I’m Johnny C, and I’m a vagabond. Armed with a camera and my wits, I travel the world with the simple intent of putting forth more love and kindness out there, because “not being a bad guy” isn’t enough; I have to actively do good wherever I go. From donating blood to the children’s hospital in Siem Reap, Cambodia; helping out war widows in Sri Lanka, and connecting people in America and Indonesia, I have made it a point to make a difference, big or small, to be an agent of good, and let people know there are people who truly want this world to be better.
In 2012, I dropped out of grad school and traded my textbooks for a camera, and have spent my time writing, making videos, taking pictures, and teaching people the simple life hacks I know to be happier, healthier, or achieve more with greater efficiency while putting in only the minimum (or less) effort.
Between college and graduate school, I spent a few years traveling and trying out different jobs here and there, and the skills I find most valuable to me come from my background as an actor and a paralegal, my writing for both journalism and fiction (Hunter S. Thompson being one figure I admire greatly), life hacking (which is finding simple shortcuts to make a big difference, whether in the realms of health, work productivity, or saving the world), and the sensitivity and appreciation for cultures (ethnic, national, religious, gender, and more) that allows me to get along well with people and find happiness no matter where I am and who I’m with.
I’ve had an interesting life, to say the least. By some definitions, I’m a Third Culture Kid, or as it’s more popularly known, a Global Nomad. I was born in Northern California and spent most of my life traveling, growing up in Hong Kong and Manila, then living in New England, Los Angeles, and now San Diego. The third culture isn’t an accumulation of different places you’ve lived in–it’s movement between cultures. Even if I grew up going back and forth between Manila and Hong Kong, it doesn’t mean I’m only bi-cultural–being bi-cultural is one of the many types of third culture, which is to say third culture is the movement between cultures. A person in an airport on the go constantly, of another ethnicity, another religion, another age, is someone I would get along with better than someone who had my ethnicity, religion and age because we understand that what people see and where we get categorized isn’t an accurate reflection of how we define ourselves. Like my close friend Erin: ethnically, a Filipina, born in Korea, raised in the Caribbean, and educated in the United States doesn’t know what to answer when they ask her where she’s from. So whenever people ask me “Where are you from?” I have a hard time knowing how to answer that.
However, my love for travel and appreciation for other cultures comes from my upbringing. I’m not focused on who I am or where I came from, what happened to me or what I don’t have; I’m focused on making the most of what I do have and my potential to move forward, see more of the world, and make a difference, both globally and locally.
But it’s not about being a bandwagon-jumping activist trying to look “cool” and grab attention from saying “I was part of the Occupy movement!”, it’s the little things that change the world. A person doesn’t need to have an MBA, a JD, or PhD; win the Nobel Peace Prize; or start a revolution to topple a dictator to make a difference. If you can make one person smile, remind him or her that there is hope, or show someone that they are more important than they realize, that’s being a hero and saving the world. If you can volunteer at a soup kitchen, beach clean-up, or tutor immigrants in English to help them pass their citizenship exam, you’re making an even bigger difference. If you can pass on a message to tell people of the stories of others around the world, and how they can make a difference with the click of a button to donate money through Kiva or to send a few letters on their behalf with Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, you are making a difference.
A dream I have is to be able to travel and meet people, hear their stories, share them through my writing, photography, and film, and bring people together to help each other. Whether it’s the Hollywood movies, pop music in a karaoke room, or classic literature that brings everyone worldwide together to have dreams and relate, we all have stories to share and more in common than we think. I hope to have short films and documentaries, write stories, and take pictures of my adventures so that I’m not just sharing other people’s stories with everyone else–it becomes my story as well.
If you want to know more, check out the “about me” on my personal blog.