10 Questions with a CS Ambassador: World Jason

Name: World Jason
City: Orlando, Florida, USA
Years on Couchsurfing: 1

Hey Jason! How did you first learn about Couchsurfing?
By reading Matt Kepnes book, “How to Travel the World on 50 Dollars a Day”.

Amazing. Glad to hear his book has been so inspirational! And what made you get involved?
I wanted to figure out how to travel the world for several years on a budget. I started reading all sorts of books, the author started talking about the couchsurfing app, and staying with people all over the world. I was blown away, and I knew immediately I had to be involved! I recognized that I could save money on travel, but even more than that, I saw this as an opportunity to make lifelong friends with people who are also passionate about travel. Now, I participate mainly by organizing events, helping new people get involved and surfing. Within a year my goal is to begin to travel the world. Right now my focus in the USA, but in 2021 I will start my international journey.

Incredible. Many people first get involved for surfing then discover that CS is so much more. What was your first CS experience like?
My first experience was as a surfer in Tampa. I met my host at the Tampa Riverwalk. We had a great conversation and we immediately found we had lots in common. She invited me to participate in a Zumba class down on the river, which I did. It was my first experience with Zumba! There were maybe 50 people there, and it was absolutely amazing. My host was from Europe and had moved to Tampa. She had been to almost a hundred countries! We talked for hours about what it is like to live and travel in various parts of the world. She explained how CS works and what makes a good host and surfer. And I still use many of her tips to this day.

Tamp

A great first experience is so important! Glad she was willing to explain the community to you and it has had such a big payoff! Why did you become an Ambassador?
Once I started getting to know members of this community, I realized I wanted to play a part in growing and helping this community. This is more than a group of people to me. This is my tribe. My family. I was spending a lot of time in Orlando and had met some amazing people during my travels there. I met one of the ambassadors and was invited to participate in planning the 2019 Orlando Couch Crash. The event was an amazing success, and I realized I wanted to play a larger role in helping to shape and grow this community. My goals as an Ambassador are to (a) help grow the community through setting up events (b) recruit new members who would be a great fit for CS (c) help new members become involved with the community (d) work on safety issues to ensure a positive CS experience for everyone involved

Sounds great! We love to hear that! What been one of your most amazing experiences on CS?
When I first visited Orlando I stayed with an amazing host who has since become a dear friend. She showed me how amazing Orlando really is, and removed many misconceptions I had about the city. I had almost decided to write off Orlando as just a city for tourists, but through my incredible host I was able to see the “real” Orlando that tourists never see. It was during this time with my host where I started to understand how incredible it is to stay with locals who know their cities.

Amazing! If you could host or surf with any famous person who would it be and why?
For celebrities who are dead, I think I’d love to travel with Mark Twain. He has a killer sense of humor and I appreciate that he is a realist. For living celebrities, I’d love to travel with Steve Cook. He is a fitness IG influencer, and the person who inspired me to get into bodybuilding. He just seems like a really cool and amazing guy.

Jason competing in a 2019 body building competition

I’m sure you’d have some killer workouts! What quote has inspired your travels?

TRAVEL IS FATAL TO PREJUDICE, BIGOTRY, AND NARROW MINDEDNESS, AND MANY OF OUR PEOPLE NEED IT SORELY ON THESE ACCOUNTS.

Mark Twain

Incredible quote! What’s a crazy thing that has happened to you while traveling?
One thing I’ve realized is that you can’t plan for everything. Things will happen. Travel teaches you to be flexible and to go with the flow. It also teaches you to rely on others, and to learn to be ok asking for help. Crazy things happen all the time when you are on the road. But that is where the magic is. The serendipity. Learning to allow and accept the random nature of life is what makes travel so amazing.

Very great point and perspective. What’s one thing you never go on a trip without?
My backpack! Seriously, I live out of this thing. It’s 28 litres and I’ve learned how to travel long term on very little. I am what you might consider an extreme minimalist. In order to travel with such limited space, one of my absolute necessities is to reduce space used by the items I bring with me. A key to this is a space saver bag for my clothing, which allows me to shrink down my clothing and make room for other items. Anything that saves space is always super useful, and I am constantly refining my packing to reduce the space I use.

A great backpack is definitely key to a great trip. Last question, what is one piece of advice you would give to a new Couchsurfer?
Go to events! Ideally a Couch Crash. Once you see the kinds of amazing people involved in this community, you will be hooked. Every day I learn more and more about travel from the amazing people I spend time with. Life is an adventure and is meant to be lived fully. Couchsurfing will help you do just that.

Orlando Couch Crash group pic!

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