Travel – the most universal language of them all

This article was created for The Travel Project by Fazielah Williams, a Capetonian blogger, publicist and social media manager in pursuit of love, magic and wonder around the world. Follow my adventures at www.ctgirlwiththeredscarf.com.

Kindness is the universal language of travel and one you'll give and receive often so get to grips with it quickly.

Kindness is the universal language of travel and one you’ll give and receive often so get to grips with it quickly.

In 2010, my flight from South Africa to Instabul was delayed, resulting in me missing my connecting flight to Rome to join my Simply Italy Contiki tour by an hour.

Stuck at the airport where the Turkish Airline check in desk crew didn’t understand English and I didn’t understand Turkish, I had no way of communicating that I needed to get onto the next available flight as soon as possible.

 

It was my first international trip and I was thousands of miles away from home, travelling solo and quickly becoming despondent.

Until…

A Congolese woman, in bright clothing, on her way to France, asked “Parlez-vous fran├žais?”… “Do you speak French?”

I visibly relaxed with gratitude… just the winter before, I’d taken French lessons and whilst not fluent in the language of love, I knew enough to get by.

“Oui Oui”, I said… “Yes”

In broken French, I was able to tell this Good Samaritan what I needed and she translated it to the check-in clerk. Within two hours, I was on my way to the Eternal City to meet my new friends.

2017 …

Seven years later, I was filming one final Facebook Live video on Times Square during my latest solo trip to New York when I felt a tap on my shoulder.

“Excuse me, Miss, do you know where the Imperial Theatre is?”, asked a heavily accented German tourist. “We’ve asked the policeman over there but he can’t seem to understand us”

I smiled softly to myself... my travel life cycle had come full circle. It was now my turn to translate and guide a lost traveler with kindness.

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