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Kindness One: Finding a lifeline in Sarajevo

October 04, 2013|By Leon Logothetis
  • Edison, left, with world traveler Leon Logothetis.
Edison, left, with world traveler Leon Logothetis. (Greg Pappas )

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear"
-- Nelson Mandela

As I continue to travel across the world relying on the kindness of strangers -- launched from L.A. on Aug. 10 -- I have had the good fortune of spending time in some truly inspiring cities.

My latest stop saw me arrive in the capital of Bosnia Herzegovina from Zagreb, Croatia. A local described Sarajevo as the 'Jerusalem of the Balkans', and I soon felt why. There was an energy permeating through this city that cannot be explained adequately in words.

Of course Sarajevo will always be linked to the dreadful wars of the 1990s and especially the siege that strangled the city from 1992 to 1995. It is also the city where the spark that lighted the fuse of World War I happened.

It was here that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated along with his wife in June 1914. War began merely a month later.

I actually stood in the spot where the assassin fired his infamous bullets. Yet the highlight of my stay was meeting up with Edison, a former soldier in the Bosnian army. It was from Edison's house that the famous tunnel was built to bypass the siege of the city. It was 800 meters long and gave the inhabitants a lifeline against the siege.

Once he left the army and the war had ended he turned his family's house into a museum and he teaches people daily about what everybody went through. His story was one of valor, courage and redemption. I thank him for bringing me into his world and for making my visit to Sarajevo a memorable one.

As mentioned earlier, this Kindness One adventure is an around-the-world trip that is being funded by strangers I meet as I go. I am driving a 1978 Chang Jiang yellow motorcycle with a sidecar that's been refitted with a BMW 750cc engine. Along the way, strangers have paid for gas, shelter and food.

Click on a point to read more about Logothetis' journey. View larger map on

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