People dream of getting a good job, making a lot of money, and having a stable life. However, those that manage to accomplish that dream life often find out it’s not as fulfilling as they thought it would be.
After working as a stockbroker in London, one man had everything he thought he would ever want. Yet something was still missing from his life, so he decided to give it all up to travel the world and pay acts of kindness forward to people who need it most…
An Influential Teacher
When Leon Logothetis was a child, he was ruthlessly bullied by classmates and credits a kind teacher for helping him through that difficult period in his life. “As a kid, I would say… I was saved by a teacher that made me feel like I mattered, by being kind,” Leon told Rachael Ray in an interview.
A Life Mission
His experience being bullied and the kindness that his teacher showed him left a mark on him and he vowed that he would pay that kindness forward when he was an adult. “And I promised myself that I would go out into the world and do what she did for me, for others,” Leon explained.
However, Leon ended up becoming a stockbroker in London as an adult. While the job allowed him to earn a lot of money and gave him financial stability, he realized one day that he wasn’t actually helping anyone and definitely wasn’t connecting with anyone in a meaningful way at work.
An Important Realization
Leon realized that he felt completely alone after spending his days sitting behind his desk. And once he made that realization, Leon couldn’t help but feel that he needed to make some major changes to his life so that he could live a more intentional and inspired life.
Disconnected And Unhappy
“I was successful but I was unhappy, I was disconnected,” Leon told Forbes in an interview years later. “I was fortunate to be able to travel wherever I wanted. But I felt there had to be so much more in my life than just sitting behind a desk,” he explained.
The Motorcycle Diaries
According to Leon, he really became motivated to change things up after he watched “The Motorcycle Diaries”. The movie is based on the true story of Che Guevara’s motorcycle trip across South America, and it made a lasting impression on Leon.
“In that moment, I realized that there was another way to live,” Leon said. “I didn’t have to sit behind a desk to follow someone else’s dream,” Leon explained to Travel + Leisure about the moment he stopped believing he had to live the life he had created for himself.
A Tipping Point
“That was a tipping point for me,” Leon said. “Because I remember walking into work every day and spending 16 hours a day at work and thinking, ‘Why am I doing this to myself?’ On the outside, I had everything you could want, but on the inside, I had nothing.”
Walking Away From Everything
“I didn’t have to sit behind that desk. I could go out and connect with people. I could go out and be inspired by people,” Leon added. So in 2004, Leon decided to walk away from the life he had worked so hard to create and that many only dream of.
A New Challenge
After quitting his job as a stockbroker, Leon decided to go traveling in an effort to experience more and try to connect with people from all walks of life. To do that Leon decided to challenge himself by traveling across the United States on just $5 a day.
To stick to that budget, Leon would have to rely on the kindness of strangers to help him with everything from food to accommodations. According to Leon, his tight budget wasn’t about saving money but about forcing himself to make meaningful connections with strangers.
Relying On Kindness
“Everyone thought I was mad,” Leon told People about his decision. Since then, Leon has traveled across the United States, Europe, and Asia with almost no money, food, gas, or accommodations. While he has spent countless nights sleeping in the sidecar of his vintage yellow motorcycle, he has also experienced humbling kindness and generosity from complete strangers.
A Healing Experience
“I found there was so much more and it was about connecting with people. I like to call it the healing power of human connection,” Leon said. During one trip in the United States, Leon experienced another life-changing moment while walking down Hollywood Boulevard.
A New Mission
“This homeless chap was holding it,” Leon said. “It read, ‘Kindness is the best medicine.’ Something about those words rammed straight into me. It was like an epiphany.” After that, Leon was inspired to look for kindness in strangers and then repay them.
Paying It Forward
Leon has now traveled to all seven continents and has been to more than 100 countries. During those trips, he has spent $200,000 of his own money helping out people who have helped him. “I ended up giving about 14 gifts in my travels. It really depended on the person that I met,” he explained.
Helping Those In Need
“One person, for example, Tony, a young homeless man in Pittsburgh. It was so obvious that his life would benefit from a gift. There were other people that were really kind to me and we really connected but for whatever reason, it seemed like they didn’t need anything.”
“In India, I met this riverboat driver and he let me stay in his house. He was telling me the night before about how he was giving his children their education,” Leon said. “He didn’t have the money to send his kids to school. So I told him I would pay for both of his kids to go to school until they are 18 years old.”
The Kindness Diaries
“He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Finally, after explaining the gift he was overcome with emotion when he understood what was happening,” said Leon, who documents his travels in The Kindness Diaries, an inspirational series that began streaming its second season on late February 2019 on Netflix and BYUtv.
On top of helping individuals on his journey, Leon has used his money to help build a second floor on a school in Peru for underprivileged children, feed orphans in Costa Rica, and even saved 100 stray dogs in Ecuador. “Kindness has gotten a bad rap these days,” said Leon.
“It’s sometimes seen as being soft. But kindness isn’t weakness. Kindness is profound strength,” the TV host, inspirational speaker, and author explained. By sharing his journey, Leon hopes he can inspire others to be kind. “I am where I am today because people inspired me. If I can inspire someone else,” Leon added, “then that’s a wonderful feeling.”
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