit this blog in the past 36 hours or so, since it got a little publicity. Thank you all who have read, liked, followed, commented, and, especially, reached out privately via the “Contact” feature.

In particular, those of you who have reached out via “Contact” are amazing. I’m doing my best to get around to responding to all of you individually, but from multiple complete strangers among you we’ve had:

  • Multiple offers for places to stay, both here in the U.S. and abroad;
  • Lots of folks reaching out to share their similar stories (I especially liked the one who was confused because their family’s story is so similar to ours that at first they thought the Q&A was about them);
  • Detailed advice on sites to visit along our itinerary from the perspective of locals;
  • Commiseration about Bat Mitzvah planning;
  • Encouragement;
  • Offers to show us around their communities;
  • Offers to meet up on our travels;
  • Offers to connect us with their students as pen pals;
  • Offers to visit schools;
  • Offers to connect us with friends and family around the world who are doing cool things and might be willing to share them with us; 
  • Offers to teach us about their religion by bringing us to their place of worship; and
  • Thanks from folks for confirming that they aren’t crazy for making similar plans.

Thank you all!  If I haven’t written back to you personally yet, I promise I’m doing my best to get there and hopefully I will get to you all shortly.

In this world, we’re so often subjected to a media narrative based on the worst of human nature: just now, pulling up the front page of one of our local network news stations, I see a story about state-level government corruption, a shooting of two people, an armed robbery, a fire, and a massive car wreck. What we forget, however, is that all of that is news at least in part because it is unusual. In reality, especially (but by no means exclusively) where we humans are fortunate enough to have our basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, and safety met, I honestly believe that more people than not have good hearts and good impulses. I’m not naive enough to think that there aren’t plenty of selfish, narcissistic, unpleasant people floating around the “real” world who don’t make news too, but I do think that the exceptionalism of the news presents a view of human nature that is far more unrelentingly negative than reality. 

In reality, people volunteer, people reach out a helping hand to a stranger, and although there are, of course, bad eggs everywhere and it’s good to take reasonable precautions, there’s lots of good too, if we’re willing to look. Thank you all for that reminder over the past 36 hours. Our politics and passions may vary, but it’s balm for my soul to be reminded of how many of us ordinary humans are willing to go above and beyond. We hope to meet some of you generous, kind people during our travels. Thank you!

6 thoughts on “The Kindness of Strangers

  1. I’ve been so excited for you and for your family ever since you talked about going on this journey. Most of the expats or world travelers that we have met or watched on YouTube or read their blogs, say that living in a different country or traveling around the world has changed their perspective on life dramatically. As expats ourselves, we feel that living in a different country is an experience we are so glad we didn’t miss. You haven’t even left the country yet, and you are already experiencing one of the greatest parts of what this journey is all about; getting to know strangers who want to open their hearts and homes to you. You will love it!


  2. What a great post! I subscribed first just really out of curiosity (human nature!) but this post I see just warms the heart!! Have fun and I am looking forward to upcoming updates!


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