One of the best things about travelling is the people you meet along the way. The world is full of generous, humble souls.
This week, our members are discussing surprising and unexpected gifts they have received while travelling. There are stories of incredible generosity and random acts of kindness… as well as a few stories that are downright bizarre. Australian frequent flyers have been gifted everything from champagne to goats. Yes, you read that correctly – goats!
Seat 0B tells of visiting Amman with her son who happens to speak fluent Arabic. Their driver was astonished and rewarded them handsomely, as Seat 0B writes:
We had a wonderful talk about family life in Jordan and how he went about the process of arranging marriages for his 4 daughters. He then proceeded to take us, unasked, to all his favourite local market stalls for flat breads, dips, fruit, pastries, and involved our son in all the transactions. Many cups of mint tea with the merchants ensued, and for me a look behind the curtains for a drink and pastry with the womenfolk. At the end of the day, he gave us all the day’s purchases and would not take money. So we booked him for our airport transfer and left a big tip. This was an amazing gift – to see and hear about the real life of local people, as well as eat some delicious local produce.
Similarly in the medina markets in Amman – buying fresh figs from a stall keeper who was so astonished at our son’s language skills that he took our money for the 6 figs we asked for, and then gave us 2kg for free. Amazing generosity in a very poor part of the world.
Some members have written of generous individuals that have stopped to help them when lost in a foreign country. Others have been offered transport, and even free use of a stranger’s car.
John in Melbourne tells of backpacking through Spain in the 1970s on a very tight budget. They decided one day to splurge on a restaurant meal which they weren’t sure they could afford. Unbeknownst to them, a British couple paid for it.
Didn’t really know what to do, as I had no idea on which direction I should be going. Remembering the “desert rules” from outback WA, I decided best to sit and wait. But what for I wasn’t sure. Anyway, several hours later a Bedouin tribe came by with their camels and goats and allowed me to stay with and travel with them. We walked heaps through the desert and spent the night under the skies surrounded by their livestock. The next day we got back to (some sort of) civilization. The bedouins were so excited for me and wanted to wish me well in my future travels.
And what did they give me as a gift? A GOAT! Lovely though it was, I politely declined the offer….
As a way of saying “thank you” to people they meet on their travels, some AFF members now carry small gifts themselves. When overseas (during non-covid times), some Aussies find that small Australian-themed gifts such as koalas are appreciated.
Have you received a welcome but unexpected present while travelling? Or perhaps you came across a random act of kindness that you still appreciate to this day? Share your story on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: What’s the best unexpected gift you have received while travelling?