Hello From A Stranger

is creating connections around the world to help people feel less alone.

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About Hello From A Stranger

What a vulnerable part of this journey. Thank you for sharing it in with me. It is always the hardest to ask for help. 

A little over a year ago, I went through a very dark breakup that left me very, very depressed. I spent a long time by myself, sulking in the despair that I was feeling... and it made it so much worse. So I started reaching out to tons of people on social media and texting but it didn't help at all. Even with people responding, it just felt... empty. It didn't make me feel less alone at all.

So I started trying to spend time with people and kept feeling like I had to compete with a cell phone. Every time a text message sound would go on, they would be distracted until they finished it. Even on phone calls, they would click over immediately, even if I was in the middle of a sentence.

I felt more and more alone and sank farther into a depression - and all I wanted was to have a genuine conversation.

I finally hit a wall and thought about suicide. But I just wanted to know more before I thought too much about that. One crazy afternoon, on a whim, I just looked at a map and came up with a crazy idea: I would go to every country I could and just walk up to strangers and say hello. And ask for their photograph. To see what that level of vulnerability would create. 

I am an introvert. I did not have much money at all to do this. But I had to do this to save myself.

This trip ended up changing my life in an incredible way. And changing many other lives that I was fortunate enough to meet along the way. I have now taken it to 19 different countries in the last 12 months and had over 1,000 portraits and conversations to go with it. Every person was a stranger before I asked for their picture. I was just learning as I was going. In the beginning, I was rejected by almost everybody I asked... But the more I kept doing it, I learned how to be more and more myself and stop being so scared. People read that vulnerability and trusted it - opening up to me in beautiful ways that I could have never expected. All within minutes of just saying hello.

In October, this was a TED talk that allowed it to reach a much wider audience. I started hearing from people in person of how it had helped them better communicate with people and feel less alone. Then, it was published twice in National Geographic, and reached a wider audience. I started getting notes and emails from people in new countries about how it had impacted them when they saw the photographs and read the stories.

Then it was shown on national TV on ABC's 'Right This Minute' and went viral on 'In The Now' on Facebook. And that's when everything started snowballing. I am now getting letters from Thailand,, Cuba, Jerusalem, Hong Kong... And countless other cities and countries. And the letters are saying the only things I ever dreamed of this doing - "Hearing you tell your journey helped me understand how to accept being myself and be closer to my 'x' (father, daughter, community, best friend, etc)." 

This project is starting to make a global impact on bringing people closer together. And getting people to reach out for help when they need it - and connect with the world all around them. I have been in tears many, many times at just hearing how it is helping people and it is my greatest desire to bring this to as big of an audience as possible. To help change the world for the better, while there is still so much time. 

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But I really need help.

I really, really do. I am doing all of this on my own and desperately need help from people with more experience, and that can take some of the work load off of me. At the current moment, it is too much and opportunity will be lost if I am not able to keep balance in my life.

With your support, we can change the world for the better and you have my solemn promise that my entire heart will be pooled into every second of this project.

I love you all. Thank you so very much.