When we last left this story, I was being held up at the Vietnamese border, where the border authorities wanted to impound my bright yellow motorcycle. They suggested that I leave without it (I couldn’t do that) and go on to Ho Chi Minh City.
They have fed me, sheltered me and provided me (or, more accurately, my bright-yellow motorcycle, dubbed Kindness One) with gasoline as I've journeyed across the U.S., then across the Atlantic, through Europe and then to Asia.
During my last months of travel: I've slept in the "home" (a parking garage) with a homeless man in Pittsburgh. I've crossed the Atlantic on a container vessel. I've been welcomed in an Indian village by hundreds of locals. I've experienced humbling kindness from others.
And I've just experienced it again.
As I was walking around Ho Chi Minh City, I came across the famed opera house. Sitting on the grand steps, I struck up a conversation with a man who was leaving the building. I told him my story, and he seemed genuinely interested. He invited me to the opera that night. As it turned out, he was the director of the featured show.
When I arrived, he had a special surprise for me: He wanted me to be a part of the performance in front of hundreds of paying customers.
I was taken aback but jumped at the chance. I dressed in one of the traditional black costumes worn in the show and waited patiently in the wings. As the performance neared its conclusion, he gave me a set of drums and told me to go out and free style with the drummer.
I was playing in an opera house! When it was over, I returned to the stage to a standing ovation. Admittedly, it was a standing ovation because the performance was over and people were leaving, but I'll take it.
The moment was a high point, which, as often happens, followed a low point, and I now have the traditional wooden drums as a memento -- and as a reminder of what can happen if you're open to it.