On March 28, 2013, exactly one year after Josie was to enter the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah to serve a conventional mission for her church but was unable, Josie left on her own kind of “mission”. She planned on proving her 3 point thesis by interviewing people from all walks of life, asking about their stories of hope and life experiences.
Josie traveled alone all over the country in her ’98 Saturn mostly just living out of her car and sleeping in her trunk. All the while trying to prove to the world that there are still good people everywhere and everyone has a reason to have hope and live life. In addition to occasional couch surfing, she would stay the nights at truck stops, Denney’s parking lots or McDonald’s parking lots. She would stay anywhere she could get free use of a bathroom and the internet. At one point she was stuck at a McDonald’s parking lot. She just couldn’t leave because the darkness of her depression and the tremendous homesickness was almost more than she could bear. Finally, after three days, the manager came out and asked her to leave. On Sundays she would always find a church congregation and meet people and usually end up with 2-3 dinner invitations by the time church was over. Then she would sometimes also be able to shower at these gracious stranger’s homes. SCORE!
From New Orleans to the sandy beaches of Florida to New York’s Central Park to honky tonk music of Nashville to the beautiful countryside of Wyoming, she interviewed and videotaped 444 perfect strangers and got to know them and their story. At the end of every interview she asked the same question: “What gets you out of bed each day?” Meaning, what do you live for? She ended each interview with this question because SHE herself has a hard time getting out of bed every single day and has to remind herself daily of all the blessings that she too has to live for.
In July of 2013, after being on the road for 100 days, she returned home to the loving embrace of her family. She was SO GLAD to be home! While the project afforded her some tremendous experiences, it was extremely difficult given her state of mind. Eventually she started speaking publicly and sharing some of these wonderful yet trying experiences with others. She has now become a very popular motivational speaker and speaks to high school students, college groups and church congregations all over the country. She is real. She is relatable. Those who follow her are able to experience in real-time, her highs and her lows as they endure together.
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