Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Travel has done wonders for restoring my faith in humanity. Not that Toronto is an unfriendly place to live, but sometimes, with so many people crushed together we forget to stop and lend a hand, and protecting ourselves from unwanted attention, we rush on by. The other morning I watched a women in a crowded, rush-hour subway station ask three people ahead of me for directions, each one rushing past, until I stopped.
Jim and I have been lucky enough to travel quite a bit this year and so many times we've been blown away by the kindness of strangers who stop to help a bewildered and lost couple (us) find their way. In our travels to Islay, Scotland we met two very wonderful gentleman who personify the generosity of spirit on this beautiful island. In another post I mentioned how Jim and I are not the best of travelers - our planning is vague at best, and it has taken me some time to put into words the story of our trip to Islay.
We typed in our departure (Edinburgh) and arrival destinations (Port Ellen, Islay) into a travel planner and printed out our schedule and directions. The next morning we hopped onto the train that would take us from Edinburgh to our bus-stop in Glasgow (n.b. trip planners will always give you the fastest route, not necessarily the easiest route). Alas, the day went bad from there - we missed our bus, waited three hours for the next one, missed our boat, and waited three hours for the next one, again. We boarded the ferry thinking all our problems were solved, but alas, we had once again missed the bus at our final destination - the last bus of the day. Now you know just how great we are at traveling! Thankfully, this is when our travel angels came to the rescue. If you're ever in Port Askaig, Islay, please say hello to the man who owns the convenience store. He graciously let me charge more money than he had in his till, requiring a trip to the pub for more cash, on my credit card in order to take out cash - after discovering that our debit cards were useless in Islay. Then, when the only cab driver on the island was unavailable, he arranged transportation with a lorry driver for us. Which brings me to our lovely lorry driver, a man who had traveled to Toronto years before and found himself lost with a cab driver who, when they finally arrived at his destination, only charged him $20 for a two-hour ride.
We were lucky to have met such wonderful people that day, who took time out of their days to stop and lend a hand to weary travelers. I only hope we can repay the favor forward someday.
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