Mural discovered in Budapest, Hungary.
Random acts of kindness don’t have to be complicated to make a difference in the world. Kindness is about love, connection and acknowledgment. It can feel dangerous, radical, and take you out of your comfort zone. It takes gumption to approach a stranger to give them a handout, a hand up, or some help. It’s empowering too. I write this at the traditional, heart-focused time of year, near Valentine’s Day in the US, but to focusing on more than platitudes, hearts, and flowers. After some searching, I found several ways you can practice random acts of kindness and some very deliberate initiatives for travelers.
1. Doing good
Acting kindly can make you feel different, charged, curious, and happy because there’s joy in giving to one another. The Give Love Project asks us, “to shift the cultural relationship that we have with giving.” You can see how to participate through their website or attend one of their events.
Give Love San Diego is set for random and creative acts of kindness
In San Diego on Saturday, February 10th, there’s a free AXIS event – Give Love San Diego – from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm in alliance with the Old Globe Theater. The Old Globe’s Arts Engagement program, AXIS, organizes free cultural programs which are led by local artists and craftspeople. Attend and be prepared for delightful encounters, flowers, for photos, sidewalk graffiti, dancing, dice and more. As things in Copley Plaza wrap up, you’ll have time to catch a performance of the Importance of Being Earnest, a classic tale of love.
2. Who inspires you to be kind?
In eighty-seven countries across the world, acts of kindness are being inspired and tracked by the Random Acts of Kindness non-profit, a global community inspiring hope and generosity through actions and words. How can you get involved? Become a Raktivist, a Random Act of Kindness
Answer the question: “Who is the one person that inspires you to be kind?” during the week of Feb. 11th to 18th, and share it with the community through stories and pictures. Sign up here
. Also, as a Kindness Ambassador, you can help organize monthly kindness missions or simply admire their stories, videos or pictures online.
Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia.
3. Travel and do good.
Each week I seem to discover a new travel group or tour that is promoting kindness. Since so much has been written about volunteerism, I wanted to share a few other ways you can travel kindly through companies who structure random acts of kindness into their business plans. If you know of others, please let me know in comments below.
- Kynder Travel searches for kind, eco-conscious and community-based hospitality establishments around the planet. They only work with accommodations that care about guests, their staff, community and the world. Your first act of kindness can be to book a room in one of Kynder Travel’s unique destinations.
- Kind Traveler (KindTraveler.com) creates acts of kindness every day through established partnerships with hotels and charities. In 2017 they won the Best Ethical Travel Agency award from Eluxe Magazine. Every booking offers discounts below other booking sites upon a $10 nightly donation to a local charity that helps you leave a positive mark on the destination you are visiting, or to a favorite charity of choice. 100% goes to charity and there are more than 50 local and global vetted charities to choose from.
A Philadelphia volunteer ready to perform random acts of kindness with visitors and locals.
4. Work to help tourism impact the world positively
If you are involved in the travel industry, or know someone who is, you know how tourism can help or hurt. With more travelers exploring the world than ever, making tourism sustainable and positive for everyone, local and otherwise, is more important than ever.
The Impact Travel Alliance
is made up of thousands of industry professionals working towards transparency and much more. (I’m a member of their Media Network.) Find out about their initiatives and join one of the Impact Hubs around the world. Here’s a graphic about their goals:
Where do you go from here?
It’s amazing how intention can make things happen. Set the intention to practice more acts of kindness and they will appear. Take action and get involved in some of the initiatives in this post, create some in your hometown, and make kindness part of your adventures.
What can you do to make the world a kinder place?
Mural found in Chicago.
Enjoyed this post? Share it to keep random acts of kindness going and Happy Valentines Day! Here’s another post that features a review of the book, The Yellow Envelope about real life changes based in the practice of kindness.
As a seasoned traveller, this gives me more hope to travel. I don’t know if anyone one of you does this, but whenever I go on foreign trips to cities, on the last day I look for and go to the local orphanage or elder home and donate whatever remaining money I have out of the budget that I had for the city. And then take a photo with some of the inhabitants. After spending some time, I leave. Years of doing this has made me a very different person than I would have had I not done it. Proud of it and it feels good, above all.
