The Yellow Envelope Project ~

It’s just a little yellow envelope, maybe 2″ x 3″ with a little red heart sticker to seal the deal.  But, the message inside…

A Note Tucked Inside

When my little yellow envelope arrived in the mail, tucked inside was a note:

“A friend once gave me a yellow envelope with a gift inside and asked me to pay it forward.  Now, you’re receiving one.  Please do something kind with this envelope.  Write a note to someone you love, tuck a sticker inside and give it to a child, mail a donation to an organization you support – whatever you want.  The only rule is to use this envelope as a vehicle for kindness.  Please accept this small gift and pay it forward.”

Just a little yellow envelope with a red heart sticker to seal the deal.

Just a little yellow envelope with a red heart sticker to seal the deal.

A Gift That Would Give Voice

I’ve known Kim for a number of years, pretty much from the onset of her path to redefining life as she knew it.  Kim and her husband, Brian, sold it all, packed a couple of packs and set off to travel the world for 1 year, which turned in to 3 years – or was it 4?  It was the journey of a lifetime.  Just before they left their hometown of Portland, OR, a dear friend handed them a yellow envelope.  It was a gift that would change the course of their lives, a gift that would lead Kim toward a path she had only dreamed of.  In that yellow envelope was a gift to pay forward as they traveled the world and it was a gift that would give voice to Kim’s words and heart.

I have a great deal of admiration for Kim.  Although we are a generation apart, we have formed a friendship over the years. We’ve continued to support and cheer each other onward, encouraging each other as we each walked our Camino journeys and now I get to watch her define her path as a mother, adventurer, writer…  She’s a busy woman.

Kim, Brian and their baby girl, Juniper. And, behind them is 'Ol Sweetie. I think there's a story there.

Kim, Brian and their baby girl, Juniper. And, behind them is ‘Ol Sweetie. I think there’s a story there.

Just a Little Yellow Envelope

When I received my yellow envelope, in the mail, I thought I knew exactly what I was going to do.  But, I decided instead to just let that little yellow envelope sit on my desk for a few days while I gave it more thought.  I decided I didn’t want to rush right out and give it away.  I had to heed the words of the message tucked inside.

There it sat, for days, staring at me as if to say, “So what ARE you going to do with me?”  And, then it hit me.  I would keep it.  That’s right.  I’m keeping it.  I’ve folded it in half and I’ve tucked it inside my little purple wallet.

My little yellow envelope tucked inside my little purple wallet.

My little yellow envelope tucked inside my little purple wallet.

Every time I open my wallet I will see my little yellow envelope and it will remind me – and inspire me – to pay it forward in some fashion.  I will make more of an effort to hand a few dollars to the man we often see standing on the highway ramp, or make a donation to a charitable organization that stands up against intolerance, or buy a cup of coffee for someone just because I can, or even just smile at that cranky person and wish them a good day.

A few weeks ago, we drove through McDonald’s (don’t judge) for Egg McMuffins.  As we drove up to the first window, we learned the man in the car in front of us had paid for our order.  In turn, we paid for the woman in the car behind us. The power to pay it forward is within all of us and that’s Kim’s message.  And, it’s my message to you.

The Yellow Envelope Project

But you don’t have to take my word for it.  Read the story of the original yellow envelope and I dare you not to be inspired.  And that’s what Kim is doing today; inspiring others and paying it forward. She has launched The Yellow Envelope Project and she’s asking each of us to do our part in spreading good and kindness at a time when so many are in such need of compassion.

If you would like your very own little yellow envelope to arrive in the mail, please contact Kim.  Or, you can simply leave a comment below that you would like an envelope and I will privately pass along your name and email address to Kim.

kim.somanyplaces@gmail.com

Paying it forward one yellow envelope at a time.

Paying it forward one yellow envelope at a time.

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22 Responses to The Yellow Envelope Project ~

  • Thanks for sharing about the project, Patti!

  • This is so cool. And I know the founder of Sourcebooks.
    Kim must be one heck of a great person.

  • What a great story. I will try to live up to it even without a yellow envelope in my wallet. Thanks for sharing.

  • I’ve sent my email to Kim requesting a yellow envelope although like you, I will use it as a reminder to be as kind and generous as I can every day. Maybe the silver lining of the election is that some of us will become more attentive to our best impulses to try to counteract the bad stuff our president elect has released into the world.

  • I’ve always believed in paying it forward and have tried to do so whenever possible. I truly believe that “what goes around comes around,” both negatively and positively. I love that this project makes the same idea more visible through such as simple vehicle as a yellow envelope.

  • Very cool! I try to live by the way of paying it forward, as I’ve had much kindness in my life. But the yellow envelope is a cool idea for people who need a bit of a nudge. And I can think of a few …
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…exploring MontreuxMy Profile

  • Perfect! A reminder to keep paying it forward with kindness…well done Patti! I would have loved my own yellow envelope, but there is (quite literally) no mail in Guatemala right now (a long story). So I will just keep trying to pay it forward sans envelope.
    Rhonda recently posted…A Tale of Four BordersMy Profile

  • This is such a great project and I love the concept behind it. I’ve been following Kim’s journey for a long time too and I’m also so inspired by what she has achieved and equally, the path that you and Abi have defined for yourself. It’s so great to have this blogging world! I love the egg McMuffin story, I just cannot imagine that happening back in the UK!
    Amy recently posted…Minimalism and Travel, why less is moreMy Profile

    • Thank you, Amy. Kim is indeed very inspiring and hopefully, her yellow envelope project will spread kindness and compassion.

  • Your post and Kim’s story (so lovely I made a new category on my Pinterest called “Inspiration” so I can reread it) almost made me cry as it’s such a powerful antidote of positive gestures and kindness to counteract the noxious and hateful behavior that we keep reading about. We’re a bit far away here in Portugal for an envelope but I’m going to find something yellow to put in my wallet to remind me to keep on the lookout for opportunities to pay it forward. P.S. And should you and Abi find yourselves on our doorstep you’d be more than welcome! 🙂
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go recently posted…Part 1- Figuring It Out Along the way – Life in PortugalMy Profile

    • Thank you, Anita, you just might find us on your doorstep! I’m finding little gestures of paying it forward are easy to find if I pay attention. Two days ago I ran in to the $1 and I noticed a woman sitting on the cold cement huddled up against a brick wall with a cup in her hand. Once I paid for my purchase, instead of putting my change back into my wallet, I put it into her cup. And, instead of trying to sell a set of holiday dishes, I donated them to our local Habitat for Humanity Store. Little gestures to us, but they go a long way.

  • I’ve emailed Kim for an envelope & thanks for sharing this beautiful project. One Road At A Time & So Many Places are 2 of my favorite blogs. I feel as if I’m listening to good friends when I read your posts….it came as no surprise to find out you know one another! 🙂
    sheiladearden recently posted…Learning to Re-Connect in a Divided WorldMy Profile

  • Ive recently emailed kim for a yellow envelope and it arrived today…i have always done my best to pay it forward as much as possible with what little i have and find so much gratification from it. It gives peace to my soul. Thank you both so much for offering your words of inspiration. I look forward to reading more and will continue to look for PAF opportunitie!!!

    • I’m so glad, Noxy! Kim and I finally met in person this year – after way too many years – and it was wonderful to hug her. Thank you for leaving such a kind comment and thank you for helping to pay it forward.

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We are Patti and Abi. We retired early to live a simpler life, travel the world and hopefully, inspire others to redefine retirement.

 

3 years, 70 days ago!

 

 

 

 

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