Return To Stranger is an ongoing personal gratitude experiment, born after a complete stranger, half a world away in India, willingly spent nearly a year of his life searching for a package of mine that had gone missing in the global postal system. Read the entire saga here. In March of 2016, when this stranger Kuldip finally found my package, I knew I wanted to figure out how to thank him in a special way. I decided to launch Return to Stranger, an experiment in gratuitous, blind giving.
Last summer, I convinced a dozen talented makers to help me craft unique, one-of-a-kind products out of many of the textile remnants that were in my now infamous parcel. These kind souls donated their time and energy to crafting beautiful objects that would eventually be part of an online auction. 100% of the proceeds from the auction went back to Kuldip, with the wish that he utilize these funds meaningfully within his community.
Additionally, this last winter I had the special honor of returning to India to finally meet this stranger, Kuldip, in person. Aside from simply enjoying spending time together in the same place, we worked on a few initial community projects with a small amount of the funds that were raised. We helped get women in a remote rural village better and safer footwear to work in, who spend their days chopping down prickly plants to make charcoal. We also started attempting to educate a few of the villages about reducing their plastic footprints by providing metal alternatives to plastic cups they were using to serve chai to guests with.
To follow this project as it continues to unfold,
visit us on Instagram: @ReturnToStranger