Thanks, Rekha, What a wonderful ritual and a lovely way to end your trips. I’m going to consider doing the same.
Agreed! It’s nice when we realise we really do have the power of making someones day or breaking it
It can be a small act with a huge impact and we may never know how kindness can affect someone.
I love this, what a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I think acts of kindness benefit the giver as much (or more) as the receiver, so I’m grateful to be able to show kindness. It’s heartening to hear about organizations and movements to be kind. Appreciate the information and will use it at the first opportunity.
Thanks so much, Cynthia. I think there’s a wave building in reaction to so much heartlessness in the world today.
Dear Elaine, Thank you so much for including Kynder, it means the world to me! 🙂 I’m so happy to be friends and to collaborate for kindness in travel & hospitality. Cheers!
You’re most welcome, Louree. I love what you’re building and am glad we can collaborate to make travel kinder. All the best.
Hi Elaine. As kindness has had a profound impact on my life, I do seek it out and extend it at every opportunity. I had not previously heard of travel groups focused on kindness and will check them out1
Thanks, Doreen. I think of you as a consummately kind human and I’m sure you seek out opportunities to share that all the time.
I love this idea, being kind is something the world lacks at the moment and something we need. I hope the movement keep growing and become much more global.
You went right to the heart of the matter! Thanks, Michele.
Very timely, indeed.
Speaking of random acts of kindness, I mistakenly left a bag at our local pharmacy today. My business card happened to be in it. Within minutes I had a phone call from a stranger telling me he had found it and insisted on returning it.
By the way , particularly liked the Chicago mural in your post.
Happy Valentine’s Day 🙂
Thanks, Ursula. How fortunate and kind! Glad your meds were returned. Thanks about the mural. I love exploring Chicago.
Elaine, I love this post! I think it’s important to be aware to do acts of kindness at home and on the road. It not only helps others but it also makes us feel good about ourselves. I was on my way to Puerto Rico a few days ago and I helped an elderly woman get off her seat and grabbed her things. The look of gratitude on her face made my day.
What a sweet encounter. I’m sure her look made your heart glow.
This is such a wonderful post. We should all do more to make the world a better place, but often it is overwhelming and we end up doing nothing. It is great to have some ideas of how to action these thoughts of goodwill, and actually do it! I love the idea of helping others randomly through travel, I’ll check out Kynder asap!
So glad you enjoyed this, Claire. Yes, seeing the need and not being sure where to start can be overwhelming. I’m no expert, I doubt any of us are but we have to keep trying. Enjoy Kynder! Good people there.
This is a really beautiful post. I love the idea of traveling to great a greater good. Sustainable travel is becoming a bigger and bigger trend and i LOVE it. These are taking it one step further, though. I’d love to look into the Give Love Project more!
Don’t you just love that sustainable travel is starting to trend?! If we want to keep going and going it just has to be done better. Enjoy the Give Love Project. They have some sweet ideas on giving.
Kindness is one thing which can align up so many things and bring a smile to peoples face. You are so right that travelers can help so much to spread kindness. I just knew about the travel groups which are promoting random acts of kindness in their business plans.
A smile to other’s faces and your own! With support, more businesses will make kindness a part of their work too.
This is such a lovely post, Elaine! I’ve clicked through to check out many of the organizations you mentioned. Kind Travel definitely peaked my interest as I love that they donate to organizations that they’ve already vetted when you book through them. The Impact Travel Alliance also sounds fantastic. As you said, having the intention to work kindness into your daily life will help you to manifest it. Thanks for sharing these fantastic resources!
You are so welcome, Jen. Glad that you checked these businesses out. We’re on the way to making a real difference in lives.
Kind travel does so good. Donating $10 will go a long way. Kindness is everywhere and we start it from ourselves. I also share kindness anywhere in the world I go, it’s very important to be kind. And one of my ways to share kindness is to show respect to locals. I’ve met nice people and I’ve been trying to define the difference between nice and kind and although I can’t seem to put it in words, I know kindness makes more difference than just being nice.
Thanks, Cathy. Being kind as we travel can open up a new world as people react and then open up to us in kind. You are also so right about kindness being more than being nice. Excellent point.
