On August 26th of 2012 I set out on a year-long journey to find out what makes people happy. I left my home in southern California with my car, camera, and a few belongings to drive around America collecting insight from people I met along the way.
At age 13, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and given a 30% chance of survival. I immediately underwent intensive chemotherapy and spent the next three years of my life in and out of the hospital for treatments. I lost my appetite and 25 pounds, suffered a stroke and a collapsed lung, and had food pumped into my stomach through a nasal tube. In the end, however, I was luckier than most and have been in remission since 2001.
While I recovered physically from the disease, I continued to suffer psychologically. After stopping chemotherapy, I entered a period of severe depression and continued to struggle off-and-on for a few years until I finally made a concerted effort to get better. I took an interest in positive psychology and the study of happiness. I read articles and books that focused on happiness, optimism, well-being, and related topics in hopes of achieving greater happiness in my life.
Now at age 26 my interest developed into a desire to not only better understand my own happiness, but to inspire happiness in the lives of others as well. I've dreamed of making this documentary for several years, and feel privileged and grateful to finally be making it happen. I hope making this film will allow me to explore what makes me happy and gives me purpose, and encourage those who watch it to find what true happiness means for them.