Global adventurer finds human connections in Delta
By Pat Sunderland
Published Thursday, September 17, 2015 8:36 am
Photo by Pat Sunderland Leon Logothetis signs copies of his book, "The Kindness Diaries," at the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce. Returning to Delta made his six-month journey seem more real, Logothetis said.
Leon Logothetis is spreading a message of hope and kindness, inspiring young and old to follow their dreams. Last week the global adventurer/author shared inspirational words with high school students in Cedaredge and Delta, encouraging them to live their dreams. At the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce, he signed copies of his book, "The Kindness Diaries" and showed episode one of a television series that was spun off from his book. That episode was especially meaningful because it was filmed in Delta at the beginning of Logothetis' amazing journey across the U.S., to Europe, Cambodia and Thailand.
Logothetis' visit to Delta two years ago was a "serendipitous" stop that was prompted by a British taxi parked among Orval Proctor's classical autos on Main Street.
Logothetis is a broker from London who gave up a lucrative, yet stifling, career to explore the world after watching "The Motorcycle Diaries." "I had an epiphany -- I realized I didn't want to live my life sitting behind a desk. I quit my job and started traveling the world."
His first trip took him from Times Square to Los Angeles on just $5 a day.
After another desk job -- "because change can take a little bit of time" -- he saw on the streets of Hollywood a homeless chap holding a sign that said, "Kindness is the best medicine."
Something about that sign spurred Logothetis into a quest to share kindness with the world. Hoping to touch as many lives as possible, he took along a film crew from his production company.
While his film crew traveled in luxury, he rode a vintage Chang Jiang sidecar motorcycle. He set out from L.A. in the bright yellow contraption with no food, no money and no place to stay. He relied solely on the kindness of others, but would not accept money. "Because it wasn't about money, it was about the exchange between me and others," he explained.
His book details the early days of his journey, including his trip through Delta:
"And that's when I saw the old English taxicab, serendipity once again gently touching me on the shoulder. What are the odds of seeing an English cab in the middle of rural Colorado? I will tell you, about infinity to one."
He walked back up the street to the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce where he asked Kami Collins, the director at that time, if she knew of a place he could stay. One of her contacts was Pastor James Conley of the First Baptist Church, who immediately thought of Willy Gordon, a Scotsman with a big heart. Without any hesitation, Willy and his wife Chery agreed Logothetis could spend the night at their house.
Logothetis wrote: "I discovered that not only was I probably in the only town in Colorado with an English cab, but I was also probably in the only town in Colorado with a Scotsman. The lady at the chamber of commerce put me on the phone with Willy, who the woman clearly hoped would help me because we both had strange accents. She was right."
The Gordons, Kami Collins, Orval Proctor and the Gordons' 95-year-old friend are all featured in episode one, which also shows glimpses of Main Street and the surrounding 'dobies.
While looking at family photos, Willy shared that his son was being married in England but they would not be able to attend because of the cost of airplane tickets.
Proving that kindness goes both ways, Logothetis gave the Gordons money for the plane tickets before he headed down the road the next morning. Upon greeting Willy at the chamber office last week, he was anxious to hear about the wedding.
Similar acts of generosity are sprinkled throughout the book and the TV series, which includes one episode in Cambodia with a widowed mother and her young son. The mother has HIV and relies on relatives to provide food. They lived in a one-room hut with a roof that failed to protect them from the elements. Upon his departure from that village, Logothetis promised a sturdy new home made of concrete with a roof that would keep out the rain.
In Pittsburgh, he repeated a request he made often on his journey, "Can I stay in your house?" he asked a man named Tony. Tony responded he had no house. "I'm homeless," he explained. Logothetis curled up on the ground next to the man, and when he left the city the next day, Tony had been given a place to stay and an opportunity for job training.
The TV series evokes chuckles, empathy and even a tear or two as Logothetis spreads his message of hope and kindness. The series has been distributed internationally, but has not yet been picked up in the U.S. In the meantime, Logothetis is on a speaking/book signing tour while he works on two new books.
"It was a powerful journey, a journey that hopefully changed some lives and certainly changed my life," said Logothetis.
"The Kindness Diaries: One Man's Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around the World" can be purchased from Amazon, and hopefully all 13 episodes of the TV series, including episode one featuring Delta, will soon be shown in the U.S.