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December 19, 2016

Fun ways to make Life Easier for others when Traveling.

 ngader

When I’m traveling, I love to make life easier for others.

It’s easy to take people in the service industry for granted. They often keep their heads down as they hammer on the task at hand. If I’m paying attention, I can feel their efforts.

When I travel, I tend to be overly-empathic, which can can be debilitating if I’m not careful. To remain in the flow, I try to reach out to others who appear to need a little love. I often play a game with myself to see how many altruistic things I can accomplish during one travel stint.

I love to help others. It’s the best addiction.

These are things that I do to upgrade my travel karma:

Bathrooms.

In an effort to help other travelers feel more comfortable, before I leave a bathroom in an airport, bus station or convention center, I pick up trash on the floor, wipe down the toilet seat and alert the janitor of any issues I can’t fix. The little things add up.

Hotel Rooms.

A maid’s job is tough, often disrespected and repetitive. Before leaving a hotel room, I roll all the towels into a ball and place them near the door. I put all the trash into one bucket and strip the bed. I throw out the used soap and place the shampoo containers next to the sink. I open a window to bring in fresh air and I leave a small tip with a cute note with a heart on it.

Restaurants.

When at restaurants, I pile my dishes, napkins and silverware and push them closer to the edge of the table so it’s easier for waitstaff to clear. When I sense a waiter or waitress is stressed or unhappy, I ask them a light-hearted personal question about their family, culture or jewelry. I try to bring them out of themselves so they can feel appreciated. When I sense the waitstaff needs some extra love and attention, I leave a 50-100 percent tip.

Eye Contact.

Maids, janitors, shoe-shiners and floor sweepers tend to be ignored and I believe this effects their well-being. When I see someone working hard to clean or fix something, I give them a smile, share eye contact or engage them in conversation. I’ve met some of the most loving, profound and interesting people this way.

Airports.

I love airports and I am committed to enjoying every aspect of my experience there. I arrive at security three hours early so I can be friendly, peaceful and relaxed during the process. When someone near me looks a little freaked out or stressed, I let them go ahead of me. When I see a cranky or disgruntled person, I engage them in conversation with the hope of softening their frustration. I remain alert and friendly with security staff, saying “thank you” as many times as possible.

When entering airport security, I always pre-plan what I’ll put in the trays. I untie my shoe laces so they come off more easily. I put my belt in my travel bag. I make sure my computer bag is unzipped so all I have to do is pull my laptop and drop it into a tray.

If someone near me looks confused, I grab a tray for them and give them encouragement. When exiting airport security, I pick up the left-over trays on the conveyer belt/scanner and put them in the tray holder to make room for everybody.

Compassion with Strangers.

Travel can be alienating for many people. I like to seek out ways to give others a moment of nurturance or positive reinforcement. I often seek out the most sad and upset person in a restaurant and I secretly pay for their meal, leaving before the waitress tells them their bill was paid.

If a taxi/Uber/Lyft/rickshaw driver shares a story of hardship and I can feel their pain, I give them a large sum of money and tell them I love them. I did this in Thailand and the taxi driver squeezed me so hard, we both burst into tears.

When I feel someone’s pain and I am unable to help them in some way, I imagine light shining down on them and I ask the Universe/God to lighten their heart and give them strength.

Let’s all keep an eye out for each other when we travel. A little love goes a long, long way.

~

Author: Paul Wagner

Image: flickr/ngader

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

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