I’ve never cried on a plane before. But as I was 30,000 feet in the air somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, the kindness of others melted my heart and tears flowed down my face. I was barely a few chapters into The Kindness Diaries and I was already feeling its emotional impact all throughout my being.
Written by Leon Logothetis, he tells the story of his journey to circumnavigate the globe on a yellow motorbike named Kindness One, surviving only on the kindness of strangers. He travels all around the world, across the US to Europe, India, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and finally to Canada and back to Los Angeles, entirely fueled by the generosity of humanity to provide shelter, food, and gas.
“I knew the trip was risky, but I also knew that this was what this journey was all about – it was about reaching out to people in even the harshest environments and discovering that beneath the politics of more powerful men, we all share the same simple dream: to be happy.”
Some people had a lot to give, and others had very little and were already struggling, but still were kind enough to offer what they could to help Leon. Time and time again, Leon was able to find people all over the world willing to show him kindness in all different ways.
Of course, Leon had plenty of bad moments too that would get him down. But what I noticed that matters most of all is that after heaps of failure and constant rejection, as soon as one kind person comes into the picture and lends a helping hand, it’s like a wave of goodness rushes over and wipes out all the pain and frustration leading up to that moment. It changes everything.
In celebration of the release of The Kindness Diaries, Leon launched his #GoBeKind Tour with his overall goal the same as his many other journeys ― to create a kinder world. He went on another mission to find, film, and help some of the most deserving, kindest people he encounters along his trip to encourage others to #GoBeKind. In each city, Leon has found unsuspecting individuals that he surprised with a life-changing gift for spreading kindness. Watch his experience in Denver, where he meets a single father who’s given up everything for his family, and New York, where he meets Ed, a blind man who helps other blind people learn technology to better help them with their lives.
One commonality throughout Leon’s journey around the world and the #GoBeKind tour is the importance of human connection. We may be distracted by technology and all of our digital devices, but we are also surrounded by the extreme beauty of nature and people who have the potential to change our lives ― or we may even be the one to change theirs. Take the time to pay attention to these moments and know that it doesn’t always take enormous action to create positive change. Leon sums it up perfectly in my favorite quote of the book:
“The small moments, the small acts, the small changes. We always think that change needs to come in broad strokes. That in order to follow your dreams, you need to get on a yellow motorbike to cross the world on kindness, but maybe the real epiphany is to pay attention to all the dreams unfolding around us. If I could make one promise to myself, I decided it would be this: when I got home, I would leave the bloody phone alone. I would pay attention. I would let my heart break open a little more. I would allow myself to be happy.”
Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it’s clear right away, sometimes you realize it later, and sometimes you never find out why. But the people we pass by on our journey of life are not coincidence. They were put there for a reason.
In light of all the brutal violence that occurs in our world every day and especially last week, I urge you all to start creating change with simple acts of kindness. Hold the door open for someone, bake cookies for your neighbor, tell your boss about the great job your coworker is doing, or buy the person’s coffee behind you in line. They may seem small at first, but the little things may be more meaningful than you think.
“The big stuff, the grand moments, will always come and go. But it’s the little ones that have the real potential to change us.”
Upon his return, Leon was inspired to start The Human Interaction Project, which focuses on connecting people to each other. The project sends young adults to go out and experience the world in the way Leon did by traveling somewhere completely out of their comfort zone and providing a service to the local community. They also have the opportunity to give back to an individual or organization they encounter on their journey, just like Leon did. Learning through travel and human connection is one of the most powerful forms of education.
The Kindness Diaries will restore your faith in humanity and remind you of the impact that a single kind act can have on the world. Pick up your copy on Amazon, and prepare yourself as you join along on this inspirational and transformative journey of the power of kindness and compassion to ignite change.