A lot of the questions I get about travel and running a travel blog go something like this: “When did you decide this is what you wanted to do?”
Now besides the fact that for me, both acting and travel are in the “things I want to do” category, I don’t think there’s any one moment where a lightbulb goes off, you slap your thigh, and think “THIS is what I can do to disappoint my family!” (just kidding, fam – you’re the best).
Everyone has their own journey to reach that point, and their own reasons why they travel and explore. I have written my very persistent argument for solo travel on this blog, but I thought I’d get a perspective on the travel journey from someone else – someone much more experienced than me, and with an incredibly humble and grateful approach to life and travel. Because contrary to what most people think, none of us get into this for the glamour.
I sat down with travel host and author Leon Logothetis, who has just released a new book titled “Live, Love, Explore” about his numerous journeys and the life lessons he’s learned along the way.
You may have already seen Leon on his National Geographic show “Amazing Adventures of a Nobody”, where he set out to prove that the world is an overall kind place by managing to cross the US with $5 in his pocket while relying on the kindness of strangers.
If you haven’t read his previous books, like “The Kindness Diaries”, you might want to check out “Live, Love, Explore” and immerse yourself in the incredible adventures and great lessons Leon picked up on the road.
I am giving away 15 copies of Leon’s books, so if you live in the US, enter the competition by scrolling to the end of the post and subscribing to Lose the Map for a chance to win your very own copy of “Live, Love, Explore”!
In these times of negativity and fear about the world around us, Leon’s experiences and views on his international adventures are a breath of fresh air. So read his story and get inspired!
I also wrote up this interview on GreekReporter.com, you can check it out by clicking the link.
Your new book, “Live, Love, Explore” is not just about travel right?
Basically, “Live, Love, Explore” is about all the lessons that I’ve learned on the road. I’ve traveled quite extensively, and really travel has been like a therapist for me in many ways. When I’ve felt down I’ve just kinda used travel as a way to feel better and to go out into the world and learn. At some point, I realized that I’ve learned all these lessons from all my journeys and from a lot of people I’ve met on the way, kind of like accidental teachers, and I wanted to be able to share them with as many people as I could.
But the book is not just about that. I’ve always realized I don’t think a lot of people live their lives to their true potential, and I wanted to give them the opportunity to see how to discover the life they want to live.
After all, the first sentence of my book is “I was tired of living someone else’s life”, and I found that a lot of people can relate to that, so really it’s all about discovering the life you were meant to live – that’s the main thrust of the book.
In your own life, when did you get to the point where you realized what you were doing wasn’t what you wanted to do?
Well, I guess that goes back to the movie “The Motorcycle Diaries”. I watched that movie after working in an office for quite a few years, and I just felt like I was playing a role, someone else’s role – someone else wanted me to do this, society or whoever. And I decided it was too much pain to follow someone else’s path, I wanted to follow my own.
And after watching that movie, I just quit. That doesn’t mean that I got it immediately because I didn’t – it was a process. This whole book is based around 15 years – changing your life is not something that just happens like that, it’s a long process.
Of the lessons you’ve learned, what’s one that stands out as the most significant?
I think one of the most significant lessons is simply to follow your own path, even though that’s actually not simple. It’s not an easy thing to do because we’ve been conditioned to do certain things on a societal level, on a familial level. To open up your heart and follow your own path, whatever that may be, and to surround yourself with good people who inspire you to take those risks – that’s a challenge.
What’s a good way to break outside that comfort zone when you travel and connect with people?
There’s a famous book called “The Wisdom of No Escape”. The gist of it is that sometimes you have to put yourself in a situation where there’s no escape to break out. For me the only way to do that was to take away all my money so I had to rely on people. Because I’m like anybody else – you put me on a packaged holiday and I don’t want to talk to anyone. But if you put me in the middle of Mumbai with limited funds, I’m forced to connect with people. So sometimes you have to put yourself in a room, metaphorically, whereby you can’t escape, and you’re forced to act and come out of your comfort zone.
That was another major lesson, coming out of your comfort zone, and that’s a way to do it – put yourself in a situation where you have no choice but to break out of your zone.
A lot of people think of your job as a kind of dream job. What’s one thing that you think would surprise most people about what you do, because it’s difficult or challenging?
In my last book, I wrote about motorcycling across the road with no money. And it was amazing. But think about doing that every day for almost six months and having no money. After a while you get to a point where you’re just like, “I wanna go home”. It can be a challenge, because coming out of your comfort zone is not an easy place to be – it’s a challenge doing these things. I would meet people on the road and we’d become friends and they’d be like “I don’t understand how you can do all this traveling”. It’s a wonderful opportunity, it’s a wonderful job, but that can still become exhausting. It helps though that actuall, I don’t really think of it as a job – I think of it as a passion.
What’s one of the places you’ve visited that’s changed your perspective the most?
Bhutan, where they determine the success of the country by the happiness of the people. They were truly people that came from their heart. There’s no perfection in the world, but it’s a wonderful place that showed me it’s not just about what’s in our pockets or our wallets, but about what’s in our heart. And I realized in so many ways that the world is focused on materialism, whereas Bhutan is focused on the opposite.
What’s the number one piece of advice you would give to people who are scared of traveling outside their comfort zone?
Read books that are written by people who have done the same thing – who have gone out and found a way out of their comfort zone. Doesn’t have to be this book, it can be any book. It’s one of the ways I got the desire to do it, by reading books and watching movies about people who had gone out there and lived. You watch these movies and read these books and you just think “Wow. If they can do it, I can do it”.
So just read these books and get inspired.
Any final comments for readers?
In the end, it’s just about finding your true path. I found my true path through traveling. But the greatest adventure isn’t out there, it’s in here, in your heart. You don’t have to be a traveler per se to travel – you can travel internally, and that’s the greatest journey.