100th Issue Special: For the Love of Kind Strangers

From migrant workers giving up their train seat to a solo woman traveller, to a mother-son duo offering a car ride and heartwarming stories to strangers in Texas—a little compassion on the road goes a long way.


Thousands of migrant workers in India return home to their villages annually. Photo by: Yasonya/ Shutterstock

70. Berth of a Memory

Six months into my first job at a publishing house almost 13 years ago, I knew the cubicle life wasn’t for me. A spontaneous resignation and a decisive plunge later, I found myself aboard a train headed to New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal from Mumbai. My last-minute ticket was unconfirmed, and the Ticket Collector couldn’t care less about my dream tryst with Northeast India, and I couldn’t get a confirmed seat. It was two factory workers headed home to Bihar who gave up their berth and ensured my comfort throughout, and also quelled any apprehensions I had about travelling with migrants. I’ve been treated to plush dinners by kind strangers, but nothing matches the generosity of those with the least to offer.

­—Shikha Tripathi


This entry is a part of our 100th issue special: 100 reasons to love travel spread out across 14 varied categories. Read all 100 entries on our digital forum or new National Geographic Traveller India app here.

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