I went down to the beach after leaping off the boat after an incredible day of scuba diving in Tofo, Mozambique. The white sand cracked under my feet as the waves rolled softly. I had just seen a whale shark underwater and I was in paradise. It had taken me many days of grueling bus travels to get there, but I accomplished it, and it proved out more amazing than I had dreamed.
I was wearing no shoes, hadn’t even thought about putting makeup in weeks, and was beaming from ear to ear on a bright day at one of the most gorgeous beaches in the world.
It wasn’t long until I noticed my squad of buddies further down the dunes. I met them a week previously when on my way back to my guest home I saw several pleasant faces in the hammocks and stopped to speak with them for a bit. I didn’t realize it at the time, but they turned out to be one of the best and strongest crews I have ever encountered on a trip, if not the most amazing to date. I ended up spending the rest of my three weeks in Africa with them, almost connected at the hip.
We were a group of 20-30 from all corners of the world; some from the United States and others from Australia, Switzerland and Canada. Some were Peace Corps volunteers, while the others came there by word of mouth, just like me.
They had excavated a large hole in the sand for hours that day. It was the creation of Jonas, a 20-year-old Swiss whose soul animal is undoubtedly a meerkat. He couldn’t let go of the thought of making this happen and had been talking about it for days.
His master plan was to make a hole big enough to accommodate nine people because that’s exactly what you do when you have a bunch of smart people together in heaven with lots of free time, isn’t it? He was so enthusiastic that everyone got on board because why not?
As soon as I came, they reprimanded me, “Kristin is here! what I have to tell you is one of the best things to hear when you get into a group of individuals. Feeling really welcome is at the top of my list of favorite feelings in the world.
The hole was absurdly enormous, and when it came time to bury them so we could snap photographs before sunset, everyone helped out, from the beach guys who had been selling us coconuts for two weeks to passersby. at random who opted to be involved. Who wouldn’t, right? That was too bizarre and amazing to walk away from.
I offered to be the photographer since I adore the position and I don’t do well with small, cramped areas.
It was an excellent choice.
So we concluded that if you want your garden to develop…
You have to water it, right?
Later that night, washed and delighted in the heat of the night, we sat in a circle waiting for our dinner. It hadn’t come yet since in Mozambique, it takes at least two hours between the order and the dinner. That’s when you just have to shrug your shoulders and say “TIA” (that’s Africa) and learn the meaning of patience.
We agreed in the true spirit of Thanksgiving, as it was November 26, that with or without a gathering, we should express what we were most grateful for.
As he came to Caspar, a very well-spoken, tall, brown-haired, green-eyed Aussie who had been studying, working and living in Mozambique for two years, he said something that brought tears to my eyes:
The more he explored the world, the more he came to truly think that humans are basically good.
He claimed that whenever things started to look dismal, someone would come along and alter everything. He mentioned occasions when he had to hitchhike on the side of the road, got lost, or just publicly begged for help when he needed it, and it still has him. find. The amount of goodwill others continually gave him, whenever he had no option but to rely on it, strengthened his notion.
His statements resonated because I had long felt the same. Every time I thought things were hopeless; as when I was lost and someone showed me the way, when I waited on the side of the road waiting for a ride and received one, or I lost my debit card and someone bailed me out, I was also taught that people are fundamentally decent. Nothing has ever been so devastating that it can’t be redeemed by a spontaneous act of compassion. Most of the time, it was someone who had less than me, or who was a complete stranger, who offered the most.
I have frequently pondered, and some have even told me, that I was foolish and idealistic to feel this way, and that these things don’t happen to everyone. Seeing him utter the same thing I felt to my core ultimately verified what I knew to be true: The world and the people in it are more kind, generous, and like one another than mean, selfish and distinct from each other. Even without speaking the same language, we may discover common ground.
It also proved that what you submit is what you receive back. He and I are both open and generous, but also understanding and not ashamed to seek help. People donate when they experience that type of kind, open attitude, and when people ask me for aid, I pay it forward.
I felt very blessed at that time to be surrounded by such enthusiasm. It’s one of those things you hope for optimistically, yet know better than you expect when traveling. It’s unusual to discover such beautiful individuals to share your time with and the type of thing that can only happen when all the proper things arise and you meet the ones who generate that spark.
I attribute these moments to traveling solo and being open to spontaneity. It delivers the spirit that travel has always had for me: an unexpected journey with individuals you have just met but who may be your friends for life. Each new meeting has the potential to shift your trajectory, and you just never know what or who in the world could happen to you next. It’s the spice of life, isn’t it?
I can’t help but believe that if I had pursued Mozambique’s original plan with J, I would never have met this gang. I may not have landed in Tofo at the same moment, I might not have walked and met them that day, and I probably wouldn’t have given any attention to someone else.
So thank you, J. In the end, everything happened as planned, and I’m delighted you found love.
I did too.