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Travelers Helping Each Other: 2 Stories About Needing And Giving Aid

Losing credit cards, a passport and money in the Moroccan city of Fes helped shape knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley's view that travelers should help each other.

No one travels alone. Even if you're a party of one during your journey, we all rely on others to get where we need to go. This week, we offer two stories from knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley -- one about needing help, and the other about paying it forward.

Needing Help

In Morocco, Brumley suddenly found himself without his credit cards, passport or money. There’s no embassy in the city of Fes, where he was traveling. Brumley and his friend, also penniless, found an American flag on a school, and asked one of the workers inside for money to get back to Spain.

“He said, ‘I get that every single day,’” he said. It didn’t look good.

But after a cup of tea and a little conversation, they learned about a connection back home, and the worker at the school was quick to offer assistance. A conversation with a stranger solved their problem.

Paying It Forward

Moments like that have shaped Brumley’s view that travelers should always help each other out. He and some 88.5 listeners had an opportunity to do that a couple years ago, traveling over the border between Argentina and Chile.

“The police come on board, and they bring with them three elderly Argentines,” he said. “They said in Spanish, ‘You need to take them to a railroad station.’”

The group quickly took them in. They paid for a hotel stay. They bought them dinner. And then sent them on their way the next morning. As it turned out, the trip the couple was on was more than random travel. The woman was terminally ill.

“They were going to Chile because he had always promised his wife that he would show her the Pacific Ocean before she passes away,” he said. “The whole group was touched by that experience.”

Trust Your Gut

When you’re stuck, Brumley said, don’t hesitate to help.

“It could be you,” he said. “It’s really nice to give a helping hand.”

On balance, Brumley believes we should always be willing to help each other. But common sense has to play a role, too. Stick to public places, don’t follow a stranger into an unknown place, and follow your instincts.

Stay safe, and participate in life.

“A lot of these things will create lifelong relationships,” Brumley said.


"Going Places" is 88.5's weekly exploration of travel. Matthew Brumley is the co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions, which provides small-group travel to clients including knkx.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.