When we took our first foray down to Victoria’s Inner Harbour in June, 2010 to try sharing hugs with strangers, we had no idea where our adventure would lead us. We were terrified at first, but nine years later, we’re still going strong! In fact we’ve held more free hugs sessions this year than ever before! In 2017 we had 20 sessions; our first was on April 1 (it seemed appropriate) and our last was on December 12. So far this year we’ve held 14 sessions; our first was on March 10 and we’re planning to continue for as long as we can!
In 9 years we’ve shared hugs, stories, smiles, tears, high-fives, waves and so much more with thousands of people from 75 countries (of which we are aware). They are: Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Eritrea, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kuwait, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Ireland, Republic of Korea, Republic of Suriname, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, US and Zimbabwe. We’ve hugged people from 52 of those countries so far this year, and we’re always adding new ones to our list!
With few exceptions, we’ve held all of our hugging sessions at the Homecoming Memorial on Wharf Street. It’s a good location for us, and the biggest indicator of time passing has been the growth of the little pine tree behind us. Our tree has been watching over us for a long time, even when it was too short to do so…
That’s it for now. Remember to hug someone you love today. Or a stranger. Or, preferably, both!