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 🙂

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What We Did in France

Colorful streets in france, green backpacks, family walking, blue sky

With backpacks in Chartres, France

After Denmark we flew through France by train. Our travel though France was a bit unusual to how we usually travel… We didn’t plan anything ahead, and stayed in cities for only one night, and we slept in hotels. Despite the short visit, it was great getting a quick taste of France and we will definitely have to come back to see the rest of the country.

We first entered France through Lillie Flanders after crossing Belgium. The most interesting part of travelling this way, by trains, was seeing the landscape and architecture change as we progressed west through Europe. The change was very visible upon entering France. The pointed roofs and brick houses of Belgium and Denmark were replaced by tall buildings with narrow windows and beautiful carved decorations that lined every street. We wandered around for a while, searching for a cheap hotel and checking out some Gothic cathedrals along the way.  As night aproached and hunger grew we were aquainted with French food for the first time (and French prices) and decided to have a hotel room picnic that night.

French design, tall narrow homes in lillie, France

Old and new in Lillie

The next day we took a one way train to Paris and spent the day walking around to see as much as possible. Despite the cloudy day, the city was beautiful. There was something interesting on every corner.

A news stand and street photo in Paris

People doing things in Paris

As a history nerd, seeing the Arc de Triomphe was my favorite. The Arc commemorates all who fought or died for France during the French Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, and both World Wars.

Paris, France and the Arc, busy road

The Arc

We also saw the well-known Café des Deux Moulins. The cafe is famous for being where Amelie, from the classic French movie under the same name, worked in the film.

people in the Café des Deux Moulins in Paris, france

Café des Deux Moulins

That evening we traveled to Chartres, France. This city was my favorite of all that we visited. We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning, and had a delicious bagel sandwich for breakfast in the square. The city was empty of tourists which made for a very peaceful day people watching and exploring.

amazing food in chartres, this is a colorful bagel sandwich

Look at the deliciousness!

After breakfast we looked around the cute streets of the old city, and saw the stunning Gothic architecture of the Notre Dam.

Gothic structure of the Notre Dam in Fance

Notre Dam in Chartres, France

That’s all for France. Next stop is Spain!

I Was Published!

Back in August I discovered an online publication called The Travellist Magazine. The magazine, on its fourth issue,  features and connects photographers, artists, and writers who all share the a common love of travel.

I saw that they were seeking submissions, and inquired for fun, not sure what to expect. It turned out I got a spot writing for the “A New Sensation” section,  a thousand word article on my family and how we are travelling. My first freelance gig! The experience was wonderful, and very exciting as I was working with so many talented adults.

It was a learning curve, and I’m excited to gain more experience in this field in the future. Here is the final product. Thanks for reading!

 

What we Did in Denmark

Denmark was the first stop along our travels through Europe this year. We stayed for a week in Tolne, which is a tiny train station town in the northernmost part of Denmark.

We arrived at Tolne Gjaestgivergaard, a pottery studio which attracts most of the visitors to the town.

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Life in a pottery studio/ house

We discovered this place on Workaway, and despite not being all that artistically inclined we found plenty do at their annual international ceramic arts conference.

family travel, workaway, denmark, cooking in the kitchen

In the kitchen

For a week we helped with cooking and cleaning in exchange for lodging in the middle of a beautiful forest, and delicious Danish food everyday. Even better, we were able to make friends with a ton of amazing potters and ceramic artists! The studio is well-known for its resident artist programs, where artists from all over the world come to live and learn full-time at the studio. And they are always hosting many volunteers from workaway,  so there was always someone to talk to.

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New friend Lea in Skagen

On one day all the volunteers and some artists went to visit Skagen, a larger city on the northern tip of Jutland, Denmark. Skagen is one of the most visited places in Denmark . The city has some historical background as being a very popular gathering place for artists in the summers of the 1800’s and 1900’s. Many Scandinavian artists came to paint the beautiful scenery and lighting. Much of the art has been preserved and can be seen at the Skagen museum.

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The famous art of Skagen

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Yellow streets of Skagen, Denmark

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Kathryn eating a Danish danish

After the museum we visited famous Grenen Beach, the place where the North and Baltic seas meet. Supposedly, during the summer on a clear day you can’t tell where water ends and sky begins; the whole place looks like a huge blue dome. The day we went was rainy and grey, but dramatic and beautiful nonetheless.

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Grenen beach, the northern most part of Denmark. In the distance you can see the North and Baltic seas meeting in forever clashing waves

Our time in Tolne was probably the most authentic Denmark experience possible. Everyone was extremely nice and welcoming, and we felt like a part of the family almost instantly. I’m sure we will be back next time we are in Denmark, but until then I won’t forget the amazing people and memories made here.

Thanks for reading and happy travels! XX -Izzy

(P.S. if you want to learn more about Tolne Gjaestgivergaard and possible stay in their inn yourself you can click here. And if you want to learn about and donate to their resident artists project you can click here)

 

 

 

March 5: Starting fresh(ish)

 

Today marks just about two months since leaving my home in colorful Colorado, to embark on an incredible journey of  full time slow travel with my family around the world. I originally started this blog to share interesting stories and experiences, and to give tips to other teens, travelers or anyone really. However, I don’t feel I have accomplished any of these things. I took a month long break from blogging because I needed time to think, accept, and adjust to my new life, which are things I have really struggled with in the recent past. I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to appear as my life is perfect and I have been afraid to take this whole traveling-the-world thing seriously because it just didn’t feel real yet.

The title of my blog is Amateur World Travelr because yes, I am still figuring things out. I don’t know how to be a blogger or a traveler or an adult for that matter which is something I thought that first time travelers would be able to relate too, or that people would find interesting. Being a teenager in this type of lifestyle brings on a whole new set of challenges I hope to write about in the future.

So basically I wanted to start fresh. I want to use this blog as both a creative outlet and social tool. I hope I can share both positive and negative experiences. And most of all I hope that my experiences, hardships, stories, tips, and amateur-ness can inspire others to get out of their comfort zone, do something different, and learn new things too.

Thanks for reading, expect new things to come. 🙂 -Izzy