Kindness of Strangers

4 Dec

I am in Hampi now — after two overnight trains — one from Varkala to Bengalore and then one from Bengalore to Hospet (where I got a bus to Hampi).  Hampi is an amazing spiritual landscape of ruins and huge boulders — seriously, a bouldering dream come true!  Makes me want to climb!

I will have some awesome pictures to share with you all.  I am totally exhausted though — I was really tired leaving Varkala as it was and then two overnight trains — suffice it to say that I did not get a whole lot of sleep.  So today is not going to involve a ton of walking around in the sun (though hot, at least it is not as humid here!) — but I had a great lunch at a restaurant that I had to walk through a banana plantation to get to — and then sat on the ground overlooking the river.  And I had to stop myself from ordering everything on the menu….

Anyway — as I mentioned – I had a really good time meeting strangers in Varkala – Rob and Norman in particular (though there was another good find there too! ;).

So — yesterday, when I arrived in Bengalore at 7 in the morning – I did not have a plan for the day other than catching my train at 10 at night.  I read in my trusty lonely planet that there were two touristy areas — so I picked one and had the tuk-tuk driver drop me off.  Of course nothing was open — not even coffee shops — and I had no clue where I was going.  As I was walking down the street, I saw a foreigner and thought I would ask him if he knew where I was (all I needed was a point of reference and then I could work from there!).  I asked him if he spoke English – and he replied – oh, a little.  Just kidding, I am english!

Unfortunately, he was not able to give me a point of reference – as he was in Bengalore for work all of two weeks and he mostly had a driver to get to and from work….  So, while that was not helpful – we went and had a cup of coffee and talked for a bit (as foreigners are apt to do when they meet up traveling – the whole ‘what’s your name, where you from, where are you going’ thing).  It turned out that he did not really have plans for the day – and neither did I — so he invited me back to his hotel to sit by the pool.

Now — disclaimer — I know how sketchy that sounds.  I know that even more sketchy is I took a rinse off in his bathroom (overnight train — which by the way — somehow I ended up in AC!  how cool is that?  well…  literally cool, i suppose!)

But – yes, I know it sounds super sketchy.  And I had to weigh the pros and cons and decide whether I trusted the situation or not (which, is pretty much what I do on a daily basis with just about everyone/everything).  Andy seemed fairly harmless (and andy, when you read this – i hope you get a good laugh out of this!) — and it did sound nice to sit poolside….

So, along I went — to a super nice hotel (i have a picture of poolside) and we sat in the sun and had delicious sandwiches and g-and-t’s.  I did not swim as I had checked my bags at the train station — but it was nice to just hang out.  and, i’ll be honest, nice to be pampered a little in a super nice hotel.  We hung out for the day and then andy treated me to a super nice dinner before I headed to the train station.  Thanks again Andy!

Funny enough — this story is dedicated to another Andy.  I co-instructed a course this summer with the very fun and funny Andy Clair.  And his feedback to me after the course (among other things — one of which was to pack lighter…. wish I had heeded his advice there!) – but he told me that I should be better at accepting (and asking) for help.  And though I was not necessarily looking to be rescued yesterday by Andy (English andy), it was nice to accept his offer and trust/believe that it was all going to work out.  Whereas, I could have said no, no — I am fine, I will do it on my own — and my day would have been very different (and would not have included a hot shower — first in weeks, g-and-t’s poolside and a super fancy dinner!).

So — here is to accepting help and opening oneself up to the kindness of strangers!

more from me soon — with pictures hopefully!

lots of love — aurora

11 Responses to “Kindness of Strangers”

  1. Sandra Collins December 4, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Fantastic story! Many of us have positive stories of trusting strangers. It gives us hope in humanity. -Sandra

  2. Carol Kushner December 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    I believe you are learning some worthwhile lessons–it’s good to open yourself to the universe and trust that good things will happen. And I also know hat your intuition is right on!

  3. Jay December 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Looks wonderful. Just discovered your blog… totally agree, it really is “all one big expedition.” Well, I’ve got some reading to do on here now, but you look beautiful, having fun, really happy for you!!

    • planetaurora December 5, 2011 at 10:36 am #

      thanks jay!
      I have thought of you often – being here in India! hope you are well – and great to have you ‘along’ on the adventure!

  4. Sarah A December 4, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    Absolutely delightful! Reminds me of the “Hilton” we found in Leh…only with a pool an with g-&-t’s. Glad you had so much fun and are opening yourself to the goodness that surrounds you.

    • planetaurora December 5, 2011 at 10:34 am #

      thanks all…. feels good to be opening myself up to all the goodness that is out there…. i feel truly blessed!

  5. Jon Galanis December 5, 2011 at 1:52 am #

    Hey Aurora,

    Just wanted to say HI! and let you know that I’ve been keeping up with your blog / am super jealous of your exploring and so happy for you that you are able to do this. Stay safe / Have fun

    -Jon Galanis

    • planetaurora December 5, 2011 at 10:37 am #

      thanks Jon — great to have you along!
      It is a pretty good adventure and very few days have gone by that I have not felt so lucky!

  6. Sarah December 5, 2011 at 2:50 am #

    You are wonderful!

  7. Melanie December 5, 2011 at 5:35 am #

    Traveling is such a beautiful opportunity to learn your own gut wisdom. The voice gets louder the more you trust it and listen. You always know. This carries forward in life way passed the traveling days too. Its so lovely to learn when to relax and trust and enjoy yourself with ease. Such a gift to both people to receive help when its offered but so hard to learn to accept it! Especially for us independent types that love to help others. Those unexpected posh days while living the backpacker life are such a treat too! You are bringing back so many great memories for me Aurora, thanks so much for posting so often with such depth!


  1. 8 months in review…. « planetaurora - May 13, 2012

    […] good happened to me. There was the time I had a day layover in Bengalore, but I ended up getting to sit poolside drinking gin and tonics.  And then there was that other time that I was delayed in getting to […]

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