Where is all the beauty in the world?

While I’m a big fan of keeping current on things happening in the world, I sometimes have to take breaks from the news. As I sit here writing while Tigger frolicks in the waves, a black kitten plays with my foot, biting on my toes with sharp needle-like teeth, and clouds slowly consume the mountain out my window, I have to wonder why we don’t get more representation for all the beauty in the world.

beauty in the world, thailand, koh samui, beach

There is a huge, wonderful world out there beyond the LAPD shooting at innocent citizens as they search for a suspect, explosions and riots taking lives, North Korea doing another nuclear test, etc., yet we’re lucky if we hear anything about it.

In between the sad and horrible, is found a world full of amazing, caring, and giving people. And often the ones who have the least share the most.

Yesterday I was reminded of this yet again.

beauty in the world, cozumel, mexico


The other day I was walking the scooter across the busy street to get the flat tire fixed. I didn’t want to ride on it because I was afraid of damaging the tire. As it’s a bit uphill, I stupidly decided to have the engine running and opened up the throttle a bit for an assisted rapid crossing. Unfortunately, I opened it up a bit too much, and I ended up skidding across the ground a short distance.

As I stood up laughing at my stupidity, I grabbed the bike and quickly got out of the street. The lady in the shop came running and was quite worried about me. I told her I was fine as I quickly examined myself. I had a couple of scrapes and a rather large hematoma on my shin, but no big deal. She ran and got an older man who insisted on cleaning my wounds. Despite telling him I was fine, he would NOT take no for an answer, and I ended up sitting down and letting him swab iodine on my few scrapes.

Yesterday, he was looking for someone among the complex of bungalows where we live, and he greeted me. Barely speaking English, he insisted on checking my now mostly healed wounds. He conveyed so much caring between his facial expressions and sign language (Did you get a shot? How about pills?) that I was extremely touched.

As I mused about this on our Facebook page, I remembered being in Cuba. We were exhausted. It had been a long day between the flight, taxi ride, finding our place, getting settled, etc. We were starving. The guy we had connected with via Couchsurfing (it’s illegal for a Cuban to invite you to stay with them unless they’re licensed, but many Cubans are on Couchsurfing to connect with people) walked us to a restaurant so we could finally get some food in us.

Cubans LOVE children. I smile as I remember sitting in the restaurant while our server hovered as she watched Tigger try to cut through his meat. She offered to help a couple of times, and I reassured her in Spanish that he could do it. She stepped away from the table for a bit but could no longer stand it. She rushed back to the table, took his silverware from him, and quickly cut his food for him, apologizing as she walked away after finishing.

exhausted in cuba, beauty in the world

Another time while walking around exploring, I had a very thirsty kiddo. We hadn’t found a place selling water yet, so I stopped and asked someone where I could buy water. Rather than lazily point off in the distance, he guided us around in search of a store. When he spotted a man sitting on a doorstep, he stopped and told the man “The boy is thirsty.” The man jumped up, went inside, and returned with a glass and bottled water.

A woman couldn’t stand the sight of Tigger sitting on the curb while balancing a plate of food on his lap, so we were ushered into her home. She also refused payment for the food we had ordered, and we were told quite seriously that if there was ANY problem, we were to return to her home.

On Utila, Tigger got sick and vomited while walking to the store about 30 meters from our home. Two men came to his aid and ushered him home. I heard one of the men screaming at his wife to call the dive shop where I worked to let me know Tigger was ill.

In the Philippines, there was a young man who desperately wanted surgery for his cleft lip. I was with a group performing these surgeries. He walked for 3 days to get to the hospital. Upon arriving, he discovered he was early. He knew no one and had virtually no money, so he found a corner in the hospital and tried to go unnoticed as he slept in the building. People found out why he was there, and they made some calls. A couple picked him up and took him to their home. They were at his side during the overnight preop stay and hovered outside the OR doors like every other worried family. They were total strangers the day they got the phone call. They brought him food, fed him, and fanned him with a piece of cardboard during the heat of the day when the large, portable air conditioner couldn’t keep up with the ward room filled with people.

beauty in the world, lotus, thailand

I could probably spend days writing up all the stories of generosity and kindness that we’ve experienced so far.

When you expect to see beauty, it unfolds for you.


Sure, there are some stinkers out there, but by and large they are the minority. By a wide margin.

Just like with the “rude” French, it’s all about expectations. If you expect to find good in the world, you’ll see plenty of examples. If you expect the opposite, guess what you’ll see. Live in fear, and you’ll see plenty of evidence why you should continue to be afraid.


When you expect to see beauty, it unfolds for you.

What are examples of some of the beauty in the world you’ve seen?

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  1. What a wonderful positive message to set the tone for the weekend. Thanks, Talon.

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  2. People will really surprise us/show us how wonderful they are when we just sit back and let them. I’ve felt so welcomed and well-treated much more often than mistreated during my travels.

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    • So very true! People will generally surprise you. In a positive way.

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  3. “When you expect to see beauty, it unfolds for you.”
    I love this. A wonderful way to end a great post 🙂

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  4. I totally agree – There are far more good in the world than bad. Its just a shame that what the media focuses on is the bad stuff so many of us live in fear. If everyone really knew how safe and beautiful this world really is there would be more people living their travel dreams.

