Stories of Kindness: Mangoes in Uttaradit

 Stories of kindness from around the world - Mangos in UttaraditUttaradit is a province dropped halfway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand. It’s probably visited more by lost backpackers who got off at the wrong train stop, as many locals assumed we did, than tourists. But hey, we love places off the tourist track, which is exactly why my family lived in Uttaradit for a month to teach English. Every day we spent a few hours singing our hearts out and teaching basic English to adorable primary schoolers. After that, we would just wander around town. Usually aimlessly, which always leads to the best surprises.

On one particularly hot summer’s day, we were walking down a street outside of town where a man was fixing the DIY speed bump in front of his house. He paused his cement stirring to initially ask if we were lost,  and then invite us for some ice water. 

They say Thailand is the country of smiles, and this couldn’t be closer to the truth. One moment you’ll be walking down the street and the next someone will be smiling at you, saying hello, waving, or even feeding you. 

We entered through his gate and sat outside at a long table, under the shade of a huge mango tree. Ice cold water was served and his wife began to peel mangos from a gigantic mountain of a fruit bowl and give them to us. I’ve never eaten so many mangoes in my life, it was incredible. Immediately we began to feel rejuvenated, the sweat on our faces replaced with smiles and sweet fruit juice. We sat and chatted with them for an hour in a language made up entirely of photos, hand motions, and google translate. The husband proudly showed us pictures of his family, and we explained we were working as English teachers at the local school. And then as quickly as we arrived, we went away on our separate paths, and reflected on how kindness definitely appears in the places you would least expect. 


Hello! This is the second post from a new series about kindness on the road. I was inspired by Jessie Voigts of Wanderingeducators.com to create something positive by highlighting stories of great people and genuine kindness I’ve experienced while travelling. More coming soon 🙂 Thanks for reading, xx -Izzy

Italy: The Best Gelato of my Life

italy and houses near the coast

Italy is one of those places that everyone always talks about, but you never really realize how cool it is until you are there. My initial reaction was and is: WOW. The history, the food, the people, the language, the GELATO. I can hardly contain all my excitement.

Our first week in Italy was in a quiet suburbia near Castleforte, and an hour from Rome. Rome was, yes, breathtaking. What was even more breathtaking was the kindness we received from our host family, Luleciano and Ewa and their two kids Greta and Giulio.

People are amazing, honestly. A year and a half into this crazy world travel life and I still find myself smiling profusely at the generosity and friendship we receive from absolute strangers.

After knowing my family for no more than two days Luleciano took us to visit some of the most beautiful places in the region.

We climbed on the rocks overlooking the sea and felt the soft Italian ocean breeze across our faces. During the warm summer time, they come here to hike and dive of the rocks for oysters.

italy2

Later we visited a city called Scauri for the best gelato ever.

I’m not kidding. The shop, Lavezzi Gelato, has been around since the late 1800’s which means plenty of time to perfect their recipe. The current owner is a childhood acquaintance of Luleciano. When you walk in there are these giant golden tubs of gelato in all the flavors imaginable, and… wait for it… a chocolate fountain. I’m curently reflecting back on my beautiful chocolate lined cone filled with salted carmel, and yeah I don’t think it gets much better. I’m sad to say Italy has probably ruined ice cream for me, which isn’t the worst thing to complain about.

Thankful for amazing host families, my family, gelato, and of course Italy😄

A post shared by Izabel🌈 (@izzyantle) on Apr 26, 2017 at 1:15pm PDT

 

The day before we left our Italian family they held an annual BBQ for Italian independence day with all their friends, and invited us too. The day was spent sipping and eating homemade wine and cheese while listening to sound of Italian. I learned how to make artichokes with Ewa and to properly say “mamma mia!”.

Travelers are pretty seasoned to goodbyes, but I gotta say this one wasn’t easy.


Hi friends, family, and anyone else reading! We are currently in Elena, Bulgaria after a crazy busy few months of not-so-slow travel and I am just getting around to writing about it all :). Another post or two on Italy are in the works, and then on to Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Bulgaria. Thanks for reading! xx – Izzy

Stories of Kindness: Friends on the Tokyo Metro

Stories of Kindness From Around the World: Friends on the Tokyo Metro

Friends on the Tokyo Metro

Two summers ago, my family left the states for our first ever backpacking trip, to Japan. Our first stop was an incredible few days in Tokyo, where we explored the marvels of a modern city unlike one I’d ever seen before. The sushi was, of course, delicious, as were the 7-11 dumplings and bubble tea. So far Japan was proving itself to be even better than what I expected.

Our last day in Tokyo rolled around too soon, and we found ourselves (and our six backpacks) crammed in a subway car in rush hour metro traffic. Have you ever seen that picture in downtown Tokyo where the metro attendants literally have to squish everyone into the subway car? We lived it. Fifty or so Japanese commuters wearing hello kitty and other themed face masks, standing shoulder to shoulder, and us. We pushed our way to the back of the car, where we met a group of Japanese backpackers en route to the mountains. Initially, we laughed together about our big backpacks and the cramped train, and soon shared a few words about where we were headed. All of a sudden, they started emptying stuff out their backpacks and pulling out plastic bags of chocolate and candy and handing them to me and my sisters.

As someone who lives out of their backpack, I know that the few things you carry are usually packed for a purpose…and important. Sharing their carefully packed items with us was such a simple gesture of friendship, and a very unexpected and kind one from people we had known for no more than a few minutes. We gave them some buffalo jerky from Colorado, and exchanged words of good luck in our different languages before they left the train. When I remember Tokyo, before the city lights and sushi, I remember the kindness of our Japanese backpacker friends because people always leave the strongest impression of a place.


Hello! This is the first post from a new series about kindness on the road. I was inspired by Jessie Voigts of Wanderingeducators.com to create something positive by highlighting stories of great people and genuine kindness I’ve experienced while travelling. More coming soon 🙂