Eight Great Travel Stories of Serendipity and Kindness

Lists: To mark our eighth anniversary, we've collected eight favorite stories from our archives that show how one person, or one small act of kindness, can alter our sense of the world

04.29.09 | 6:09 PM ET

Photo illustration by Jim Benning

We’re believers in the power of travel to transform, a power embodied by the people in these stories. From the man Matt Villano met at a bus stop in Norway to the unlikely ally Kevin Capp found in a Brazilian airport to the doctor in Istanbul who treated Tina Barseghian, they reveal how one person, or just one small act of kindness, can alter our sense of the world. From our archives, eight of our favorite stories of serendipity and kindness.

The Man at the Bus Stop
In Norway, Matt Villano hitched from Korsnes to Bognes, ferried to Lodingen and hiked to the other side of town, where he waited for a bus that wouldn’t come. Then he met Bilger.

Lesson at the Laverie
In a Chamonix laundromat, Jim Benning learns that actions speak louder than words. Especially incomprehensible foreign words.

Stranded in Sao Paulo
During the chaos of a Sao Paulo airport workers’ strike, Kevin Capp discovered an unlikely ally.

The Woman in the Keffiyeh
In southernmost Turkey, women are known as the forbidden ones. So when a beautiful local invited Jeffrey Tayler for a ride on her horse-drawn cart and unmasked herself, he tried not to look. But he failed.

Ciao, Bella
The rains came to Siena, and Sarah Schmelling fell ill. But Signora Franci stayed at her side, bringing velvet slippers, tea, and lessons in basic human kindness.

The Translation of Love and Hate
Taught to despise Turks, Tina Barseghian didn’t know how she would confront her prejudice on a visit to Istanbul. Then she fell ill and met Dr. Alev.

Me and Bruce in Barcelona
Michael Yessis went for a walk in Spain and stumbled upon a Bruce Springsteen concert rehearsal—and an international band of devotees

The Names
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. was just another stop on Michael Murphy‘s road trip. Then he found a name on the wall: Michael Murphy



1 Comment for Eight Great Travel Stories of Serendipity and Kindness

Travel-Writers-Exchange.com 05.05.09 | 1:54 PM ET

These are great articles.  It’s nice to read about something positive in the world versus all of the negativity.  It just goes to show that there are good people in the world.  You just have to align with them and they’ll be drawn to you.

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