“I’m a member of the Taliban,” he said, as if it were like telling me he was an accountant.’
When I told people I was going to Sri Lanka and Dubai, no one seemed to blink, but when I decided to add a week in Afghanistan onto the end of my trip, people began looking at me like I was mad.
As someone who travels the world in search of stories that can inspire people to find and pursue what makes them smile, I guess my decision just didn’t seem make sense to many.
“Why put yourself at such risk? The way you travel, with all that camera equipment, it’s suicide. What can you possibly learn about happiness in such a place?” people said.
While declining security had made it ‘the most deadly country on Earth for foreigners in 2014’, something was calling me to Afghanistan, and as a journalist and filmmaker who had forged a beautiful life and career out of following my heart no matter what, I wasn’t going to die wondering.
“If the world wanted me dead, it would find an easier way,” I’d tell people. Plus I knew the universe was sending me there for some reason, and I was about to find out why.
Check out some of the incredible work of Mike and A Million Smiles below (courtesy of Channel 9):
It was 60 degrees Celsius and I had spent all day photographing in the desert, so when I couldn’t find a taxi and a man in an ‘uber-like’ car pulled up and asked me if I needed a lift, I said sure.