I was raised by a very strong mom, who always inspired me to get out there and make a difference. A few years ago, I went through a very difficult breakup and was really struggling with purpose and depression. I called you, and you told me to pull it together, work hard and get out there and keep trying.
So, I did. I decided to turn these difficult moments into a search for meaning, and I booked a ticket to Europe with a crazy idea: to say hello to strangers, ask for their photograph and then put the camera away to have a genuine conversation, hoping to inspire people to put their phones away and talk to one another again. I wanted to take one step toward the younger generation to make meaningful relationships in their life.
This is now one of the largest humanitarian projects in the world. I’ve been to 21 countries so far, sharing in the lives of thousands of strangers. My photographs have been published three times by National Geographic, I gave a TED talk, wrote a book, and we’ve just started filming a show about it. I get emails from people all over the world telling me this project saved their life at a time when they were ready to give up. But most of all, it saved my life also, and gave me a deep purpose that I will have for the rest of my existence. Thanks to my mom and you for motivating me to begin this and turn the difficult moments into purpose.
I Found a Purpose For My Life