Random acts of kindness are part of life on the road

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Random acts of kindness forr grey nomads
"Let me help you with that, old mate!"

Ask any grey nomad what they love most about their chosen lifestyle and ‘camaraderie’ will be among the most popular responses.

It is incredible how spontaneous acts of kindness enrich the travelling experiences of so many. There are the strangers who offer advice about where to find the best camps, or who stop to ask if you’re okay when you’ve pulled over on a remote road, or who volunteer to guide you as you reverse the van into a tight spot.

But why do people carry out acts of unsolicited kindness?

Apart from simply wanting to help out fellow travellers, the Australian Kindness Movement says being kind is actually an enjoyable experience.

“It makes you feel good, and useful, and alive, and it validates you as a human being,” the group says. “When you are kind, it triggers a number of beneficial physical and psychological responses.”

The feel good sensation associated with helping people is now officially known as ‘helper’s high’.

It’s a feeling, Michael Dodd, the manager at the BP service station in Tennant Creek has experienced many times.

“If a grey nomad calls in with a problem with their car, we are always happy to do what we can to check it out, or fix their puncture or whatever, and get them on their way,” Michael said. “We don’t charge for it … but it’s just a good feeling helping travellers and, as far as I am concerned, it is all part of being in the bush … you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”

And it’s not just Good Samaritans and the recipients of acts of kindness who get a positive buzz. Leading psychologists say the biggest effect of all may be on passers-by who witness an act and are touched, and perhaps inspired, by it.

There is certainly no shortage of random acts of kindness occurring each and every day.

Grey nomad Bob recalls discovering a flat tyre after stopping at Gin Gin in Queensland.

“I was just getting the jack from the van boot when this young tattooed guy in a blue singlet said ‘Move over pop I’ll change it for you’,” Bob says. “He would not accept anything for his troubles and was on his way as quick as he came.”

Similarly, Jon will never forget losing his caravan leg winder at the Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat, and how quickly a couple emerged to lend him a winder so he could prepare to leave.

“Then the man turns up again saying he found a spare winder buried somewhere in his van and offered it to us to keep,” recalls Jon. “You really do meet salt of the earth people when travelling.”

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