In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to share with you a video tribute I made dedicated to my late father, Jay Yang.



My father passed away from cancer almost three years ago, and it was the hardest thing that I had ever had to go through. I was on a downward spiral – gaining almost 30 pounds, coming home from a job I hated, crying every single night in my closet alone and passing out from the migraines. On weekends, I’d drink in the afternoon to mask the pain. I had given up on my dreams. I lost hope in my future. All I wanted was to leave this world because it just seemed all too hard.


I started losing my hair from the stress – with my sister discovering a bald spot in the back of my head the size of a nickel. Within a month, I had discovered four more all around my head – and that was the moment I realized that my pain wasn’t just mental or emotional – it was also physical.


So I booked a one-way ticket to Iceland, and subsequent flights to Paris, London, Italy and Croatia – to backpack across Europe for the first time in my life. I decided to leave the endless cycle of materialism that my life had become – making more money, to spend more money, to live and sleep less. I sold 80% of my things, left my job, my apartment, my long-term relationship and took a lifesize cutout of my father around the world.


For My Father - Dad Travels the World - Photographer Jinna Yang


I came back to New York City to no apartment, no job, no money and I had no idea where I was going from there. So last year on Father’s Day, while crashing on my aunt’s couch, I published the photos of us in front of these international monuments in tribute to him. His story inspired millions of people around the world – and gave me the strength to leave everything behind and follow my dreams.


That was the beginning of the rest of my life.


It’s been an entire year since I left everything behind, and so much has changed.


I finally have my own apartment, have traveled throughout Sweden, Denmark, Morocco, Mexico, Iceland, France, Italy, Croatia, U.K., seen places that I had never seen, did things that scared me, found peace past my pain, and have somehow managed to pay my rent every single month by doing what I love.


And I know that even though he isn’t here with me in person, he saved me from that downward spiral – reminding me that life can be beautiful, that there is still good in this world – and that it is worth every bit of hurt, sweat and tears to follow your dreams and try to make the world a better place.


So for this Father’s Day, I wanted to thank my dad for saving my life with this tribute video.


I hope that this will inspire you to hug your dad and family, take a chance on yourself, against all odds, start your journey to healing, find peace past your pain and live with purpose.


I am just a regular girl, trying to find her place in the world – and sometimes it gets hard – I still cry sometimes because I miss him so much – I still feel alone some nights – and life is not easy, but it is beautiful. And I promise you that if I can leave everything to live the life of my dreams, so can you.


Thank you so much for reading.


With love,


P.S. You can view the original photo project here: I Left Everything To Travel The World For & With My Father

If you lost a loved one recently, I encourage you to read this post I wrote and read some of the comments from our community: 10 Things I Learned While Dealing With the Death of a Loved One

  • Melissa

    I watched your video. How sad that you lost your father to cancer. My father was murdered in May 2008, and the case in Humboldt County, California was never solved. We never got the chance to say “good-bye.” As the years go on, it doesn’t get any easier. The loss of a father is just something that one has to cope with over time. It’s especially hard on Father’s Day, a day you’re supposed to spend with your dad. My friend and her dad were going fishing for Father’s Day. They forgot how my dad died, and asked me what I was going to do with my dad for Father’s Day. Nothing… He is dead… They didn’t even invite me to go fishing with them. They didn’t want to hear me sob about my dad so they didn’t invite me… You get used to it. You learn to keep your chin up. You learn to be independent, and know that life is short, and that you must do all of the things that you want to do today. My mom was left a widow with 4 kids. If she could do it, your mom can do it too. Be strong. Just keep moving forward. Life is a cycle that goes on and on. You’re a part of your father, and through you he lives on. I’m sure if he were here to see you now, he would be so proud.

  • Alyssa

    Wow..I love this. Thanks for sharing so much of your journey. I have enjoyed reading your blog so much and look forward to reading more!

  • This is so sweet! Made me cry and made me so appreciative of all the people I have in my life. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story! <3

  • Alyssa M.

