With the holiday season quickly approaching, we thought it fitting to speak with global adventurer, motivational speaker, and philanthropist Leon Logothetis about his worldwide journeys and the invaluable life lessons he learned along the way.
Leon’s travels though are not of the typical garden variety. It all began when he quit his unfulfilling job desk job in search of a more meaningful life, one in which he was more present in the moment and more connected to other people. So, he decided to traveled across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe on just five dollars, five pounds, and five euros.
During his first journey he said that he had so many amazing experiences and had been “touched by so many people around the world”; however, sometime after his this, when he returned home and went back to working an office job, he “started to fall back into old patterns” and once again began to feel depressed, uninspired, and without purpose. Leon assures, “sometimes it’s not easy to shift things just like that. It’s a process and there will be ups and downs.”
One day, he saw a man on the streets of downtown L.A. holding a sign that read, “Kindness is the best medicine.” Leon says that immediately there was something that touched and inspired him, “I realized I had done a couple of these journeys that were all about receiving kindness, and this was now my opportunity to be of service, to give back, and to use all of the things I had learned in some ways to touch other people’s lives too.”
He set out in a vintage yellow motorbike, named “Kindness One”, to see just how far kindness and human connection could take him— which apparently is pretty far! Relying solely on the help of strangers Leon traversed the globe. Starting in Los Angeles he made his way across the United States to Spain, Turkey, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Canada and circled back to L.A.
While relying on the kindness of strangers to provide food, gas, and lodgings, Leon simultaneously gave back to the good Samaritans who helped him in thoughtful and unexpected ways. During this journey, he says that it was his “intention to hopefully close the circle and become part of the change as well as being affected by it.”
People always think that inspiration is this far away, hard to reach thing— something bottled deep within themselves that only they can bring forth to the surface—but often, inspiration comes to us from other people. Like, for example, the man in L.A. holding the sign that read “Kindness is the best medicine”, from this man Leon was inspired to travel the globe, relying on the kindness of others and also to give back the kindness that he received.
And just as he received kindness from strangers, he also received inspiration.
It seems that inspiration is not something that we must dig out from deep within ourselves but is something that is transferred to us through our interactions with others. Which is another reason why human connection is so important in our lives— we inspire each other, it is cyclical. Leon advises, “Be inspired and then inspire someone else.”
Leon chose travel as a means through which to experience the fulfillment of human connection and kindness. For him that was the life that he always wanted to live; but, when asked if travel is necessary to experience the power of human connection and/or a life changing moment that will lead us to the to the life we always wanted to live he insists, “the biggest life changing journey is the one you take within yourself. And that does not mean you have to travel. It just means you have to make a decision within yourself to change.”
He says that in our daily lives, “many of us commit to our careers, our spouses and our kids, but we don’t commit to ourselves.” When asked if that means we need to be a tad bit selfish, Leon replies, “I don’t see it as selfish at all. You know how they say, on a plane, in case of an emergency, the first thing you have to do is put your own oxygen mask on? Well, that’s all it is. You have to put your own oxygen mask on first, and then you can help others”
This is the first step to experiencing the fulfillment of human connection—connecting to yourself— “then you can build from there.”
This holiday season, whatever festivities you have planned–be it a large family gathering, a large vacation, a small weekend getaway, or no vacation or celebration planned at all–take a page from Leon’s book. Put your own oxygen mask on first. Take some time to connect with and help yourself, and then take the time to connect with and help others. You will surely feel more inspired, fulfilled, and more present.
What we can take away from Leon is that kindness and connection (to others as well as yourself) can lead you to a happier, more fulfilled and inspired life—the life you always wanted to live, but never knew how.
Leon’s latest book, Live, Love, Explore: Discover the Way of a Traveler a Roadmap to the Life You Were Meant to Live. will be released December 2016 and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.