Tas­min Waby Des­ti­na­tion editor for Aus­tralia and the Pa­cific @al­a­dy­on­aboat

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Journal -

While trav­el­ling alone in Laos, I caught a mid­day bus head­ing south from the cap­i­tal Vi­en­tiane to the lesser-vis­ited city of Sa­van­nakhet. Un­for­tu­nately, the bus dropped me out­side of town in the mid­dle of the night. No-one was around. I checked my map and re­alised the near­est ac­com­mo­da­tion was at least a mile away, so I put my back­pack on and headed east. Street­lights are a rare treat in this part of the world and I quickly found my­self wan­der­ing down a pitch black sub­ur­ban road. The ter­ri­fy­ing barks of guard dogs drowned out the crick­ets that had been keep­ing my spir­its up and it wasn’t long be­fore tears were stream­ing down my face as I con­tem­plated sleep­ing in a ditch for the night. Sud­denly, I heard the whine of a scooter coming to­wards me. I couldn’t see the rider but I ran out and flagged him down. A young man, prob­a­bly about 16 years old, pulled over look­ing very con­fused by the sight of a chubby white girl cry­ing in the mid­dle of nowhere. I showed him my map and mo­tioned that I needed a bed. He put me on the back of his bike and we sped into town through the warm night air. I was so re­lieved by the kind­ness of this stranger that I ac­tu­ally started laugh­ing out loud, then he did too. When he got me to a hos­tel, he banged on the door un­til some­one came out. It was a small ges­ture, but the les­son has stayed with me on my trav­els since then. And ev­ery time I’ve had the op­por­tu­nity, I’ve done the same for other lost trav­ellers – pay­ing it for­ward.

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