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People and Places Around The World

  • November 16, 2017
  • By 50 Shades
  • 30 Comments
People and Places Around The World

Have you ever been to a place in the world and met someone who has told you their story and made you appreciate the charmed life you lead? I know I have met many people in different countries and cultures that have really left an imprint on my heart and even formed a long lasting friendship with. So I have asked six other travel bloggers to contribute their memorable people and places around the world.

Tuk Tuk Driver in Cambodia

John & Leezett – Blended Family Road Trip

People and Places Around the World

When we received a Tuk Tuk driver details from a reader via our social media pages, we had no idea we were about to meet one of the most inspirational young men we have met to date on our travels. Meet Pisal. Pisal is a Tuk Tuk driver in Siem Reap Cambodia, he is in his mid twenties, is married and has two young children.

What we found truly inspirational is that even at a young adult age, Pisal showed maturity beyond his years.  After leaving school, he went to live with his parents and couldn’t find work.  12 months later his brother was able to get him started by helping him get work at a local Guesthouse in Siem Reap as a Tuk Tuk driver.  Even at such a young age, Pisal could see it was important to work hard from day one if he wanted to get ahead and secure a future for himself. He work hard for over 2 years before any local bank would give him a loan and after securing a debt of 2500 USD, he was able to buy his first tuk tuk to start working for himself.

Working 7 days per week is normal in Siem Reap. Socialising and family time is done at night and often till well past 10pm. Children still get up the next day and head off to school if it’s a school day and this is repeated daily. Pisal’s brother’s wife owns a street food stall. Each evening Pisal’s family all come together, eat, socialise and then continue on with their working day, looking after children and doing what ever they can to support their families.

Amazigh/Goat Herder in Morocco

Jan Robinson – Budget Travel Talk

People and Places Around the World

I met this wonderful woman in the Todra Gorge of Morocco. She sat serenely on the rocky river edge watching, as her herd of black long-haired goats milled around the water’s edge.

Goats and I have a shared history and I was quick to snap a photo of the herd. After a short internal debate I plucked up enough courage to ask if I could photograph their minder.

Berbers, the original Moroccans, go by the name Amazigh, meaning free or noble. I think it describes this particular person to perfection.

Although their days of caravanning on the famous Saharan trade routes are over, some modern day Amazigh have transitioned to guiding tourists on desert camel expeditions and crafting items for sale.

Traditionally they live a life with few conveniences, in mud huts or winter caves and summer tents, in these astounding mountains.

Seeing Amazigh tending their animals, growing vegetables in occasional pockets of green, or moving camp with households packed on top of donkeys and camels, is an intriguing sight on the desert road from Marrakech to Merzouga.

Farmer in Syunik Mountains of Armenia

Audrey & Andrew Chalmers – Gumnuts Abroad

People and Places Around the World

Goris is a small town in the Syunik mountains in Armenia. It was once a prosperous place with beautiful stone buildings. Now it’s drab and run down and most people only stay one night.

We were there to see Tatev Monastery but the weather hadn’t been kind to us. Heavy fog had rolled in the day after we arrived and viewing the monastery was impossible.

I had woken early and feeling stir crazy I decided to go for walk in the hills around the town. They’re dotted with small farms and I passed sheep, cows, pigs and goats as I walked along. The fog turned to a misty drizzle, but I didn’t mind, it felt wonderful to be outside in the fresh air. I heard someone shouting at me and saw a farmer calling me over. I thought he wanted help as he was moving bales of hay, but he was offering me shelter from the rain.

His home was a single room built into the side of the hill, he showed me his bed and fire place and the tiny little stove he used for cooking. We then moved on to the stable next door where he kept cows, goats and pigs. When we were outside again, he offered me some walnuts that he cracked open with a hammer.

Neither of us spoke the others’ language, so we stood munching on walnuts in the drab greyness in silence.

Then it was time to move on and I said a fond farewell to a generous man who was looking out for me in the rain.

Tour Guide in New Delhi

Julie Small – Nomad Nester

People and Places Around the World

We met Kailash in 2013 on our second trip to India. He was a tour guide for the Salaam Baalak Trust, a non-government organisation that helps the street kids of New Delhi. He took us on a tour of the streets of New Delhi that culminated in a visit to the Salaam Baalak school and meeting some of the children in their care. It was toward the end of the tour that we learnt a little about Kailash’s life.

