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Kindness One: In Italy as night falls, traveler's plea for help fails

Before I began this around-the-world adventure by motorcycle, a trip that’s sustained by the kindness of strangers, I would have jumped at the chance to visit Como, Italy. Its exquisite lake, 19th century buildings and Italian flair put it high on my list of places to see.

Had you told me I would have to sleep outside as a rainstorm cleared everyone from the streets except me, I wouldn’t have been quite as thrilled.

So today I am not quite as thrilled. I got to see Lake Como. I also got to sleep in Kindness One, my 1978 Chang Jiang motorcycle with a sidecar that’s my transportation on my trip from Los Angeles back to Los Angeles.

When I arrived in Como, the sun had set, and the city was coming to life. Rich pickings, I thought. Surely I would find someone to put me up for the night. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since I left Los Angeles on Aug. 10. I don’t have money for food, shelter or gasoline, so I rely on strangers to help.

I walked to the main square and connected with locals, foreigners and even a policeman. I had no luck getting a place to stay but received lots of high-fives -- and some blank stares for what many consider a madman traversing the Earth on kindness.

At one point I had a crowd around me because I was shouting at the top of my lungs. Did anyone have a place for me to stay for the night? No takers.

Rejection after rejection is not easy. Understandable, yes. Easy, no.           

As the church bells chimed 3 a.m., I had little choice but to resort to Plan F: spending the night with my lucky red jacket and Kindness One as my companions. I was well and truly stranded. I had made it from Los Angeles to Como on the kindness of others, and now the chain had been broken. 

I am hoping for better news in the coming days.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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