<%-- Page Title--%> Book Review <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 130 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

November 14, 2003

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A Friend Indeed


Lonely Planet's upcoming travel literature release, “The Kindness of Strangers”, is a celebration of the unexpected acts of kindness that can occur on the road.
Edited and introduced by Lonely Planet's Global Travel Editor, Don George, and featuring a preface by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, “The Kindness of Strangers” features 26 tales written by a mix of world-renowned writers and never-before-published talents.

Each tale in “The Kindness of Strangers” embodies one of travel's richest and most hopeful lessons: that at heart, people around the planet care for each other and want to be good to each other. In this time of global divisiveness and distrust, this is an especially urgent and powerful message to spread.

These tales portray a wide range of adventures -- some poignant and others funny, some life-threatening and others mundane -- set in locations around the globe. In each of the tales a stranger comes to the aid of a traveller in need of help.

Chez Panisse founder and mega-star chef Alice Waters describes a meager but life-changing meal offered by a boy in rural Turkey. Thomas Cook Travel Book Award winner Stanley Stewart uncovers peace and generosity in the heart of war-ravaged Uganda. Kindness strikes Tim Chaill when he tracks a rare tiger on the Turkish border with Iraq, and Dave Eggers when he tries to give away a motley collection of currencies in Copenhagen. For Simon Winchester, it is personified in and English vicar and his wife on a remote Atlantic island; for Jan Moris, it's a bedraggled senior citizen who comes to her rescue in Leningrad. Sometimes the kindness connection is fused with humor, as Carolyn Swindell discovers when she tries to buy a pair of suitable Argentinean underwear. And sometimes it arrives in a more threatening guise, as Jeff Greenwald realises when he embarks on a joy ride through the Southwest with an odd couple -- who turn out to be much more dangerous than he dreamed.

Don George explains the inspiring and timely theme of
“The kindness of Strangers”: “In 25 years of world-wandering I have been struck by how people have gone out of their way to help me -- and other travellers. Time after time I have been helped by people I have just met: They have given me directions, or personally shown men how to get somewhere, or offered a place to stay. And I've heard the same from countless other travellers.”

The most striking manifestation of kindness is certainly the kindness of strangers. We generally expect our friends and relatives to be kind, just as we are not in the least surprised when our sworn enemies are beastly. But when we are befriended in misfortune by people we have never in our lives seen before, then we may see kindness most suggestively displayed, as though these small actions represent the vast, mostly untapped potential of the emotion.
'The matter of Kindness,' Jan Morris (p 14).

You know, you are a very, very lucky man indeed. Lucky to be in such a place. Lucky to see such things. And luckiest of all to meet such very kind people. I envy you. Everyone must envy you. Wherever would you be -- have you ever wondered? -- without all their kindness, and without all this luck?
'Ascension in the Moonlight,' Simon Winchester (p.271).

Don George, the Global Travel Editor for Lonely Planet Publications, has been a pioneering travel writer and editor for more than two decades, writes the Traveller at Large column for www. Lonely Planet. com and frequently appears ad a travel expert in print and on radio and TV. In 25 years of wandering, Don has visited more than 70 countries and published more than 600 articles in newspapers and magazines around the globe. He has edited several travel anthologies, most recently “A House Somewhere: Tales of Life Abroad” (Lonely Planet, 2002), and has won numerous awards for his writing and editing.

Source: Lonely Planet


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