We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Travel can be impactful! Make a difference. Learn.

Burr Ridge, Illinois
Level Contributor
3,900 posts
Save Topic
Travel can be impactful! Make a difference. Learn.

On TA ideas abound on Oahu. I suggest considering stepping beyond your comfort zone and giving back to the island and the people. You may gain insight or learn something totally new.

I had an evening that slightly impacted my perspective on life and no I didn't go to Roxy's in Kailua..  The story doesn't involve drinking or anything fancy and unusual.  The story is rather bland and boring, but the interaction memorable even for one who volunteers as often as possible.

I took a friend to a Chinese restaurant as a break from his hard work.  After dinner, I asked for containers for the left overs. My dinner guest  was perplexed as we would not have time to eat them.

Driving back, I said, "Let's go meet some homeless people.". Yes, food for the homeless!   We passed one, but he didn't look hungry.  Found a second in a make shift box.  His name was Mark.

Mark had made a man cave out of a few boxes not far from the road.  I walked up to him as he sat on an old gym like mat reading a Robert  Ludlum book listening to classical music.  

I asked if he knew anyone who was hungry as I thought this the best way to pay him respect.  The McDonalds bag I noticed in front of him indicated he had food.  His response was that of a kind gentleman, perhaps in his 40's.  I'm not good on age.  He thanked me and said that he was getting full.  He also shared with me that he was fortunate.   More fortunate than most he was proud to say.

We continued to talk and he told me of two people who needed food worse than him.  It was emotional the way he suggested I should give some to Grace. He pointed toward a building that was about 100 yards away. She was supposedly tucked inside a passage way.  Another lady in need, whom he called Locks, was sometimes to be found around by a bank.

He shared with me that he takes upon himself to help and protect Grace.  "She needs more help than most," he said. "Grace has so little compared to me," he continued, "I'm sure she'll want the food.  Don't expert her to say much."

At that point he asked my name.  He was reaching out for friendship in his way.  As he said that he  was glad to meet  me, Mark stuck out his hand.  

I think my friend was a little surprised yet he took it all in.

I then drove to the hallway that was more like a small, crowded vestibule.  Grace's talk made no sense.  It scared me a little like the first time a guy asks a girl to dinner.  No communication really occurred between us.  Even my cynical self was moved almost to tears as I offered her the container of food.  

As crazy as it seems in that moment I was incredibly humbled as if serving royalty.  Grace reached out and accepted my gesture of kindness and shimmied into her temporary home.  There was no thank you.  None was needed. It was clear that it was appreciated, but her social skills were closer to an unsophisticated aboriginal lady than a civilized American.

I left. I was moved.  My friend was incredibly moved. I felt my world and paradigm shifting, but for the life of me I'm not sure what the shift means.

This isn't a social or political message. It is a chance to travel with impact. People can argue that I did nothing more than the feeding of birds at a restaurant increasing the problem. I'm not saying what is right or wrong. I'm only saying that we can make a positive impact when we travel.

 Having worked food programs before it is different going to them and extending kindness

Next, i want to spend a weekend or week being homeless in Hawaii. I may just do it.

As I finish this piece flying over California in civilized comfort I feel positive that all of us can gain and give when we travel. Consider giving back when in Hawaii. Imagin what a 1/2 day of helping could do to the island and the world.

Saint Cloud...
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
27,447 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Travel can be impactful! Make a difference. Learn.

I often gave things to the homeless. Leftovers from beach picnics, old clothes, etc.

But, even though they may need it, I never gave them any $$. Figured it would just go to drugs or booze.

Wollongong...
Level Contributor
302 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Travel can be impactful! Make a difference. Learn.

What an absolutely moving story. Thanks so much for sharing it. I think its important to take time out of our busy lives to do these kinds of things. It can be a real eye opener for many people.

A little reminder that caring and kindness can have so many benefits for everyone involved never hurt anyone.

NY
Level Contributor
316 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Travel can be impactful! Make a difference. Learn.

That was such a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it. It's moments like that you remember for a lifetime.

California
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
45,244 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Travel can be impactful! Make a difference. Learn.

Many of us do this as a way of life. It's neither newsworthy nor something that we boast about. We just do it. BTW - when providing food for homeless persons - try to keep it soft ... nothing too chewy or hard to bite in to. Often there are dental issues.

Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
979 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Travel can be impactful! Make a difference. Learn.

On my last trip to Oahu I took only "gently used" clothes. At the end of my visit I put them thru the washer and dryer, folded them neatly, and left them on a picnic table where there were a lot of homeless men and women.

On a humorous note, I left cans of dog food for a young man's fine companion. He had to give them to other homeless pets because, I found out after an interesting conversation, that his dog only ate Spam. didn't see that one coming.

rhode island
Level Contributor
813 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Travel can be impactful! Make a difference. Learn.

Great post Epicurean. We can all figure out how to give something back, Thank you

new jersey
Level Contributor
1,647 posts
88 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Travel can be impactful! Make a difference. Learn.

BEAUTIFUL Epi!!!!

Thanks for sharing:)

I so enjoy reading your posts... there is always some kind of motivational inspiration :) WONDERFUL... please keep them coming!

Much aloha always!

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
782 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Travel can be impactful! Make a difference. Learn.

"Driving back, I said, "Let's go meet some homeless people.". Yes, food for the homeless! We passed one, but he didn't look hungry. Found a second in a make shift box. His name was Mark."

Please enlighten us. How do you tell if someone is hungry?

Most people including me would never boast about what we do. We just do it.

"It was clear that it was appreciated, but her social skills were closer to an unsophisticated aboriginal lady than a civilized American."

Doesn't pass the smell test. Judgemental aren't we.

Always keep in mind. But for the grace of God there go I

Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
3,783 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Travel can be impactful! Make a difference. Learn.

thanks for the reminder, but let's not forget the less fortunate right at home too

new jersey
Level Contributor
1,647 posts
88 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Travel can be impactful! Make a difference. Learn.

Hey Yankee fan and BLBL... why did you take it as "boasting"???

I sure didn't read into it that way...

Strangely there ARE people out there who it's never crossed their mind to lend a hand. For whatever reasons that may be... perhaps they don't think they have anything to offer, perhaps they feel it will be too little or not appreciated. Maybe they feel the "homeless" got themselves into that situation, who knows!!!

But it amazes me when someone has to answer negatively to someone sharing a thought or story... ya know, the whole "if you have nothing nice to say... " thing!!!

Just saying...