He was born in Bihar, one of the poorest states in India. He never attended regular school as it was too far from the family home. When Kailash was 11 years old his older brother ran away from home and ended up living with Salaam Baalak. Recognising the opportunities and possibilities available for someone with an education, Kailash’s brother returned to the village and convinced their father to let Kailash return to Delhi with him so he could study.

And so Kailash arrived in Delhi aged 8 years old. However, unlike many other children with this organisation, he never spent anytime on the streets but being from Bihar he could not speak any Hindi and found it very isolating. But he persevered, went to school everyday and soon learnt Hindi, Maths and English.

He joined Salaam Balaak as a tour guide in 2012 as a way to practice his english and develop his tourism skills with a view to opening up his own tourist business. The last we heard Kailash has done just that.

Airbnb Hosts in Provence, France

Jan & Rowan – Retiring Not Shy

People and Places Around the World

We have met many wonderful people during our travels, from small business owners in Bali, to a tour guide in Vietnam, to restaurant and bar staff all over the world. For us, the people are what makes each location totally unique. But when Kathy approached me for this post I knew immediately that I wanted to write about our French friends.

Two years ago, we stayed in an Airbnb in a small village in Provence. Little did we know how delightful that visit would be. Our hosts were the totally wonderful Dominique and Jean-Noel. We spent three nights with them and immediately forged a warm relationship. We were invited to join some of their friends at their dinner table and made to feel very welcome. We spent many an hour talking about every topic under the sun.

On returning to Australia we kept in touch sporadically via email and Facebook.

When planning this year’s European trip we felt it would be fun to revisit them and the beautiful area of Vaucluse in Provence. We were warmly welcomed back, this time as friends rather than as paying guests.

We spent two short days this time and it was perfect. When speaking with one of their friends I commented that it felt like being home. I had a tear in my eye when Jean-Noel quietly said, “You are home”.

Those two days were jam packed with delicious food (mostly cooked by Dominique), wine, talking about the state of the world, and laughter. They are two of the most interesting and intelligent people we have met. Dominique is a location scout for the film industry and Jean-Noel’s many talents include water divining.

We hope we can entice these two to one day visit us in Australia.

Good and Tong in Chiang Mai

Ryan Bickerton – Tripception

Good and Tong are two Thai men whom I met during my first visit to Chiang Mai in 2015. A very entertaining pair with great spoken English in an array of hilarious accents. Tong lived, worked and breathed for the hostel I stayed in; while Good worked hard on his start-up tour company, and helped out around the hostel in his spare time.

I got to know them personally following a night-time incident where a local broke in and stole guests’ valuables. My wallet and phone had been taken from under my bed while I slept, and these guys went into overdrive to help my situation. They trawled through CCTV for hours, drove to and from the police station, provided food, money and translations. Even when I had to leave Chiang Mai, they promised to have my belongings shipped to me if they could be retrieved.

These men made me feel like part of their family and offered everything they could to help. They demonstrated the true kind-hearted nature of the Thai people. Yes, there are scammers and opportunists in this country, but the majority of the population are happy, generous and love to welcome those who visit.

I revisited last year. Good’s company has become very popular and he regularly shares photos of his beautiful family; it is obvious that he is providing well for them. Tong’s job at the hostel ended when it closed. He now works for Good as his right-hand man on treks: he cooks, sings, and somehow keeps people smiling during 10km jungle treks up a mountain.

Together, they’ll always make people laugh and provide a warm, Thai welcome, regardless of the situation.

Black M’hong Ladies in Sapa, Vietnam

Kathy – 50 Shades of Age

People and Places in the world

My own black h’mong escort on my Sapa trek

On my recent trip to Vietnam we did a tour to Sapa high into the mountains of Northern Vietnam and embarked on a couple of treks. On the first day we set off from our hotel, only to have several Black H’mong ladies from Lao Chai village in the Muong Hoa valley below Sapa, accompany us on the long trek. They helped us immensely along the slippery and difficult sections of the walk by holding our hands and steadying us. Sometimes they even slipped over themselves attempting to keep us upright.

Although their English was very limited, I was able to find out a few things about their lives in the village. They would trek up the mountainside every day to “attach” themselves to a group of trekkers and then accompany them down into the valley and back to their village. I noticed they carried rather large baskets on their backs that I would imagine would be quiet heavy. Possessing short and sturdy frames, they told me this helps them walk up and down the hills all day.

