Wednesday, May 28, 2008

About Us

Our desire for this project is to share the beauty of going the extra mile for people.
This teaching is a little different because it does not just mean doing things for people you like or who can help you back, but even for those you don't like or even necessarily know. It doesn't require anything in return, either for the giver or for anyone else. It is simply a no obligation, free gift.

We will be video blogging the process of our 6,000 mile (10,000km) adventure around the US and hoping to capture on film those we meet who are going the extra mile.
We hope this will inspire others to go the extra mile also.

We will be travelling mostly via social hitch-hiking. This alone really tests the questions we have, as a lot of people are wary of picking up hitch hikers, never mind ones dressed as monks.
We also have been helping out & learning from homeless people along the way.

The video below will explain more of what we are doing:

“This will be our first footage, documenting people we've met so far going the extra mile.”
We hope to have it up the footage by 6/16/08
We have some awesome material to post and can't wait to share it :)

I have had many things inspire me but I have to mention that Oprah fanned my flames to go on this journey.
Oprah’s show “The Big Give” inspired me to Give Big. Philanthropy is my lifestyle. I have been always involved in various projects trying to help people in many ways. I liked Oprah’s idea of giving in a big way to others. So, I auditioned along with thousands of people who wanted to be a part of something big and make a real difference. The Oprah's team searched for 10 contestants, and I was in top 30. Although I did not make the final cut, it was a life-changing experience.

Learning more about Oprah’s philosophy of helping people and trying to make their lives better, and also meeting people who dedicated their lives to helping others, gave me a reason to stay up at night thinking about my own way of giving big. I realized that I just should keep doing what I love that is being persistent in continuing to do good work in the world. As Oprah Winfrey put it, “I don't think you ever stop giving. I really don't. I think it's an on-going process. And it's not just about being able to write a check. It's being able to touch somebody's life.”

Today the power of social media gives all of us a great opportunity to share the message of kindness encouraging people to do good for others. It is my hope that you will be touched and inspired too.

How did all this start? Well, Tim and I always wanted to live the monk life, but we just never got around to it because we always thought that if you were not having fun, then you were not doing it right. So, we came up with this idea that lets us live a monk life while having fun!

First off, I want to explain what the heck we are doing. We are trying to spread the message of "Going the extra mile" for people. This teaching is a little different because it does not just mean to do things for people that you like but even for people you do not like. Nor do you expect them to do anything in return for you or for someone else.

We are also trying to add a comic relief angle and an adventurous slant. We will be "social"* hitch hiking just under 6000 miles around the US (link to route) in hopes to create some serendipity moments as we come across strangers. Some stuff we do is fiction and some is non-fiction. Most of the acts of kindness are real unless it's extremely silly. Then, hopefully, you can tell.

We also will be doing our own acts of kindness. The challenge will start on June 4th at 12:00:00 a.m. from Mt. Shasta and will end on July 13th 2008 at 11:59:00 p.m. in NYC. Join us and go the extra mile with us!

Tim's bio:

I need to tell you about myself. I guess it's probably safer than getting someone else to tell you about me. I am from New Zealand. Though to tell the truth, at the age of 17, right after graduation, I left New Zealand to study abroad. This progressed to working with Australian kids, both running surf camps & working in a high school with 'behaviourally challenged' students. I travelled further abroad for a few years before returning to New Zealand to snow board, mountain climb, kayak & spend as much time in the beautiful nature as I could. I got certified to take people kayaking & mountaineering. It scares me to think that I have a piece of paper to say I'm responsible enough to take a group of peoples' lives into the dangers of the outdoors & guide them safely & with respect. Somehow I got drawn back to the behaviourally challenged & challenging kids & I am stoked to have escaped before they influenced me too much. (They're awesome kids though, truth be told. I'm old enough to be a dad, so maybe that paternal instinct is kicking in. Hmm. I'd rather not dwell on that right now.)

I love doing things that push the boundaries of the norm & of safety, discovering that the only thing keeping us from full, enriched life is a thin veil of fear.

I have worked with young people who others have deemed beyond the realms of help & have seen gold in those kids, shining bright. I’ve seen them do good things for others that would shock those who stopped believing in them, because they couldn’t control them.
I challenge the value system we use to judge people as good or bad.
I believe in the concept of travelling across the
USA, documenting people going the extra mile for others, because I believe that people on the whole, want to help other people, regardless of their financial state or social standing. I believe that people are more in touch with their humanity than the media gives them credit for.

So for me, this is an experiment, to see if what I believe & what I’ve experienced so far in life is real, or if I've just been lucky.

God is love.

I intend to find Him in the people of America over the next 40 days.

Here is Tim's application. Once I read it, I knew right away that I could train Tim to be a social monk.

Paul's (Abbot) bio:

I believe that Social Marketing has the power to make a positive and powerful change in our society (social marketing orignal difintion 1978). Social media is a great vehicle for social makreting if not the most powerful tool we have ever had in mordern history. After I saw what impact my video had, it struck a cord with me that I had found my nitch in life. The fact that a person who was living paycheck to paycheck could have an impact on a scale that I had with my "8 Wishes Project" lit a fire inside of me. I believe the solutions to issues as big as human trafficing, finding alternatives to crude oil, and the cure to cancer can all be reached with the help of social media.

On the lighter side of things, I'm known to spend 18 to 20 hours on the net a day. My heroes range from Jim Buckmater, the CEO of Craigslist, Stevo, Skip Yowell, Yvon Chouinard, Vinod Khosla, Martin Luther King (I have read almost everything published about him..ok, maybe not everything but a lot), C.S Lewis, Jesus and his 'disruptive' teachings, and people who are crazy enough to think they can make a differance. Also, I am always looking for people that do what they do because they love it and not just because it makes good money.

My favorite movies, to name a few, are Forrest Gump, Dumb and Dumber, Sweet Mud, Good Will Hunting, We are the Strange, short films like the Narrartor, and tons more, but I don't want to list too many. Sometimes I say something and don't even know if I'm joking or being serious. I take pride in that I have broke bread with bums and on other occasions kings. I have to say I learned more from the bums then I did from the privlaged. If anything else you want to know, just email me @

I did want to add that I was inspired to hitch hike first by “Kindness of Strangers” I read the book before I went on my bicycle tour around the perimeter of the USA. Recently these people also inspired me, Jacob Holdt link to, and David Choe
Jason Lankow


John Collett said...

We met you at Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park yesterday. God Bless you on your journey.

John Collett

SilentJay said...

Hey guys! SilentJay74 here from Social Blend. The crew at Social Blend have been tracking your progress and you get mentioned all the time! We are bringing up your recent visit to the Divx offices that I found out about in the Divx Newsletter. You guys keep on truckin!
It takes one ARK (Act of Random Kindness) to help change the world! Glad to see you guys building more than one ARK!

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,

You helped my sister, Wendy, today by changing her shredded tire. I just wanted to say "Thank You and God Bless". What an amazing journey you have embarked upon. Best wishes for a safe and successful trip.

Maynas Eric Chua said...

Keep up the good work Paul and Tim :)
You two are making a difference, a positive one :)

We are praying that QIK sponsors us!
. .