SALT LAKE CITY — Leon Logothetis had a comfortable life and a successful career but still felt he was missing something.
“I used to be a broker in London, and I was very depressed,” Logothetis said in a recent phone interview with the Deseret News. “And I saw the movie, 'The Motorcycle Diaries,' which was a show about a man traveling to South America relying on kindness. And I was so inspired by that film that I moved — I left my job and I started to travel around the world relying on kindness.”
For Logothetis, kindness has proven pretty reliable. Since his first trip, he has managed to travel through over 100 countries without cash, company or a place to stay. He now produces and stars in television shows that document his adventures. His series, “The Kindness Diaries,” is coming to BYUtv on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m. MST.
Although Logothetis’ books, TV shows and popular lectures gained him significant support, he continues to travel on faith. In “The Kindness Diaries,” Logothetis crossed the United States, Europe and London with only $5, 5 euros or 5 pounds a day.
“When you travel, you see the world,” he said. “And when you see the world, you see that what we are told on the news is not true. (You see) that most people are actually kind, most people actually care, and you realize that news is just a very small part of life and that goodness is a much bigger part of life.”
Leaving his former social identity behind allowed Legothetis to develop an alternative point of view.
“I started to live a little bit more from my heart and a little bit less from my brain, my mind. And it was beautiful,” he said.
“I ended up sleeping on the streets of Pittsburgh with a homeless man,” he said while recalling an episode of "The Kindness Diaries." “He protected me, he fed me and gave me some clothes. And it was very beautiful to see someone be so kind who had nothing. It reminded me about the power of kindness.”
Since placing his well-being in the hands of strangers, Logothetis has learned that most people are ultimately good willed. But he doesn’t necessarily believe a drastic change in circumstance is necessary for everyone to experience inner growth.
“(Traveling) was necessary for me,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it (without traveling). But that doesn’t mean other people couldn’t.”
For Logothetis, that means surrounding yourself with others who live from the heart, people who are not driven by external motivations, such as money or appearances.
His new book, “Go Be Kind: 28½ Adventures Guaranteed to Make You Happier,” teaches readers to integrate kindness into their daily lives. “It's inspiring people to take little small baby steps towards living from the heart,” Logothetis said. “The best way to do that is simply to be kind.”
As described by BenBella Books, Logothetis’ “Go Be Kind” contains “a series of daily adventures that will help you rediscover the greatest human gift — kindness — connecting you with others and helping you create a happier life.”
The phenomenon of connection is a miraculous experience for Logothetis. Disconnection — from ourselves, and, subsequently, others, he said — is the source of sadness.
“When you’re disconnected from your own heart, then you cannot be connected to someone else’s heart — then you cannot see them,” Legothetis explained.9 comments on this story
When asked, he agreed that his perspective sometimes alienates him from others who have traditional social views. “The answer to that is 'yes,'” he said. “But as long as I surround myself with people who have similar feelings, then I don't (feel alienated).”
Recently, Logothetis stopped by Salt Lake City to discuss his work with school-age children. Utah, he said, does a good job at being kind — and, in part, we have our beautiful scenery to thank. That “nature orientation,” as Logothetis called it, helps Utahns connect with and be a little kinder to one another.
“There's definitely … a heart-centeredness," he said. “… There's a love and a kindness here. … When we're connected to nature, it helps us to be kind.”