Some people like a challenge. Some like a really big challenge.
Leon Logothetis went for big when he decided to travel around the world, fueled only by the kindness of people he’d never met.
Introduce yourself and your quest.
I was born in London, where I worked as a broker. But I felt disconnected and uninspired with my pursuit of a traditional life. So I quit my job and moved to America.
My quest was to travel from Los Angeles all the way around the world, returning to LA, on my vintage yellow motorbike named Kindness One. There was a twist: I had to make it around the globe without money. I had to ask for help from people I met along the way.
The journey was not just about my traveling the world on the kindness of strangers. I also wanted to show that by truly committing to living our dreams, anything is possible.
What inspired you to take your quest?
The movie The Motorcycle Diaries. After seeing it, I realized there was so much more to life than sitting behind a slab of wood crunching numbers. I didn’t want to be disconnected, depressed, or to live a half-life anymore. I wanted to live fully.
Did your trip eliminate that “half-life” feeling?
I returned home from my trip a different person.
After sleeping the night on the streets of Pittsburgh, crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a container ship, and being inspired by the immense generosity I received along the journey, it was almost impossible not to change.
To me, the real beauty of my experiences was that they were fueled by human connection – and that feeling followed me home.
Tell us about one of those moments of human connect and kindness.
When I got to Pittsburgh, I had nowhere to stay. I met a homeless man, Tony, and he offered show me the ropes of sleeping on the street. He even shared his dinner with me.
He had nothing to give me, and yet he gave me everything.
I used to think wealth was simply about how much money you have. After meeting Tony, I realized wealth is how you live your life: how you help others, how you share your gifts with others, and how you treat others. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to have money. But it’s also important how you behave with others and yourself.
Tony changed my life because I used to be very money-centric. Through his kindness, I learned about internal wealth, and I wanted to share with others what he taught me.
Because he and I paid attention to one another that summer’s day, we became close friends. We’re still in touch.
How much did your round-the-world-on-kindness quest cost?
Since I was relying on favors from strangers, I didn’t spend much at all. However, I did have to purchase the visas to enter every country I went to.
Tell us about how you overcame a low point on your quest.
I’d been traveling for five months when I got to Vietnam. As I tried to enter, the border patrol wouldn’t give me Kindness One. They simply refused and said, “Go back to Cambodia.”
And thus began eight days of pleading with them to give me my motorbike. Admittedly, in that time I did consider leaving the my motorbike and continuing on.
Or even just giving up entirely.
But I remembered something Winston Churchill is famous for saying: “Never, never, never give up.”
I needed that bike to complete my trip. If nothing else, I needed Kindness One for all the people who had already helped me along the way. Not having the bike it would’ve felt like I was giving up on those people too, not just on myself.
Eventually, I went to the American embassy. They were able to have my bike released, and I was able to keep going forward.
It would have been easy to give up in that moment. But I’m glad I never did.
What kind of support did you have during your quest?
Everyone I’ve ever met in life has been part of my support system. From teachers and girlfriends to books I’ve read and movies I’ve watched – they all played a part in pushing me out the door whether they realized it or not.
One of the most supportive people was Dwight. He was the first person to help me on my trip by getting me gas for Kindness One so I could take off down the road and start my quest.
Do you have any advice for someone starting a kindness based quest?
Connect with people.
Humans don’t do anything for free. If you can connect with another person, find something you can both relate to, then that’s really the best price you can pay.
Have a story.
Make sure you know why you’re taking your quest, and be able to talk about it. If you can relate to others, they’re more likely to be of service to you.
What did we miss?
I am an introvert. I much prefer being behind the scenes – so this trip was huge in that way too.