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Life Happens The adventures of Nora Dunn & Kelly Bedford, Professional Hobos. Nora writes, Kelly makes music. Together, we are on a lifelong journey to...wherever.

The Kindness of Others...A True Exchange

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 12 June 2008 | Views [3209] | Comments [2]

Our first week in Australia has been an amazing one, due in no small part to the kindness of others we have received.


Through our Hospitality Club membership (one of the organizations I researched for an article on long-term travel and rent-free living and joined shortly thereafter), we met Anne and family.

Anne and her husband Kerry (who was sadly out of town while we were visiting) have four grown-and-growing-up kids, and a history of fostering many other children. And when they haven’t fostered kids, they have fostered great relationships with travelers to whom they have offered up their home. We were lucky enough to be two of those travelers.

Right from the airport pick up, to the warm welcome and armloads of fruit from the trees in the backyard, we were immediately made to feel welcome. Conversation flowed, and we had trouble finding any silence in the flow.

In fact, we were invited to accompany Anne and her daughter on a three-day road trip to visit Kerry in the outback. But sadly we had to decline as we had a plane to catch out of beautiful Cairns too soon for our liking.

We were amazed with not only Anne’s kindness towards us, but also towards the world in general. “If everyone gave what they have the capacity to give, and stopped taking as much as they can take, we could improve the world substantially,” was one of the many poignant things Anne said to us on the subject of humanitarian work in light of our recent Burma relief project. She cites her own way of giving what she can as fostering kids; a responsibility she almost shrugs off as being minimal, but which most people would have trouble even imagining.

We truly hope to be able to return to Cairns, to explore this beautiful tropical area of Australia, and also to explore a deeper relationship with this family that leaves us speechless.

Thank you Anne and family, for your kindness.


Upon arriving in Brisbane, we found heaps of further testaments to the kindness of others.

First, Ben at Bunk Backpackers was so kind as to hook us up with accommodation at this bustling popular hostel. We arrived on the Sunday of a long weekend, and saw the place in full swing. The adjacent bar was packed and full of life by 7pm, and even though we were tired, the energy pulsing through the entire building kept us up and going for hours.

We met and shared meals with some couples from Ireland and Denmark, along with heaps of Australians who were visiting Brisbane for both the weekend and a good time.

In fact, Ben’s kindness went above and beyond the call of duty: we were supposed to pick up the World Nomads Ambassador van on the holiday Monday, not knowing it was a holiday. Ben tuned into this before we ever would have and called Travellers Auto Barn (un-requested) on our behalf to see if they would be open for our professed pick-up – of course he discovered they would be closed. So he arranged for us to stay another night at Bunk, ensuring there would be space for us.

Thank you Ben, for your kindness.

Once we picked up the van, we met another Ben – from just outside of central Brisbane. We also met him through the Hospitality Club. He came into town to shoot the breeze with us about all things Australia and travel, and invited us back to his place to stay with him for a few days while we stocked up the World Nomads Ambassador van. We were treated to a real Australian welcome dinner of kangaroo steaks (we have a new favourite meat), and continued to share travel stories and pictures for hours on end. We poured over maps, planned parts of our Australian trip, and discovered a few insider’s secrets to gems in Oz that we may never have found otherwise. (Stay tuned for our adventures in these wonderful places)!

During our stay with Ben, he had to work during the daytimes, and so he simply left us to our own devices and tossed us a house key.

In the evenings, we spoke about hospitality exchanges, and how the interaction with other travelers is inspirational. We could see Ben squirming in his seat as he listened to our stories of travel, and flipped through his own Lonely Planet guides planning his next trip. Even when he needs to be at home, Ben takes great pleasure in living vicariously through his guests and in so doing he keeps his own fire alive.

On our second night, we were all invited to the house of a friend of Ben’s, where we watched a rugby game on the tele. Talk about Australian culture.

Thank you Ben, for your kindness.

We have made promises to these kind people that they are to stay with us, wherever we are in the world. We really look forward to being able to host people like Anne, Ben, and Ben, along with so many other travel-minded-people we have yet to meet. The exchange of experience, personality, culture, and laughs is a mind-boggling and very special experience.

How else could we have found ourselves sitting around Australian kitchen tables and enjoying hospitality, good company, and cultural exchanges? Through trust, a few tools like the Hospitality Club, and the kindness of others, anything is possible.

Tags: ambassador van, brisbane, bunk brisbane, cairns, hospitality club, world nomads



Hey Nora & Kelly

Aaah, you are too kind! I'm always happy to look after the traveller... but that's what we do at BUNK!

We're stoked you enjoyed your stay and were able to experience the energy that we are putting in to make both BUNK and Brisbane a great destination for the traveller.

You also turned out to be decent peeps so that's a bonus, ha ha! Have fun on your trip around OZ and keep us posted. Catch you when you pass through again.

Ben @ BUNK

  Ben Schultz Jun 15, 2008 9:51 AM


Hey Nora & Kelly

It was a pleasure to meet you in the Murwillumbah Community Centre the other day, it inspired me to have a look at the site and I became a member.

I hope that you have a safe trip to Melbourne and that you enjoy the journey.

Hope we meet again in the future.


  kat2266 Jun 17, 2008 1:13 PM



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