I discovered that this book existed a month or two ago when I read about it on the author’s twitter profile. I immediately had to request it from the library and began to read the book in all of my free moments. My review is going to be a bit of talking about the story and my personal experience in reading the book. First, I had a few commonalities with the author and I discovered this in the introduction. We both spent days in childhood on Greek islands (not the same one), we both work (past tense for him, worked) in our family business, and have both been on personal journeys to find more fulfillment in life and a sense of purpose. (His a literal journey, mine an internal journey.) These commonalities made me instantly feel a kinship with the author and made the story hit closer to home. I commend Leon for having the courage to make this journey.
The title is pretty self-explanatory but I’ll expand. This book is a series of tales and adventures that take us through Leon’s journey from New York City to the Los Angeles sign equipped with nothing but a five dollar a day allowance. He didn’t have a cellphone, a car, or a credit card. The journey forced him to connect with people and rely on the kindness and generosity of “strangers.” This is a book about human connection and how the journey to find oneself really and ultimately ends in the discovery that who we are is intrinsically connected to everyone else. This book brings to light some issues that I think are very prominent in American society and tells them in a very organic and unintentional way which is the beauty of this book. There wasn’t a political agenda or personal agenda to seek out certain people. He was at the mercy of whoever came his way for help and for conversation.
One of my favorite passages that sets an example of the fast paced disconnection of our society happened in a conversation Logo had with Gene Adams, “And all along the way, we have connected less and less; talked less and less. Now, we don’t talk at all. We don’t see the point. Now, the journeys are just about speed – getting someplace as fast as possible. Efficiency is the enemy of connection.” Gene was referring to the evolution of transportation and travel. In days past, people conversed during travel and they had more time to get to know one another. The majority of people I know nowadays are grateful when they sit next to someone on the bus or plane and their fellow passenger doesn’t talk to him. This conversation was a refreshing reminder that things have not always been this way.
The book is filled with tales of adventures and colorful characters. I’m not going to tell you about those because I want you to read for yourself but there are some very interesting encounters. There are also plenty of highlights of acts of kindness and complete strangers placing their trust and at times homes in the hands of Leon. He is helped by all ages and races. He is helped by humanity as a whole, not fragmented into racial or socioeconomic sectors. In our society I think things like race and socioeconomic class are major factors into dividing us as a people. There are perceptions that those who have more are more worthy or better than those who have less. I loved how his journey helped show a story of a humanity that highlighted the similarities instead of the differences. I’ve included some of my favorite passages and excerpts from the book to give you an idea of what the story is about in a nutshell.
p. 132 “Finding human connection in small ways is the only way to solve the bigger problems. I used to feel each man was an island. How wrong I was. We are not. In fact we are tethered to each oher with invisible bonds that no man or circumstance can break. Our ability to function successfully in the world depends on our ability to connect with each other. We are one.”
p. 230 “There was nothing I could not do, nothing we could not do if we learned to trust each other, nothing we could not change if we learned to ask each other for the strength we did not have alone, nothing that we need fear if we have each other.”
It gets better..
p. 231 “We’ve defined greatness as wealth, fame, power, influence. But true greatness is simply goodness. There is nothing more powerful, nothing more truly great, than helping a human being in a time of need. In our small acts we become great to one another. Each of us has the intrinsic potential to be immense.
Those excerpts are just a few gems from this book. There’s a fantastic paragraph at the end of the book that I so desperately want to share with you but I think it best if you all just pick it up and read it for yourselves. I laughed and I cried and was ever so grateful that Leon made this journey and wrote this book and that it enabled me to vicariously experience the journey. After reading the book I was reminded that it’s not the literal destination or the road that’s traveled but the steps along the way that are what shape the journey. I highly encourage you to read this book and if you do I’d love for you to post your thoughts and experiences in doing so in a comment below.
Enjoy! Let us walk the path that makes us happy where we’re guided by inspiration and see what wonders we may see and the people we may meet along the way. We must also remember that there are many definitions of ambition as well and that being kind and good is a worthwhile ambition.