Keep the dream alive

Posted August 20

Incredibly, it has now been five years since I left full-time work to pursue 'The Human, Earth Project'. It was five years ago this week that I received my final paycheck. 

At the time, I imagined the project would unfold in a very predictable way. I'd spend six months in Asia, several months editing the footage we collected there, then return to regular work. The reality has turned out very differently. 

'Sisters For Sale' became something so much greater (and so much more time-consuming) than I'd ever imagined. It has grown to include a feature-length documentary, a podcast, and a book. Five years later, not only does it remain the focus of my life, it has also grown to include countless other passionate people from all over the world. 

My constant companion, for most of 'The Human, Earth Project', has been a hefty silver laptop. This is my digital playground where the documentary, and now the book, have first come to life. 

That silver laptop is now very much the worse for wear. There's a hairline crack running diagonally across the screen, and bits of tape which held the DVD drive cover in place, before I tore it off completely - but the laptop itself is still going strong. 

In the corner of the laptop, beside the keyboard, is a small sticker showing Don Quixote tilting at windmills. Quixote, a figure synonymous with madness, reminds me how mad this project all seemed at the beginning... 

... before there were thousands of people from 70+ countries on six continents following and supporting our work... 

... before it appeared on TV, in print, and was featured on major websites all around the world...

... before 100+ people had contributed their time and talents to pushing the project forward...

... before it was seen via TEDx, CNN, or VICE... 

... before we succeeded in bringing the global human trafficking crisis to the attention of millions... 

... before it hit the top positions on the front pages of Reddit and Imgur, became the subject of another documentary by a British production house, and inspired a brilliant novel by an award-winning crime writer... 

... before I'd been approached to write my story by one of the world's five major publishing houses... 

... before I succeeded in finding my kidnapped friends May and Pang in China...

... back when 'The Human, Earth Project' was just me, a laptop, and a burning desire to make this world a better place. 

We've come so far together in the past five years. I want to take a moment to thank you all for being part of this strange and wonderful journey. 

I used to make plans for my life beyond this project. I now make plans around it, because I've come to realise it won't be ending anytime soon. 

I can hardly wait to see where the next five years will take us. 

- Ben 

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