Kate Reardon answers the question:
What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?
This was such a beautiful question to be asked, and it’s brought up so many beautiful moments and memories and experiences in my life. But the one that really stood out, Phil, was about 20 years ago. I was backpacking through Bolivia. I had my backpack on and I think I was only 20 or 21 at the time. Bolivia was going through this massive civil unrest at the time. The president was doing all kinds of things that was really upsetting all of the local people. So I was backpacking through there and it became dangerous and really, really unstable in the little town that I was. So I had to get to the main city, La Paz, which is the capital of the country. And it was really stressful, really scary. I’d never been in any situation, coming from Australia, like that, and backpacking.
So I finally got on this bus. I’d been waiting all day to get this one bus that was going to La Paz. It was a 16-hour journey. And I had to wait because they were only letting about five or six tickets on that day for tourists. So I was lining up for literally hours and hours. And I had to really make sure that I got on the bus. So I wasn’t able to go to the toilet, to go and get any snacks, to prepare myself for this huge 16-hour journey that was ahead of me on the bus.
I got on the bus by sheer chance of luck and a lot of grace and just some help from some beautiful local people. And when I was on the bus, I was just looking around and there were all these people, all the local Bolivianos who were fleeing their home for safety. It was really dangerous. There was lots of violence, lots of civil unrest, protest in the streets. People were getting murdered. It was quite scary. And there were a lot of families on my bus, fleeing and trying to get to safety.
I sat next to this mother and she had four children. So I had one seat and she had the other seat with four children. So she had two children on each leg. And I was talking to her in my very, very broken Spanish. And I will never forget, she had one bread roll, because at the time, and still to present day, a lot of the local Bolivian people live below the poverty line. And way back then, I’m not sure exactly what it is now, but the poverty line was one U.S. dollar per day, per family, to live on.
This woman, she was a poor farmer woman living really, really hand-to-mouth, and below the poverty line. She had one piece of bread for her entire family, to feed her entire family for the trip to La Paz. 16 hours, four kids, and she had one piece of bread. And she looked over at me and she offered me the bread first, before she ate it, before she even offered it to any of the children, because she knew that I had no food.
And even to this day, I still choke up when I think of that. It was just pure love and pure kindness. And I have never, ever, ever forgotten what that felt like. I didn’t take the piece of bread because I wanted to give it to her family, but just the gesture, and to think that she would give me, someone, a stranger, who just happened to be sitting next to her on the bus and had no snacks, to offer her bread to me, was the kindest and most beautiful thing I think I’ve ever felt.
I’ve never forgotten that woman. I think of her all the time. And she taught me so much in that vital moment about what true kindness is and what it means to give to strangers.
Kate Reardon is a qualified practitioner of naturopathy and nutritional medicine, an intuitive metaphysical healer, and certified yoga instructor. She is the co-founder of Asia’s award-winning fasting detox retreat center, Natural Instinct Healing , in Bali. For the past decade, Kate has led this business to guide and support thousands of individuals on retreat to experience a state of radiant health through the medium of cleansing and fasting.
Kate is the author of the book, The Essential Cleanse , a love letter to all who seek radical holistic healing. Kate now travels the world guiding and coaching high performers and world leaders, leading retreats internationally, keynote speaking, and holding space for immersive experiences that encourage her clients to dive deep into igniting and activating their full potential.