It’s late morning here on the shores of Waikiki where Candace and I have just spent the penultimate night of this grand adventure. We are living in style here thanks to a gift from Candace’s mother and father and girding ourselves for reentry to the continent. On the desk table in our room is an empty bottle of prosecco and two glass flutes, one with about a half inch of pale liquid still in it from last night, when we drank on our porch, laughed about the trip and looked out over the southern coast of Oahu.
Yesterday, when we walked in to the Outrigger Reef Hotel, with multiple bags all bursting with our belongings and various keepsakes from over 6 months abroad, we sat down across from Ambrose, the hotel’s receptionist, to check in. He quickly offered us a cool towel and guava juice as he got us set up. We talked for a while about our travels, favorite places, the island of Oahu and he, upon learning of our honeymoon, upgraded the room for us and arranged for the Prosecco to be brought up shortly after we got into our room. Not only was it about the most welcoming and kind reception we could have imagined, but it was the latest example of what has come to be a hallmark of this honeymoon: generosity from others.
Candace and I have been the grateful recipients of more kindness and generosity from fellow travelers, friends, accommodation owners, shopkeepers, restaurant staff, and the general citizenry of the world, than we could ever fully list. We have been invited in to tea by women cooking lunch for the Tibetan Buddhist Monks in the highlands of Nepal; offered free deserts in Cambodia; upgraded to palatial rooms by many hotel owners; cooked for by our housekeeper in Bali; been driven around Abu Dhabi in the choking heat; invited for rides at moments when our weighty bags seemed like too much; given umbrellas for free (by multiple storeowners) so we could make it through the Tokyo rainstorms; offered choice wine in the cramped streets of Montepulciano; received a last minute discount by the caretaker of our boat in the Mediterranean; and these few examples make up only a small portion of the many acts of kindness we have had bestowed on us.
Reflecting on this last night over the chilled prosecco, we mused that we had to be open to each of these things, we had to say “yes” to them, sometimes even ask for them, only to find people thrilled to be able to help us, to have a chance to be generous with their own time, energy, money or materials. In each instance of receiving, we were reminded to live generous lives as best we could. For many of us it is harder to receive than to give and in doing so we block the flow of give and take that is available to us. More than any geography, climate, ecosystem or culture, the people we have met and their generosity have been the unequivocal highlight of this adventure.