Last week I watched a series I happened upon “by accident” on Netflix called The Kindness Diaries. When I selected it on my remote, all I knew about it was what the short description offered, something like: A man travels across the globe with nothing but a vintage motorbike with the intention to rely solely on the kindness of strangers. (I paraphrase.) Being someone who loves travel and adventure as well as human interest stories, the description was intriguing enough for me to start watching the show. It wasn’t long after I started that I decided I really, really, liked this show.
The description on Netflix was accurate. The Kindness Diaries is a real-life account of Leon Logothetis, a business broker from London who one day decided that he wasn’t really living life like he wanted to, so he decided to go on a quest to make meaningful connections with people and to “give back.” And then he decided to go on this journey literally across the world on a vintage motorbike with a sidecar he affectionately named Kindness One, bringing virtually nothing with him but the clothes on his back, and relying entirely on the kindness of strangers. And for some of the people who helped him along the way, he would offer generosity to them, provide for a need that he became aware of as they opened up in conversation to him. As I watched, I found his journey to be surprising, uplifting, inspiring, and full of joy and hope.
People like Leon Logothetis inspire me to be a kinder person as well as to not be afraid to take risks and go on adventures, despite the cost. Because I believe that life is fully lived beyond our comfort zones. Some particular things about Leon’s encounters really struck me. First, I noticed that he didn’t pre-judge people based on appearances. He tried to see the best in everyone, and gave each person he approached the benefit of the doubt. And despite many rejections to his requests for food, accommodations, gas for his bike, etc, he never gave up. He was determined to find the people in every place he went who would show true kindness, because he based his entire trip off of the belief that kindness is still alive in the world no matter where you go. I also love how many people he found whose actions lined up with their words. What they said they believed was demonstrated in how they lived and in how they treated Leon in his need. Seeing people who genuinely want to help others gives me a lot of hope in the midst of such a broken world that seems to be full of hate sometimes.
I think that connecting with people face to face is one of the most important things we’ll ever do in our lives. People just want to be acknowledged, to be known, to be understood. And if we can break beyond this belief that money or success is what will bring us happiness, perhaps we’ll understand that generosity and genuine relationships are so much more fulfilling. No one is perfect; we are all broken. But what if we were to start looking at things differently—stop wallowing in our own brokenness and see how all of our stories unite?
Leon also visited several sites that accounted the tragedy of human suffering and cruelty over the years. So there was this striking contrast between the cruelty people are capable of and the mind-blowing kindness he was experiencing. I think if more of us will just be intentional about offering kindness, taking time to understand people, and offering forgiveness and compassion without looking for a return, we’ll begin to experience staggering stories of redemption. This is what Jesus demonstrated to us in the gospels, after all.
After watching the show, I reached out to Leon to see if he wouldn’t mind doing a short interview for my blog. He was kind enough to agree. So, without further ado, I give you Leon Logothetis:
Is there a specific moment you can remember that caused your heart to swell with the idea to travel the world relying on the kindness of strangers? What incited your adventure?
I WAS WATCHING THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES AND IT TOUCHED MY HEART IN A PROFOUND WAY.
What doubts or fears did you have to overcome in order to go through with your plan?
I THOUGHT, HOW ON EARTH AM I GOING TO DO THIS?? IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE?
During your journeys, did you ever feel like giving up? What was it that got you through that?
ALL THE TIME! HOWEVER, I FOLLOW WINSTON CHURCHILL’S FAMOUS WORDS… “NEVER NEVER GIVE UP!”
Who are some people you draw inspiration from?
GHANDI. MOHAMED ALI. CHURCHILL. PELE.
What art or artists inspire you the most, and why?
I LIKE POP ART BECAUSE IT’S SO VIBRANT! ALSO, ANDY WARHOL AND SILK SCREEN ARTISTS!
How do you overcome criticism and doubt from others?
GREAT QUESTION. I TRY NOT TO PAY ATTENTION TO IT UNLESS IT’S VALID, AND THEN I TRY AND LEARN FROM THE CRITICISM.
What is one of the most important things you’ve learned from all your travels?
WE ARE ALL THE SAME. WE ALL JUST WANT TO BE SEEN!
What was the most difficult thing you faced after deciding to embark on your kindness journey?
REJECTION. OVER AND OVER. NOT JUST ON THE ROAD BUT WITH MY BOOKS AND SHOWS.
How do you think comparison and competition affect culture, art, and business, and how would you advise we keep our passions alive in the midst of opposition?
SURROUND OURSELVES WITH PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT US, PEOPLE WHO WILL TELL US HOW WE ARE DOING WELL AND WHEN WE ARE NOT DOING SO WELL.
What do you find most beautiful in the world?
What advice would you give to people who want to be more adventurous or more kind but feel stuck or aren’t sure how to start?
THINK ABOUT LYING IN BED WHEN YOU ARE 90 AND HAVEN’T LIVED…NOT SO FUN!
How do you think artists in particular can bring change to the world?
ARTISTS COME FROM THEIR HEARTS, AND WE NEED TO COME FROM OUR HEARTS MORE. THE MIND IS POWERFUL BUT THE HEART IS MAGIC.
What encounter in your life has surprised you the most?
PEOPLE’S KINDNESS TO EACH OTHER.
What discovery about yourself has surprised you the most?
THAT I CAN LIVE WITH AN OPEN HEART AND NOT BE HARMED BY OTHERS.
And for fun:
What is the best foreign food you’ve tasted?
What is something people might not know about your film crew?
THEY ARE AS COMPASSIONATE AND LOVING AS THE SHOW POTRAYS THE WORLD TO BE.
What is your favorite animal?
Favorite type of music?
What is your favorite place to have tea or coffee? And where do you like to write? STARBUCKS! I LIKE TO WRITE IN SILENCE.
Is Kindness One still alive? How many repairs did it have to go through?
HAHA! YES, HE IS ALIVE. TOO MANY TO COUNT!
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
FLY. I HATE PLANES…
I highly recommend watching Leon’s show on Netflix and checking out his website if you want to learn more about him. Also, you can purchase his newest book, Live, Love, Explore here. I hope you’ve enjoyed the interview and are inspired to be kind and take more risks in your life and in your art. Be blessed everyone!