Dear Dad, Thank You For Saving My Life

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

More Stories
I Burned 1,600 Calories in 4 Hours Without Even Trying.