The Good Travels is a new segment to The Good Catalogue by our American contributor, Lauren Wittig. Lauren is currently on a 6-month globetrotting mission to uncover social good on her far-reaching travels and documents this on her blog, best.world.ever. This article has been republished with permission from Lauren and tells the tale of a specific destination she’s visited to discover the good stuff it has to offer.
1. People all over the world are inherently good.
In the past four and a half months, I have been to thirty countries across three continents and have seen such good in each of them. In Croatia when I was riding the night train, a woman made a makeshift bed for me to be more comfortable. In Shanghai, during the over-crowded rush hour, a man held my backpack on top of his suitcase for over an hour. In Bali, a local I met on the plane welcomed me with open arms into his village to experience the local culture. From city to city, I was greeted with the warmth, smiles and laughs of strangers- soon to be friends. No matter the language barrier or cultural differences, I continued to realise that we are all human and the goodness within our hearts spread across the globe is unbelievably powerful. People are just SO good!
2. People are Open and Willing to Helping You.
I would estimate that half of my @best.world.ever finds come from spontaneously discovering them along the way and half come from planning in advance. Before I arrive in a new country, I utilise my network, google searches and social media to locate people and organisations impacting social good. I will email a person, company or NGO out of the blue or attend an event or conference simply for the purpose of learning more about their social good initiatives. Although at first they may be surprised by my random request, if it is able to work logistically, I have always been able to meet with people that I reach out to. The graciousness, openness and willingness of people to take time out of their day to speak with me is absolutely astounding! I am so grateful for their dialogue and their insights and experiences will always stay with me.
3. There is Endless Good to be Stumbled Upon Every Day.
I have always been someone interested in social good and also simply every day positivity and love. When I started @best.world.ever, I noticed even more so I was framing my mind to notice these sorts of things every day. It is amazing what you can see when you focus your mindset! In Budapest, I saw a huge “Love Thy Neighbour” street art mural. In South Africa, I came across Space Man, a local brand that donates a pair of socks to a child in need upon purchase. In Tokyo, I was given several hugs by students giving out free hugs on campus. These are just a few of the many examples of good that radiate throughout our world. By opening your heart and mind to them, you are able to absorb all of the goodness people are creating and radiate that positive energy!
4. Even in the Most Difficult of Circumstances, People are Impacting Good.
Across the 30 countries, there has been such a spectrum of the progressiveness. Some countries are naturally much further along than others due to a variety of driving factors. Some countries have incredible government support for social good and in others, there is space for improvement. I have learned that each country faces challenges but each country has tons of incredible people working hard to find innovative solutions! In Goa, India, for example, there is a ton of waste in this beach town and challenges with infrastructure, consumer behaviour etc. The Museum of Goa led an installation, “Carpet of Joy,” where kids collected bottles and made them into a beautiful art installation showing the contrast between earth and waste, as well as, learning how to take care of the earth! In even the poorest of communities, children’s laughs and play light up the day. I have met dozens upon dozens of people working tirelessly to make this world a better place no matter what barriers stand in their way and dozens of dozens of people simply brightening this world through their joy.
5. There is Hope and Change in Good.
In the world we live in today, there is often a lot of negativity stemming from heart-breaking events happening in our world. As Jiezhen said so eloquently when I met with her at The Hidden Good in May, it is so important to acknowledge and be aware of these devastating occurrences, however, it is also so important to highlight all of the amazing things and people happening in our world. When President Trump announced the US would be pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, I was discouraged and disappointed. Although these feelings still stand true, I was quickly brought hope with the reaction of government leaders, corporations and people all across America and the world who despite this will carry on and work hard to protect our environment. Focusing on the good brings hope and therefore increased impact and change to our beautiful world.