    This is such an amazing and heartbreakingly beautiful video, Jinna! It definitely made me cry. I lost my mom almost 2 years to the day and I still struggle with it on a daily basis. Like you, though, travel saved my life and I recently just got back from a 10-day solo trip around Alaska! I stumbled upon your blog as I was sitting in the airport waiting to board my flight back to San Francisco and it’s inspired me to continue traveling and to focus more on the experiences rather than the material things. I’m sure you hear this a lot, but I know your dad is looking down on you and is so proud of everything 🙂 Happy Father’s Day to him, girl <3 Thank you for all of the inspiration! xo, Alyssa

  • Niki

    I cried, then rejoiced with you. Thank you.

  • Your video is absolutely beautiful. I guarantee he looking down at you smiling and so proud. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    — Melody //

  • Karen

    He knows, Jinna, and I’m sure you’ve made him very proud. Your strength and life is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing such a personal and real story with the world.

  • Your story is incredibly personal and I am so thankful that you’re sharing it here. <3

  • Mo

    I made the mistake of reading this and your original story at my desk job at work. Holy water works. Your story is incredible & inspiring! Thanks so much Jinna for sharing! I’m currently in my last week at my current job and will be moving to another city to look for a way to support myself while living my dream/adventurous lifestyle out.

  • This is absolutely beautiful. And heart wrenching. I’m sobbing. Your story is so incredible and inspiring to many people. You’re such a strong person and I wish you all the best in the future, always & forever. Your father is proud of you, I’m sure. Thank you for sharing your story!

    hannie from HUEMORIST

  • Alfredo Ciano

    Maximum Emotion for This Post : I Remember My Father…

  • Queenie Lee

    Your father would be so proud of you! xx

  • Your video made me cry =( I’m sure he’ll be so proud of you.. Life has definitely toughen you in so many ways. Your life story will definitely help many others who’re struggling with life itself.

  • <3

  • interniek

    Very impressing video about/for your father!

  • Hey Jinna, I have started downsizing 2 months back 🙂 Personally felt that the “things” around me aren’t making me happy and is kinda burdening me in a way. The never ending chase of getting more luxury in my life is wearing me out! Now, I would spend money on experiences than items that I couldn’t take along with me as a I leave the world. Flying to a new country or going to “The Lion King’s” musical?! Yes please!

  • That was a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing it. Your Daddy would be proud.

  • <3 !

  • Kathie

    Love that you were able to do this. A cousin of mine sent me this…said she thought, “it would mean something to you…” it does. although I have lost my father in 2004 and step father in 2007…the most poignant loss was when my daughter died in Feb 2012 unexpectedly. Have not been able to dig up out of the sorrow and depression which seems to deepen as each day goes by. Your story is such a tribute to your father…and to you as a person as well. Needing to pull myself up by my bootstraps but have not figured out yet how to do it…feel numb to pretty much everything in life at this point.

  • Heartfelt and sincere. Thanks for sharing from such a personal space.

  • Marilyn

    Wow… Lying here crying as its like I’m speaking here. The exact same thoughts after losing my most treasured one … My father!! So so inspiring and makes me feel so much better knowing that I’m
    Not alone on this journey… You have been there too and have come through so strong, brave and wonderful. Amazing! Thank you so so much xxx

  • Hazel Weatherfield

    I lost my dad 6 months ago and I am in the middle of this. I thank you so much for writing this. Reading your blog felt, to me, like the moment that Robinson Crusoe sees the footprints in the sand and realises he is not alone. Finally someone understands. I have been struggling with this on my own for what feels like an eternity. This week my boss got angry at me, because – in spite of my coming to work every day and doing a great job in difficult circumstances – I didn’t have a smile on my face. And he found my being “down” an irritant. I hate my job. I hate being around people who are so insensitive. I just feel lost. And I know, every day, that being this sad is letting my father down. I don’t know what to do any more. But knowing that others have found a way through is a comfort, of sorts…

  • You are an inspiration, and trust me your Father is with you everywhere you go, and is so proud of you. I am a Father of three, my daughter is 24, and traveling the world as we speak. I love her and am so proud of her, just as you dad is. Keep living your dreams. I just started travel blogging at 56 years old and intend to live my dreams as well. I’d love to contribute.

  • Terri

    This is very beautiful! I’m sure that you’re Daddy is with you on every step of your amazing journey. Keep looking forward, life has so much for you ahead!