Simply Hug with abandon

Q&A on humanity, vulnerability, and hugging TSA personnel with Hug Tour Ambassador, Kimberly Daulton

What does a hug mean to you?

A hug means so many things to me. It is a special greeting. It is a source of comfort. It is a generous gift meant to be shared.

One of my favorite moments in yoga was when the instructor told the class to give ourselves a big hug. Ooh, that felt good. See? A hug is even intended for yourself.

As a woman on a tight budget, it is a most meaningful exchange at such a low cost. I think Sue Orman might even approve of it! Who needs to express gratitude and love with material things when we have something way more generous and meaningful right inside ourselves?

What made you want to be a hug tour ambassador?

I like the hug tour because it gives people a reason to share the gift of a hug with one another. Not that people should have to have a reason, but sometimes in this city of working and playing hard, people need one.

There is something vulnerable about truly and fully allowing ourselves to experience the comfort and affection of a hug with someone else.

It's opening ourselves up in a way that acknowledges our common humanity and need for touch. It reminds us that we are not alone. I think that is beautiful.

I love hugs and I often find myself needing them.

I also have this internal pressure to look like I have it all together. I remember in my last job there were many times when I could use a good hug. Sometimes I would go days without having one and then I would finally get up the nerve to meet someone somewhere or just ask my co-worker for one.

People were more than willing.

It has led me to believe that everyone has a little hugger hiding inside them. 

We just need to create the space for them to come on out and HUG!  The hug tour is like a blessing that says: "go, be affectionate, and care for each other with warmth and laughter!" It was easy to say a hearty "yes" to becoming a hug tour ambassador.

What has response been like?

My experience of the hug tour and wearing the hug tour t-shirt has been positive. People have actually asked me for hugs while I have worn it which has been lovely to witness. It has been an honor to respond to their requests.

I wore it to Boston's Logan Airport several weeks ago when my flight got canceled. The security personnel noted my distress, looked at my t-shirt, and actually commented that I looked like I needed a hug.

I did. In hindsight, I should have asked him for one but that might have been against TSA regulations and I really wanted to get home.

Does any hug stand out to you? 

There are two recent hugs that stand out to me.

The first is with a friend who I was meeting for an event. As soon as the friend neared me, I wrapped my arms around him, jumped up and down, and squealed: "Hug tour!"

This made him squeeze me tighter and laugh. Hugging can be so much fun!

The second hug came from a six year-old.  I was visiting her daycare for work. We spent a hour playing together. You know, a little bit of Simon Says, a little bit Hide and Seek, then some serious Lego construction.

I walked her back to her classroom and talked with her teacher for a few moments while she nervously dug her foot in the floor. As I waved goodbye, her face registered surprise at my departure and she scurried over to me, arms wide open. She enveloped my legs and nuzzled her head against my hip.  Precious!

What is your wish for the hug tour?

That it continues to offer people the freedom to hug as they please.

Wouldn't it be amazing if everyone could acknowledge their need for touch; be a little more vulnerable and therefore more connected in the community; jump up and down and squeeze a little tighter; fling their arms wide open, run, and hug with abandon; and even hug TSA personnel?

I think so. Yes.

Want to share your story of a great hug, or recognize a great hugger in your life? Please comment with your story, or email details.