Man on a Mission

UPDATED 05/02/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/02/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT

His divorce is moving ahead—and so is Brad Pitt. On April 15—after making a stop at the Beverly Hills home he used to share with the soon-to-be ex-Mrs. Pitt, Jennifer Aniston—he headed to LAX to begin some serious globe-hopping and even soul-searching. First stop: a few days in Morocco to do preliminary work on his next movie, Babel, a drama with Cate Blanchett. After that, Pitt will travel to Ethiopia and South Africa on his second humanitarian mission in six months.

Pitt has said he had no choice but to go back to Africa, especially now that he has a social-consciousness mentor in U2's Bono. Pitt is making his sojourn as a celebrity ambassador for DATA, the rock star's campaign to promote AIDS awareness and economic reform in Africa. After witnessing African poverty on his first trip last November, Pitt said at an April 7 press conference that "to walk away from it and turn my back makes me culpable." Not that he'll forget Hollywood—he'll play Jesse James in a movie filming later this year—but, at 41, he's looking beyond the camera. "People who get to be a certain age," says DATA cofounder Bobby Shriver. "start thinking about bigger things. I think he's probably at that time in his life."

As Pitt vowed April 7, "This is just a beginning for me."

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