From Bondi Beach to the slums of Columbia


From Bondi Beach to the slums of Columbia
We all dream about selling all our belongings, and travelling the world. But for these two humanitarian adventurers, it became a reality.ll

We all dream about it: selling all our belongings, packing a bag and travelling the world for months at a time. For two entrepreneurial adventurers, that dream became a reality when they said goodbye to beachside living and left to travel the world for 3 years.

Meet Serena and Johnny: an international couple from Bondi. He’s from Ireland, she’s from NZ and they met and got married in four months. Three years later, they sold all their belongings to travel the world so they could collect inspiring stories.

John Leonard says:

“If you told me two years ago that I would be travelling the world making documentaries and filming video reviews, I would have said “you are crazy! But, that is now what I do – it just goes to show that if you want to do something in life, no matter what or when, you can “

This three-year stint has never been about ticking things off a list, or seeing as many sunrises as possible. Serena and Johnny have dedicated three years of their life to uncovering and sharing the inspiring stories of every day people doing extraordinary things.

In a project they have named five point five, inspired by Narayanan Krishnan, an Indian man who quit his job to care for the destitute and mentally ill on the streets of India. He says “everybody has 5.5 litres of blood making everyone the same” the couple have launched a website going by the same name, as a platform for the short documentaries they film whilst on the move.

With two main goals, five point five aims to inspire others to do good by sharing their stories.  Secondly, five point five offers advice, stories, blogs and tips for travelling the world to anyone who wants to travel from their armchairs or get out there and explore.

After 15 months on this adventure, Serena and Johnny have plenty of moving, inspiring and tragic stories under their belts.

Serena describes documentary #1

“Our first mini doco was filmed in Colombia, we had found an interesting project online called Fundacion Mariposas Amarillas (yellow butterflies) which was run by Oscar Cortes Pomeo.

He was a street kid from the age of 10. When he was 17 got a second chance to get an education and learn to live a normal life.  As an adult he has set up two schools in the slums in a town called Santa Marta, so that is where we went.

Over the next few weeks we got to know and love the kids and really feel for their situation. Many of them don’t have shoes and the roads are a dump of mud and rubbish. When it rains (many times a week) all the roads flood. There are no jobs here and many adults use drugs and alcohol to deal with their lives.

One moment that brought me to tears was when I heard that one gorgeous and super bright boy had a huge number of older siblings, many of who were already heavily into drugs. His mother had issues, he didn’t know his father and basically, life would probably only go one way for him – the future for these keen, bright kids is dim unless they get an education and are strong enough to escape the cycle despite their parents.”

Serena and Johnny will finish Latin America, then move on to Asia and Africa, with breaks in Australasia and Europe.

Watch below.


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