Pay attention to those little moments in life: the kindness and thoughtfulness of strangers eclipse those moments of hot-headed city folk driving in traffic or walking through streets of dried spit, poop, gum, and other unmentionables.

I’m sitting on the train from New York City heading up to Vermont, USA. I nearly did not make it here – not because I was late but because I had been waiting for the delayed train’s platform announcement. With Elsie the bike and my bags in tow – navigating the jumble of Penn Station was made easier by my friends from Land is Life when they gave me advice on which entrance to take.

Kindness really does go a long way. When I am in a strange new place during my travels I am always cautious about people on the street. Funnily enough, I was treated with a lot more pleasantries walking around in Harlem than in Times Square (I was the recipient of a passionate “Goddamnit!” by a smartly dressed blonde lady as I slowly crossed the cycle path with my laden bike – in fact, SHE was in my way).

Although I am also capable of returning some unkind words, and have done so on many occasions when I felt justice needed to be served, I find it creates a domino effect for things to continue going wrong…so I just let it go.

I truly believe that if we show people kindness, we will receive it too. It may not be from the same people, but generosity is like a surfing – sometimes you don’t catch the same wave, but inevitably, all waves end up on the same beach.

I say this because I am extremely grateful for all the generosity I’ve received in NYC during my brief stay: coffee, lunch and dinner treats, beer time, precious personal time, a free bed for a few days, a scrumptious cookie…a free doughnut from the bar man on this train. Countless small gestures by friends and strangers add up to one big grateful and soppy Me.

Enjoying a random jamming at Pat & Chris’ kitchen with Sam and Mickee

The generosity did not end there. Knowing only one person in Vermont (whom I had met earlier this year) was enough to pique curiosity into exploring that new place. Being a solo female traveller in a new place can indeed be quite daunting, especially when you are planning to camp out in the woods occasionally.

Wild hammock camping in Lake Wllloughby

My first set of hosts, whom I had found through the awesome community called Warmshowers, opened their doors to a cycling stranger with a punctured tyre. The next day, I was pleasantly surprised by their kindness and generosity – they had not only made me waffles and maple syrup (an absolute Must-Have in Vermont), they had also fixed my tyre so I could continue my journey!

I met even more people who invited me to join them in their summer gatherings. Whether it was an intimate family meal, a lunch, going for a walk in a market, a drink, an ice cream, a bike ride, a hike, a swim, a picnic, or a big gathering of old friends – their kindness was nothing short of awesome and unforgettable.

These people were the types that would ask for nothing in return apart for your company, and yet I feel the need to pay it forward.

Silence speaks more than words.

My takeaway from this trip was that in this world where we can easily forget our humanity, we don’t need to make

huge gestures to make a difference in someone’s life.

Every person I encountered definitely made a difference in mine.