Passion projects seem to be all the craze. I understand why, too. They connect you to something you love and effortlessly ignite a fire in your belly. As moms, we all wear a thousand hats that keep us quite busy, and honestly, the thought of a new project may sound overwhelming. Actually, it may sound crazy stupid. For me, a passion project is an exception and there’s a cool project happening in Detroit that may inspire you to search within and embark on your very own journey.
Have you heard of Every Linear Mile? Tom Leeper is the man behind the mask and just won Best Local Website in HOUR magazine’s annual Best of Detroit edition. If you’re on Instagram, you may want to hop over there right now and check it out (@every_linear_mile). There, you’ll find pictures from around Detroit that showcase some pretty cool art not often seen. Tom is responsible for capturing this art through his lens. It’s his goal to ride every linear mile of Detroit, by bicycle, while taking photos and geo-tagging each piece of public art and/or graffiti. He told me that this project really began as nothing and it took the prodding of some close friends to really move it forward. Tom grew into the idea of being open to sharing it with others, knowing it will resonate with some and not with others…and that’s ok.
What I love about his passion project – besides the amazing artwork? I love that he discovered how to allow a simple interest blossom into an actual passion. Isn’t that awesome? What is it that you’re doing right now that is a simple interest? Is there room to grow that into a passion?
I’m also intrigued by how he has grown as a person during this adventure. In his words, “I have become more compassionate to the challenges of the city and the people who live in poverty there. You learn to really understand how hard it can be to stay positive and push forward when all of this decay and blight is around you.” In my opinion, that is the greatest reward of a passion project – self-awareness, eye-opening discoveries, and seeing things through others’ eyes.
I’ve started a bit of a passion project of my own: creating children’s books that nurture global givers, growers, and gigglers. By extension, I’m focused on raising my children as global citizens. A significant part of that is paying close attention to different cultures and having conversations about differences and similarities. So, of course, I asked Tom if he’s noticed different cultural influences in the art that he’s observed.
It’s no surprise that the answer was a resounding yes. From gang art consisting of tagging buildings with letters, symbols, and specific colors, to political art. From traditional African American art and Hispanic art, to large murals that are very culturally based, such as American Indian. And, sometimes, there’s unifying art emphasizing that we are all equal. Without Tom’s dedication to his passion and his willingness to share this with the world, I would have most likely missed most, if not all, of this in Detroit. Which leads to other benefits of passion projects: education and enlightenment.
What a Passion Project Teaches Your Child
As a mother, I was interested in exploring what a passion project teaches our children who are undoubtedly watching our every move. Without much needed explanation, this list came together pretty quickly.
- Investing in you is essential
- Nurturing your interests, hobbies, and passions is important
- Making time for what feeds your heart and soul is a priority
- Exploring out loud is encouraged
- Sharing what you love with others is a gift
- You have the power to enrich lives all around you
- There’s beauty in everything, everywhere, and it’s most likely waiting for you
Isn’t that what we all want to demonstrate for our children? I know I do! As Gretchen Rubin so eloquently said, “The days are long, but the years are short.” But, can’t we stretch are days even a bit longer to fit in what truly enriches our lives so that the years can accurately reflect a glimpse of our hearts.
To learn more about Tom Leeper and Every Linear Mile, check out his website at www.everylinearmile.com. You’ll see a ton of Detroit’s public art and a clear explanation of his why and his plans. Plus, he’s just pretty cool.
I’d love to connect over on Instagram: @xoKimberlyWyman