Inside their baskets are handicrafts that they make in their village, consisting of handwoven and indigo-dyed scarves, bracelets and handbags. At the completion of the walk naturally they expect you to purchase some of their handicrafts. What struck me was their helpfulness and happy faces as they walked with my group of trekkers. They were such lovely ladies that one couldn’t help but purchase several items from them! But imagine having to spend all that time making craft to sell and then having to lug it on your back up to the town of Sapa each day just to make a few hundred dong?

Overseas travel isn’t always about the destination. Sometimes it really is about the people you meet along the way. I’ve met countless people in the places that I have travelled to and after seeing how they live, have made me feel extremely grateful that I live in a country like Australia.

What are your thoughts? Do you like to form friendships with people in other countries when you travel?

Lyndall from Seize the Day Projectlovin-life-linky
Deb from DebbishDotCom
Min from Write of the Middle.
Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit
and of course me, Kathy from 50 Shades of Age


By 50 Shades, November 16, 2017 <p>Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.</p>
  • 30

50 Shades

<p>Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.</p>

30 Comments
  • Lyndall @ SeizeThe Day Project
    November 16, 2017

    So lovely to see your photos and stories of the people you’ve met in different countries, Kathy. We often take in the sights, but it’s the people who enhance your experience of any place you visit :) #TeamLovinLife

    • Kathy
      November 16, 2017

      Yes I agree one hundred percent. Sometimes it is more about the people you meet along the way rather than the destination. I always return from overseas holidays feeling blessed for living in such a great country like Australia. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jo
    November 16, 2017

    What a heartwarming post. It’s all to easy to travel and ‘see’ the sights but not really ‘see’ or get to know the people. Sometimes it’s too hard or difficult because of the language barrier. This post shows what happens when you really make the effort to get to know people from different cultures and the wonderful friendships and insights which result. (Eek, sorry I didn’t contribute to this one – will you do an edition 2?)

    • Kathy
      November 16, 2017

      We have met a lot of interesting people on our travels around the world. Some of them have such a hard life compared to our charmed ones. I’m sure that you have had many similar experiences too Jo. I think this is one of the “levelling” things about travel. You learn to appreciate your life and your home a lot more. I don’t have enough contributors for a part 2 at this stage Jo, but I might try again in the new year and will let you know. #TeamLovinLife

  • Deborah
    November 16, 2017

    Oh I love this Kathy. I haven’t travelled properly in ages but have a collage of pictures from my time in a few countries that is a bit similar (there’s a woman in the market at Vietnam), a cyclo (tuk tuk) driver I used to see every day when I lived in Phnom Penh, a child I came across in Mozambique. It’s funny as it’s now a really long time ago since I was in those countries. The little boy I played with in the middle of nowhere in Mozambique was probably 3 or so but would be in his mid 20s by now – if he’s still alive. :-(

    • Kathy
      November 16, 2017

      Oh Deb, I wish I’d got you to contribute to this post. It sounds like you have met some real characters on your travels. I will keep you in mind for part 2 if it comes to fruition. #TeamLovinLife

  • Leezett - Blended Family road Trip
    November 16, 2017

    Absolutely love it Kathy. Thank you for featuring us and I hope to get in contact with the gentleman tour guide of New Dehli as we are heading there in March 2018 :)

    • Kathy
      November 16, 2017

      You’re very welcome Leezett. It is a great read and shows how people we meet abroad make a lasting impression on us. This is one of the many things I love about travelling overseas – the people. #TeamLovinLife

  • Suger
    November 16, 2017

    This was SUCH a great read. All those people and places. WOW. Thank you for curating this, I’ve sent it on to a friend of mine who travels often. I know she’ll enjoy this. It’s beautiful.

    • Kathy
      November 16, 2017

      Thank you kindly. It is a great read and one that makes you realise how fortunate we are to live a charmed life. #TeamLovinLife

  • Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
    November 16, 2017

    What a beautiful post Kathy and thank you for introducing us to some new very special people. We have met some lovely people during our travels and they just can’t do enough to make you feel welcome. Thank you for making my day feel so good.

