#P2P Vol. 1-10: What’s your story?
Have you ever met someone who truly inspired you? Have you ever been friends with someone who you can talk to for an hour, yet when that hour runs out you’re ready to take on the world? Have you ever known someone who has taken terrifying risks to chase their dreams — and accomplished more than they could have ever imagined in the process?
I have. These are the people that inspire me. These are the people whose stories should be shared with the world.
These are the people who inspired me to create #P2P, a blog series that chronicles influence, inspiration and fearlessness.
I’ve interviewed people with powerful stories of risk, change and pursuing their passions — some who are friends, some who are strangers, some who are personal idols. Follow these stories below, click the photos for more information and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with the latest #P2P profiles.
Timmy Moutrie gave up a full-time salary position in Michigan to work for hourly pay in Colorado — making not much higher than minimum wage. His decision fascinated me. I was always curious about what inspired him to give up a life so many people aspire to have only to live very fundamentally. In my first #P2P profile, he explained it to me:
“That whole attitude and mindset comes from losing my dad all of a sudden. I was never really the type of person who thought of life like that. For a while, I gave a sh*t I guess. I cared about a lot of things. After I lost my dad, I realized that these are things I don’t really need to give a sh*t about. That’s been the biggest driving force in my journey.”
Ciara McVey took the risk and made the ultimate move from Michigan to Los Angeles, California. Initially, her expectations were high and the reality of her move was somewhat disappointing. Homesick and terrified of what was in front of her, Ciara made the choice to not be defeated by her circumstances. Now working on the red carpet interviewing celebrities like Lea Michele, Ian Somerhalder and George Clooney, it looks like the risk was far worth the reward.
“It was a huge risk altogether, and I’ve had a few moments where I almost feel like I’m failing. But I’m so happy right now. This is probably the happiest I’ve ever been.”
Courtney Fraley is an animal activist with a love for travel. She spent the summer of 2013 completing internships in Africa. On one of the first nights of her experience, she and her team camped out in the wild — only to find themselves surrounded by hyenas. Despite the terror of her internships, she returned to the U.S. newly inspired to achieve her ultimate goals of making a difference for the animal kingdom.
“My first impression was like ‘Wow.’ I was over the moon! I’m thinking to myself that this is the best, most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my entire life. However, within a few days, I remember sitting in the bathroom bawling my eyes out because I didn’t know if I was going to make it. I wanted to go home. It was the worst.”
Jeff Wegner is an entrepreneur in Detroit, hoping to see the city that has inspired him inspire others. He’s right in the thick of things there, involved in the community, watching as people use the Spirit of Detroit as a driving force to repair the reputation and well-being of a place the world believes is down and out. He doesn’t believe Detroit’s story has ended; he believes it’s just beginning.
“Little pieces of the puzzle that show you people care. The dark days are over. You can’t stop the injustice, you can’t stop the tragedy. But the dark days are over, and Detroit is growing again.”
Krystal Penrose has been through a lot of ups and downs in her life, but she’s never let that affect her reserve. Instead, she’s used it as motivation to be sure that everything she does plays a role in her ultimate goal: the pursuit of personal happiness. Society’s rules be damned; Krystal is going to do what she wants — after living a life that left her so depressed that she attempted suicide, she knows the consequences of settling are far more terrifying than the risks she faces by pursuing her dreams.
“That’s why I don’t want to go a day without seeing something new, experiencing something new, finding meaning, achieving a goal. I feel like a day without a goal is a day wasted. Finally realizing who I am has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life and that’s why I like to share my message with people.”
Tifini Kamara and her friend Leah Castille have created a spirit initiative named Never Say Die — it’s a series of independent film projects to tell the story of Michiganders from all around the state. This project began when Tifini discovered that, despite her desire to leave the state, she was remarkably proud of the place she calls home. Now, it’s Tifini’s mission to work with Leah to combat the negativity that surrounds the city of Detroit, and Michigan as a whole — she’s challenging others to do the same.
“It’s something I ask people about all the time when I interview them for Detroit Lives. Everyone has their different opinion on what that is, but for me I think it’s all about this independence. It’s the spirit of the people around me that make up my passion.”
Au revoir, Spencer Bing! He’s left the U.S. for an indefinite trip to South America, where he’ll live among a new community to immerse himself in an exciting new culture. He’ll be volunteering his time to give back to the community, but he’ll be exploring as much of the continent as he can in the process. As an avid soccer fan, he hopes to attend the World Cup this year. He’s excited for the opportunity; who knows what he’ll find while he’s there? It’s the unknown that motivates Spencer, but it’s loss that encouraged him to take the leap — he can’t wait to dive right in.
“Realizing how finite life is in the last year especially, seeing how people have to react to situations like that and dealing with it myself — it’s a lot of loss. And the more I think about it, the more I want to go out and do this.”
“100 races. 52 weeks. 1 mission: $1 million to support the Alzheimer’s Association.” This is the mission of Brad Kloha, a man who is putting his body to the test all in the name of spreading awareness for Alzheimer’s disease — the devastating condition that claimed the life of both his grandmother and great-grandmother. Brad recalls the struggles his family has faced in dealing with the disease, the struggles he’s faced in running the many races he’s conquered thus far, and why he refuses to quit — despite the fact that his body has already begun to compound injury after injury as he gets closes in on the finish line of his inspiring initiative.
“I think of what the families are going through at this point, what people who are fighting this disease now are going through, what my own family battled through. I know any of the pain I feel, or any exhaustion I feel, pales in comparison. That’s all the motivation I need.”