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Tuesday
Nov192013

Into the wild meets: Miles of Smiles

We spoke to Miles of Smiles about how sharing happiness can give happiness and why the Miles of Smiles team are so enthusiatic about giving back. An inspiring story of three guys who wanted to combine travelling the world with sharing happiness to those who help them along the way.  

Image courtesy of Miles of Smile Facebook page. 

What is Miles of Smiles and what are your main aims?

It all started when we watched a video of the Rickshaw Run, we were inspired to sign up and take part, and then the idea of Miles of Smiles came about. Knowing the help we will receive along the way we thought of different ideas/ways to show our gratitude. Following this, the smile package was born. Wanting to share this idea and travel adventures with other people really created what we have today. Three individuals that love to travel, take on random adventures and enjoy life. Sharing that with friends, family and those we meet in the hope we can inspire them. Or at the very least make them smile.

Miles of Smiles started as an adventure, grew to a team, and is now a way of life.  We are three guys who really love adventure and happiness.  Our main aims are:

1)      To Inspire others to adventure and travel

2)      To encourage happiness in the people around us

3)      To give back to the people and places that make our travelling experiences so memorable

What is a smile package?

A Smile Package is a small personal expression of happiness. MOS is an idea, a movement and the smile package is the physical embodiment of what we believe in.

Smile Packages are a way for others to give back to people (Rickshaw Run – Jan 2014) who offer random acts of kindness.  We hope they will inspire people to think about things that make them happy and think of small ways that they can give back to the places that give them amazing travelling/adventuring experiences!

What is in one!?

Anything you want! Anything that MAKES YOU HAPPY.  Here are some suggestions:

- Shirts, Necklaces, Trinkets, Games, Art, Music, Candy, Pictures…

To add some personality to it so that the receiver knows something about who it was that decided to get involved with the random acts of kindness

- A write up about your smile package and/or yourself

- A photo of yourself (maybe smiling)

Step 1: Think of something that makes you smile

Step 2: Get/create those things, wrap them up and put them in a big envelope

Step 3: Send them to us

Our promise is to take a picture of the person who receives your smile package on our adventures, write down why they received it. We will then return a photo to the person who created the smile package so they can see who they “shared happiness” with! 

What were your inspirations for creating Miles of Smiles?

Kyle: Travelling and adventuring has changed my life.  It has really given me an amazing perspective on the beauty of the world and the people who live in it.  I really want to inspire others to just go… go and explore the world around you, and immerse yourself into it in a positive way!  Secondly, I went on a recent trip to the Philippines in January with four close friends.  The kindness, friendliess, and happiness shared with my friends and me personally on this trip really inspired me.  It made me realize the power of sharing happiness, and made me want to inspire others to do the same! 

James: I was working a job in Auckland, NZ that ended up being quite isolated from the locals. Living and working with other travelers was a lot of fun but the time had come to see more of NZ and the people here. I left Auckland with the aim to hitch hike around the north island, go hiking and hang out with locals. Having belief in people you may meet along the way and showing your thanks with travel stories and by hanging out. Why not leaving a small gift from someone randomly around the world as a way of memory and continued enjoyment.

Tell us about your adventures and the reaction you have got from delivering the first smile packages ?

Our first “major adventure” is the Rickshaw Run – December 29th, to January 14th in India.  This will be the first time we ever deliver Smile Packages.  The reactions we have received from people when we talk to them about Smile Packages, and our adventure has been beyond amazing!  We are incredibly excited to get to India and to meet the first person that will receive one!

 

Image courtesy of Miles of Smile Facebook page 

Why is sharing happiness so important to you?

It is simple.  When you think of positive things that make you happy, and when you share those things with other people… EVERYONE BENEFITS!  It can be something simple, or something massive! But an amazing example of this to us is the “Smile Sign”.

Back in April, Kyle went into Hong Kong with a simple sign that had “SMILE” written on it.  He stood in busy areas of the city and simply held the sign with a smile on his face.  Almost everyone who walked past the sign either laughed or smiled!

Everytime you smile at someone, you give back to the world around you.  Everytime you share some happiness the world benefits.

What would you say your biggest achievements have been so far?

Seeing people’s reactions when they talk about adventure and happiness and getting our first ever “random” Smile Package in the mail was something we will never forget!

Where do you see Miles of Smiles heading in the future?

 For now we just want to head to India.  Have an amazing adventure, share some smile packages, and turn our vision into a reality!  After India we will see where our adventures take us!

Apart from smile packages, how can people get involved?

We love when other people want to get involved!  Right now we are raising money for the relief efforts in the Philipines after the devestating Typhoon hit last week. Our Fundraising page is through Indiegogo.

We offer a few “perks” for donations, and some funny ways people can get involved in our adventure!

Aside from our fundraising campaign we are constantly adventuring around different areas of the world.  We have a lot of updates through our Facebook page and we are always posting about ways people can get involved! 

One last thing...

Go on an adventure and share some happiness!  That is what it is all about!

Questions by Ed Hawes 

If you are inspired to give back and share happiness why not have a look at Frontier's volunteering projects. 

Join the Frontier Community online with FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

See more from volunteers on Flickr and YouTube.


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    The Gap Year Blog - Into the Wild - Into the wild meets: Miles of Smiles

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