    • Kathy
      November 16, 2017

      Thanks Sue. It is a “feel good” post and I’m so glad that the contributors came up with some varied and interesting characters. It just shows that we not only love the destination, but also the people we meet along the way. #TeamLovinLife

  • Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
    November 16, 2017

    Loved all the different takes on this Kathy – it was a bit like a behind the scenes look at travelling. More real and less touristy – it’s all about people when it comes to how much you personally connect with another place isn’t it?

    • Kathy
      November 16, 2017

      It is indeed Leanne. I always enjoy meeting new and interesting people when I travel, rather than being too “tourist” driven. I was absolutely besotted with the Black H’mong ladies in Sapa. They were adorable. #TeamLovinLife

  • budget jan
    November 16, 2017

    There are some lovely stories here Kathy. They make me want to pack my bags!

    • Kathy
      November 16, 2017

      They are truly heartwarming stories of people from different countries and cultures. I knew that my fellow travel bloggers would come up with some interesting people and places! Thank you for participating Jan. #TeamLovinLife

  • Maria | passion fruit, paws and peonies
    November 16, 2017

    I adored reading this post. How wonderful for us to glimpse into the lives of these interesting people you have befriended. Thank you – I loved it x

    • Kathy
      November 16, 2017

      It was an interesting insight into how people live and make a living in other parts of the world. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. #TeamLovinLife

  • Denyse
    November 16, 2017

    How wonderful to read these stories and see the photos too. Such an education within a post for me who has only travelled to part of the USA. I think this was a marvellous idea. Enjoyed all of the reads! Denyse

    • Kathy
      November 16, 2017

      Yes it is a fascinating read. I have always discovered very interesting people in the places I’ve travelled to. I like to ask them lots of questions about their lives and culture. I guess I’m a bit of a sticky beak. #TeamLovinLife

  • Min@WriteoftheMiddle
    November 16, 2017

    What a fabulous post Kathy! I very much enjoyed reading about all these wonderful people met on travels. It’s made me want to jet off somewhere on an adventure! If I were to mention a person met on my travels it wouldn’t be an overseas trip but on my recent trip to Perth. A wonderful young girl I met. She was 23 and our bus driver for our Margaret River tour. She was so amazing and a very good driver too. She sat with us at dinner and I learnt so much more about it. Her parents must be so proud. She’s so mature, ambitious, sensible and driven but even so – still so very funny and bright and bubbly. She’s got her head screwed on right that one. Lovely girl! #TeamLovinLife

    • Kathy
      November 17, 2017

      It’s so refreshing to meet such lovely young people. I met someone like this in Hoi An on a river cruise. She was gorgeous and I felt like adopting her! It is one of the best things about travel – meeting wonderful people. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jo Tracey
    November 17, 2017

    Such a fabulous read from a fabulous group of bloggers. It’s what I love the most when travelling – those eclectic encounters and peeks into someone else’s normal.

    • Kathy
      November 17, 2017

      Yes it’s interesting learning about how the other half live. It makes you realise how blessed we are living in Australia. #TeamLovinLife

  • Annette Jones
    November 18, 2017

    Excellent read Kathy! I have always loved the “meeting different people” side of travel. When you asked for a contribution I could think of countless people, however, no pics of them! Reading this though jogged my memory of one of my closest girlfriends that I could have included, who I met in Zimbabwe 31 years ago when we both lived there. She was a life/sanity saver at the time and we are still friends and contact each other regularly to this day.

    • Kathy
      November 19, 2017

      That would have been a good one to contribute Annette. I’ve met countless people on our travels and have kept in contact with a few of them over the years. I always enjoy meeting the locals when I travel too. #TeamLovinLife

  • Lyn @ A Hole in my Shoe
    November 19, 2017

    What a great post Kathy and just another reminder of all the different memories we make in our travels. I think the people we meet and friendships we make along the way are the very best.

    • Kathy
      November 20, 2017

      They certainly are Lyn. We’ve met many wonderful people on our travels and have formed some close friendships. Meeting people that are less fortunate than yourself is also very humbling. #TeamLovinLife

  • Agness of Fit Travelling
    November 21, 2017

    The people we meet make our travels special and remarkable, Kathy. You’ve met some very inspiring people who helped you have an unforgettable experience. ;)

    • Kathy
      November 22, 2017

      I certainly have Agness. You could say that the people I’ve met during my travels have changed my life in many ways. #TeamLovinLife

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