    Thank you for such a lovely story. I hope more people will open their eyes and see all the beauty in the world

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    • I hope so as well. The more of the world I see, the more beauty I experience.

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  5. First off, great post!

    Secondly, to answer the question of your first paragraph, it’s because good news doesn’t sell nearly as well. If you look at mainstream media, whether magazines and newspapers or (especially) TV, it’s all about fear. Even our beloved Animal Planet has taken a turn towards fear-oriented programming.

    For me, it’s all about finding a good balance. I think it’s awful when people only want to focus on bad news, and don’t see all the amazing beauty in the world. But at the same time, I’ve known FAR too many human ostriches, burying their heads in the sand and “La La La”-ing their way through life without a single concern for the problems plaguing the world around them.

    As the sage wisdom says, “You take the good, you take the bad, you take ’em both and there you have the Facts of Life.” 😉

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    • I’ve noticed that about Animal Planet, and I find that so sad.

      You’re right. There is a balance between only wanting to find the beauty in the world but not turning a blind eye to its ugliness as well. And there are dangers in being an ostrich for sure.

      And now I have that song in my head. Thanks. LOL

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  6. The world is indeed a beautiful place. All you have to do is look. We even found that in North Korea when we visited–the government may be whacky, but the people are warm and wonderful

    . . and in the end, the love you take. . . is equal to the love you make. . . 🙂

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    • So often it’s that way. I’m a bit envious of your visit to North Korea. I’m very curious but not so sure I’d go still.

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  7. I think people would normally rather read about misery than beauty because it makes them feel better about their own lives.

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  8. We attract to us what we put out. If we’re negative and nasty, that’s what we get. If we’re loving and kind, that’s what we get. Love this post – so well written.

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    • So very true, Barbara. We definitely get what we put out. And thanks for the lovely compliment!

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  9. bravo, talon – this is exactly what i needed to read and think about today. we’ve all been the recipients of amazing kindness and caring – i only hope i reciprocate as often, if not more. as a traveler with disabilities, people have helped me every step of the way. to them, i say THANK YOU (again and again)

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    • I love constantly being blown away by goodness.

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  10. When we were in Paris, we took a day trip to the Chateau of Fountainbleu. It was the coldest day of our trip, about 26 degrees and with all of our layers, the cold still got through. We didn’t see a bus and really didn’t want to pay for a taxi so we walked it (about 30 minutes). We’re good walkers, but it was so freaking cold. We came to the proverbially fork in the road and really had no idea of which way to turn and we did not want to make the wrong choice and have to back track. A man came along and I said in my butchering French words, pardon Monsieur, chateau? He didn’t hesitate, he stopped and rattled off directions, pointing, gesturing until we finally had a good idea of how to proceed. We didn’t understand a word he said, but somehow we knew what he was telling us. He didn’t have to stop, it was damn cold, but he did. Explain to me again about the French being rude?!

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    • Yep! If that’s rude, may the world be full of rudeness! 🙂

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  11. Stacy is right, and the inverse is true too. I was born & raised in NY, and heard horror stories about the South. That old Vikki Lawrence song was all we had to go by. For the most part though, everyone I met was just as nice as could be- especially once we got to know each other. What comes around goes around.

    Also- I want to thank you for helping with the cleft surgeries, I too have a bilateral cleft lip & palate. Lucky for me I was born in the US & mom was an RN at a hospital- I was taken care of. I have difficulty imagining what life would be like had it not been repaired. You’ve helped make their lives immeasurably better.

    Thank you.

    Keep on being awesome 😉

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    • Thanks, Charlie! Hearing the story of the people and how their lives were so impacted by their cleft lip was really quite humbling. I don’t think I’ll ever forget watching a grandmother break down into tears the first time her grandson smiled when he saw his reflection after surgery.

      That’s interesting you heard that about the South. Their usual reputation is for their hospitality and friendliness, well, aside from the past I mean. 🙂

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  12. Beautiful story about beautiful people. Thanks for reminding us of what is RIGHT in the world. And you are correct that impressions are often mistaken. Growing up in the southern US, we often heard about rude New Yorkers. Upon meeting my husband (one of those “rude” New Yorkers, visiting, then living in NY, I discovered some of the nicest people I know and dear friends of mine to this day). I learned to not listen to what everyone else says but to go in to any situation with an open mind and an open heart and it will be filled with beauty.

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  13. What a special post. I love this. It sounds like you’ve had some really special experiences and it’s good to be reminded of it. The news is so negative… I just have to turn it off…. It’s one thing to know what’s happening in the world (and as you know, in America, you don’t hear much what’s happening anywhere else) but to be drilled in the negative… Painful. Oh, and glad you are OK.. sounds like something I would do!


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    • Yes, I still laugh about how dumb it was. Glad the outcome wasn’t worse, though.

      I just wish the news would put a bit more attention on the good stories. I know it doesn’t sell, but it would be so nice to see.

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  14. Way to go Talon! You get what you give is my mantra and when you are nice to people they are usually nice back! There are exceptions, but they are far and few between! Thanks for sharing!

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  15. It is indeed all about expectations. When you see the world in terms of 99% full of damn good people then you will find a world and live in a world where 99% of the people are wonderful. EVEN IN FRANCE!! (having lived in France and been there many, many times I’m always blown away by the idea that they French are rude…I’ve honestly met very, very few rude French people). Nice touch for a post!

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