Forget Esperanto – Kindness is The Universal Language
I had the great fortune to travel throughout SE Asia over the holiday break. 6 countries.14 days.
Planes, trains, boats, buses, Tuk Tuks, trimshaws, and everything in between.
Roasted cockroaches in the weekend market in Bangkok. Christmas dinner barreling down train tracks somewhere in southern Malaysia on the Orient Express with fellow travelers from all over the world. Fish eating out of my hand while snorkeling in the Bali Straight. And so much more.
The food was delicious, unusual, unforgettable. The experiences filled my memory bank for a lifetime.
But here’s what I really learned.
Kindness is a universal language.
It’s amazing how easily one can communicate in a foreign country, regardless of language skills, if you smile, listen, and be gracious.
I saw an old man step aside and help a small child across a threshold in a crowded market in Bangkok.
I saw youngsters handing their umbrellas to their grandparents in a downpour in Malaysia.
I had someone from South Africa chase after me in the Singapore airport to return the travel document that had slipped out of my bag as I got up to board the plane.
I saw the smile, and heard the giggles, as I snapped a selfie on a crowded street with a server at an outdoor roadside foodstand in the Chinese part of Bangkok.
I saw people rush to my wife’s aid when she accidentally slipped and fell (on the beach, I might add, so a soft landing was guaranteed).
I saw, time and again, graciousness, civility, and kindness extended to friends, family, and strangers everywhere I looked. There was no escaping it.
I was overwhelmed with the aura of kindness, of gentleness, of warmth.
And I was reminded, that despite it being a huge vast expanse, the world is a really small place, made smaller and more connected by kindness.
Because, after all, kindness is the universal language that we can all speak, if we try.