Aww I love your post and it’s so inspiring. If everyone in the world start doing good, the world will become such a beautiful place to live and to travel. I love Tony Robbins’s inspiration and I always look up to him to find my good as well.
The world has lost so much compassion. We need our leaders and mentors to help and Robbins is a good one as well.
These are some great initiatives to make the world a better place. I like the idea of donating 10$ for charity while booking in Kind Travel group. I will try my best to contribute in some manner.
I have a feeling, Indrani, that you look to contribute through kindness a bit every day and I also hope you enjoy the kind Travel groups.
Very inspirational post, Elaine! You always find subjects out of the ordinary. With Valentine’s Day approaching, when most of us are concentrated on showing love to those closest to us, you advocate for a broader kind of love. One that involves strangers and random acts of kindness. What a great world this would become if we all decided to make kindness part of our adventures! #TheWeeklyPostcard
Thank you, Anda. I so appreciate your words. If we don’t work towards making the world a better, kinder place what will be left to travel to?
Amazing to know that so many organizations are working on supporting responsible tourism, environmental consciousness, and simple everyday acts of kindness!
Yes. Yes. Yes. Thanks, Alex and I think we’ll be seeing many more groups get involved.
I have never heard of some of this organizations, but I will definitely take a look. That is pretty cool that they have kindness ambassadors too.
The Impact Travel Alliance is based in your hometown. Should make it easier to check out.
Thanks for sharing this important message about kindness. The links you have provided are a good resource. I think that approaching things with a positive and open attitude will make you more kind when you approach something new. Look to be challenged and to find something good in new experiences. Even if it is scary! Happy Valentine’s … in advance.
Happy Valentines Day to you too, Linda and thanks for the thoughtful words.
Thanks for the post and it’s really inspiring. It got me thinking when we are visiting a foreign country, we should cease the chance to understand their political situation, environment issues and the locals quality of life. I would also appreciate how lucky we are to be able to travel and one thing I think is to do my best to spread the words about the preservation and sustainability of the cultural and natural heritages around the world @ knycx.journeying
You are so right about spreading the word. Thanks, Knycx
I really like random acts of kindness and I didn’t know there was a global group/media network/organized initiative working towards more kindness in the world. I’m glad to read this!
I’ve been writing about ethical animal tourism recently, currently focusing on ethical marine encounters. Are there diving/snorkeling tour companies on this list?
So cool that you are working on ethical marine encounters, Natalie. As a diver, I know there’s a need Wish I had resources for you but I’ll keep looking.
Agree with you Elaine. All it takes is a few words and kind gestures from everybody, to make the world instantly better. Sharing this!
Thanks, Neha. It definitely starts with a few words and kind gestures then other actions may present themselves. Thanks also for sharing.
What a beautiful post with some amazing ideas. I tend to shy away from big gestures and demonstrations and give back in my own, small way. I just signed up to deliver Mobile Meals (Meals on Wheels) in my new hometown – it’s such a great feeling and I’ve had so many interesting conversations already. Good things happen when we back away from the keyboard for a bit 🙂
Thanks, Leigh. I love that you’re helping with Mobile Meals. You’re so right that good things can happen when we get away from our computers.
I am glad I read this post today! I (and my husband) think a lot about how we can be kind or supportive of others. It can be easy to get self-absorbed in what you want to do and think only about you. That is why I push myself to do things for others as much as possible. Like you mentioned, small things make the difference. Recently, I have given a gift card to a coworker for her birthday, taken a cake to work for our weekly staff meeting and help to plan “celebrations of life” (to alleviate the load of people who have lost family members). We all can do something to make another person smile. #WeekendWanderlust
Beautiful, Ruth. You are doing so much. Those of us working alone need to get out more and help others.
I think this can go another step in being kind to travellers- whenever I see someone wandering around with a guidebook or big camera in my city I like to ask if they need help finding anything. Goodness knows I’ve relied on that a lot being a tourist myself! 🙂
That’s lovely and I bet you meet some cool people. I like to ask if I can take a group picture if I see someone struggling to do so. It’s sweet to get smiles all around!