May 24, 2017

Author Leon Logothetis brings “kindness” to Webster

The first time Leon Logothetis stepped foot on Webster University’s campus September 2015, he spoke about his impulsive journey–from being a rich stockbroker to giving it all up to travel the United States with only five dollars a day–depending solely on people’s kindness.

Logothetis spoke for a second time at Webster April 13 in Sunnen Lounge. This time, his adventures include a worldwide journey and a Netflix show called “The Kindness Diaries,” named after his first book about his travels around the world.

The twist of this show was that with every person that was kind to Logothetis, he would offer them money or other forms of gifts. He has offered to pay to build people’s homes, pay for their education and help fund lifesaving surgeries.

He said his travels helped save him at a time where he felt empty. And kindness is what made him feel whole again.  

“I was so unhappy living that way of life that I had no choice but to change,” Logothetis said. “Pain pushed me to change.”

He reached out to Webster University to stop by to speak about his second book “Live, Love, Explore” as part of his book tour. His second book is a memoir and a self-help book advising people how to discover living a full life.

Campus Activities Event Coordinator Lisa Camp said Logothetis was welcomed back on campus because his experiences could help Webster students with their travels as well.

“Since Webster has a good study abroad program, we thought his experiences would go well with that,” Camp said.

When it comes to traveling, Logothetis said the main lesson he can offer to students is following your intuition. He said he’s been put in dangerous situations that could have been avoided had he followed his intuition.

Logothetis also said that going out into the world can lead some overwhelming moments, but he learned valuable lessons from being in difficult situations. He said he would not suggest putting yourself in an overwhelming situation unless you can cope with it or learn something from it.

“Just be gentle with yourself,” he said. “You don’t want to put yourself in a dangerous situation.”

Webster student offers kindness

One member of the audience at Logothetis’ event was Egyptian graduate student Dina Sallam. She said he was fascinated by his experience and how courageous he was to leave his well-paying job to explore the world and how kindness was at the center of his journey.

Sallam never met Logothetis prior to this event, but she was so moved by his experience that when Logothetis mentioned that he’d like to visit Egypt in his upcoming travels, Sallam rose her hand and offered him her house in Egypt. She said that as a traveler, accommodation is a necessity and she wants to make it easy for him to continue doing what he does.

“I wanted to be part of this initiative and help him experience part of the Egyptian hospitality,” Sallam said.

Hearing about Logothetis’ life experience helped Sallam reflect on her own. After studying in the United States and coming across different people, cultures and places, she said she cannot imagine herself sitting behind a desk for a job.

“I want to work in an environment where I can travel and explore,” Sallam said. “I even changed my LinkedIn bio to include ‘looking for a job that includes travel and adventure,’ hopefully I can find one that suits me.”

Yet another act of kindness

During Logothetis’s talk, he pointed out to the postcards placed on every chair. He then challenged the audience members with some “homework.”

They were asked to partake in an act of kindness and fill out the postcard with a description of what they did. Once the postcards are filled out, participants mail the card back to Logothetis with the mailing address provided. For every postcard sent, Logothetis will donate a book to a child in need through First Book, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide disadvantaged children with new books.

At the event, Logothetis offered free copies of his books “Kindness Diaries” and “Live, Love, Explore.” After the event, student lined up to speak with Logothetis and receive an autograph in their copy of the book.

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