Asking For Help Part 2

We recently started walking the Camino de Santiago. As is usual in most aspects of our lives, the Camino isn’t going quite as we had expected. We are learning about our limitations of walking, especially uphill with heavy packs. Sheila slept a total of one hour during our first night in a peregrinos’ Albergue, mostly due to several heavy snorers among our 100 plus fellow pilgrims. Sheila expressed her concern the tiles would shake loose from the roof due to the vibrations. We stayed at a much smaller and considerably quieter albergue a few nights ago and both got more sleep, but still not enough. 

Since we were facing several kilometers of a steep uphill climb and the rain was pouring down the next morning, we took an alternate Camino path downhill to a small village. We had learned this village had a bus stop and our plan was to bus it to our next destination. We waited for the bus which was due at 10:00 AM. It did not come. 

After trying to call the Pamplona bus station without success, Sheila approached a woman who was walking a dog in her bathrobe. (The woman was wearing the bathrobe.) In her limited Spanish, Sheila asked the woman if the bus was coming that day (on Sunday). We think she replied that a bus was doubtful. She left but soon came back up with the bus schedule on her cell phone. Since we were having trouble communicating with her, she called her niece who came around the corner within minutes. In fluent English, her niece explained the 10:00 bus was not coming, but thought another bus would arrive in about four hours. We thanked her, got directions to nearby restaurant, and started toward it. 

About half-way to the restaurant, we heard a woman calling to us. Our bus info friend, still in her bathrobe, came running around the corner. She pantomimed driving and inviting us back toward her home. We waited outside talking with her niece, while the woman changed her clothes. Then to our surprise, in this humble little town, we got into her brand new Mercedes. She sped off to Estella, which would have taken us about eight days to walk to given our usual pace. 

In addition to the almost surreal and certainly unexpected method of getting to where we wanted to go, we had the pleasure of getting to know both the woman and her niece. We gathered some insight into the culture of their small Spanish village. Almost all family members have continued to live in the village for many generations. They often have to find work in neighboring towns or nearby Pamplona. Every Sunday the extended family gets together for dinner. They also learned a bit about us and our current adventures. We assume their experience with us provided them a good story to tell at dinner.

This woman and her niece went out of their way to respond to our questions about the Sunday bus schedule. Then they went way beyond our request for help. Of course, this would not have happened if we had not initially asked for help. 

Back To The Blog

On the road with Donald in Scotland
Rick is on the road with Donald in Scotland

We had just started getting into a bit of a rhythm in blogging at the beginning of the summer, and then we began our traveling adventures. Our adventures started by visiting our youngest daughter and a nephew and niece in Pennsylvania and then we flew to Dublin, Ireland, in mid-July. For the past two months we have been traveling around Western Europe on a tight budget with our possessions in two 30 liter backpacks. We’ve travelled in Ireland, Scotland, England, and now Spain. 

While being so immersed in our incredible adventures and moving from place to place, we mostly neglected finishing the steps involved in publishing our book and entirely neglected posting on this blog. We did spend several days in the quiet countryside of south-central Ireland working on the book, discovering the realities of publishing were considerably more complex and time consuming than we had imagined. We were also frustrated by the inconsistent internet service there.  

Toward the end of August, we felt the urgency to actually publish our book, Bring Out The Best In Others. Staying in one place for a while seemed to be the only way to accomplish this. Thus, we planned to stay two weeks in Barcelona and are now in the middle of our third week here. Our book was published a few days ago and its official launch is Monday, September 16.  We are finally writing a new post.

The idea to write this book emerged nearly three-years-ago during our initial travels in Costa Rica and Panama. (You can learn more about this in our June 26, 2018 post, An Origin Story)

Our current travels have reinforced and expanded the ideas we wrote about in the book. So, we have decided to focus on reviewing and extending these ideas in our next series of posts. 

Asking For Help

Bring Out The Best In Others briefly discusses asking for help as a way to connect with people and bring out their best. We find ourselves lost and clueless in all sorts of ways as we travel to new and strange places. Although we have become more expert using Google Maps to find our way, there have been many times it is not enough.

For instance, when we first arrived in Edinburgh, Scotland, figuring out the correct bus stop to get to Roslin (where our Airbnb was located) was challenging. Several people helped guide us to the correct stop to catch the bus. We had learned that although Roslin was only seven miles from Edinburgh city centre, there would be 59 stops before ours. After getting on the correct bus, we started conversing with two older ladies sitting behind us. After communicating our confusion, they were eager to help us and assured us we would find the correct exit. We became their project. Since they were getting off the bus before us, they passed us on to their friends and those friends passed on to others. The “network” made sure we were informed to get off the bus at the correct stop. As we got off the bus and started looking around for our Airbnb, another woman, who had heard much of the conversation, pointed us in the right direction. 

We talked to several women at length during the hour-long bus ride. After sharing that we had been living in Panama the past several years, one woman told us about how her husband had worked on the Panama Canal and was well-known for engineering work around Scotland. 

We believe that most people want to help others and will go out of their way to do so when asked to. But you have to ask. Although there have been a few instances where our clueless looks and behavior have prompted others to ask, “Can I help you?”, generally, you need to ask.  

The above example is a relatively trivial example. We hope you will also consider asking for help in serious situations. It’s probably most important to ask for help from others when you feel like withdrawing from all human relationships.

We’d love to hear your experiences in asking for help (in the comments below).