Love from J


Love from J NEW website

Kindness... the ripple effect

“To say this journey was one of life changing status is an understatement. Why? Because I had proven to myself that life really does start at the end of your comfort zone.”

This day five years ago (26 April 2012), I had just walked off the treacherous Owen Stanley ranges in PNG and into Kokoda, feeling pretty damn proud of myself having accomplished something that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do. Having spent eight days in the middle of the jungle, completely detached from the world, I had emerged as a different person – literally. I was 3kg lighter, a few shades darker, I hadn’t had a proper shower since leaving Port Moresby (anyone that knows me knows that’s a feat in itself) and I had just experienced the journey of a lifetime.

Whilst on the track, I had met and engaged with some of the local PNG villagers living in the middle of nowhere, who had no connection to the outside world, no power, no internet, no hot water – yet they were the happiest and kindest people I’ve ever seen. Kids were running around kicking coke bottles for footballs and using sticks as bats, and desperately wanted the white people to play with them. There were moments in that trip that I seriously thought about throwing it all in and moving to one of these villages to live the simple life, until I realised that I could never live without hot water. But hot water aside, why would you not want to surround yourself with people who were willing to give a perfect stranger so much of what they had…when they had so little to give? There was so much to learn from these amazingly generous people.

Now, there were days on the track that were tougher than others; like when a bug took me down half way through. But having the support from 17 truly wonderful men, whom I’d only met days earlier, made it that much easier to get up every morning at 5am and walk through the jungles that had seen so many men and women sacrifice their lives. That and my truly phenomenal parents.

No they weren’t on the track with me, but just before boarding the plane to Port img_3452Moresby, my mum handed me an envelope filled with nine smaller envelopes, one for every day I was in PNG. In each envelope I found a small handwritten letter to read every morning. They were filled with words of encouragement telling me how much they loved me, how much they supported me and how proud they were of me. To say the least, I sat in my tent every morning reading (and re-reading) their little love notes; most morning there were tears. To this day, I still cherish these notes and pull them out from time to time – when I need a little pick me up. Whilst my little ‘Love from J’ love notes don’t hold such a personal touch, and are received from a complete stranger, I do hope they can achieve even a tiny percentage of what I felt the first time I read my precious little notes from Mum and Dad.

Now this got me thinking about how such a small act of kindness from my parents had such a huge impact on me during this incredibly tough journey; and how each morning these little notes empowered me to soldier on no matter how tired or sick I felt. Fast forward five years… I want to pay it forward on a much larger scale (we can’t rush these things).

So, I have a favour to ask every one of you. This Friday, 28 April, is ‘Pay it Forward Day’, the perfect opportunity to practice and appreciate kindness. It is a day that was created to make a difference by creating a huge ripple of kindness across the globe. Small acts of kindness, when multiplied by millions can literally change the world so, if you see someone struggling, offer some assistance; see someone fall over, help them up; see someone wearing something you love, tell them. Being kind isn’t rocket science; it’s simple human decency… and it doesn’t cost a damn thing.

Not sure how to pay it forward? Watch the video below and see how simple an act of kindness can be, and how like karma one kind act can do a full 360 and end exactly where it started…with you.

Love from J x