Featured Ambassador: Jesse

Name: Jesse Allhands
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Interesting fact: He is fluent in German
Current Mission: “Some people wait for the adventure of a lifetime. I prefer to make my lifetime an adventure.”

Traveler, photographer, DJ, technology-whiz, camper, mountain biker, hiker, and musician. ‘Active’ doesn’t even begin to describe this fun, personable and talented guy. Along with his list of hobbies, Jesse commits what is left of his free time to planning Couchsurfing events and hosting surfers.

Upon graduating University in 2009, Jesse moved to Europe where he live in Germany and Austria, each for over a year, perfecting his German while teaching English. While in Europe, Jesse did a lot of traveling and Couchsurfing and fell in love with the life of a traveler. Now that he is back in Wisconsin, Jesse has made it his mission to return the favor by helping out as many travelers as possible.

Jesse in New Glarus with some Couchsurfers for a Couch Crash tour of “Swiss Wisconsin”

Why did you join Couchsurfing and what inspired you to start hosting?

I stumbled across Couchsurfing on the internet back in 2007 and I thought it was a really cool idea. I love to travel, meet people, and share thoughts and experiences. I signed up right away and started hosting whenever I could!

It seems like you have done a lot of traveling as well as hosting. Do you have any stories that stand out?

Travelling is my favorite thing to do, so I try to do it as often as I can! [There are] so many stories… But if I have to pick one, it would be the time my buddy and I biked around Lake Constance (Bodensee), visiting three countries in three days and staying with two different Couchsurfers along the way.

What advice do you have for new members to Couchsurfing?

I highly recommend new members check out a Couchsurfing event like a Couch Crash and talk to an experienced Couchsurfer there. It’s a great way to get connected with the community and learn about Couchsurfing without needing to host or surf right away.

Fill out your profile completely, send personalized couch requests, read people’s entire profiles, and read their reviews! When hosting or surfing, always make sure you fully explain your plans and your expectations.

A “farewell picnic” group picture at the 2013 Madison Couch Crash

How has Couchsurfing changed your perspective on life?

I’ll put it this way: It has positively influenced me in more ways than I can easily describe here.

Is there a Couchsurfer that stands out to you? Why?

Nicole G. from Chicago helped me learn more about Couchsurfing when I was really new. She also helped organize the very first Couch Crash in Madison, which is now in its 9th year! She’s one of the most dedicated Couchsurfers I know and luckily I still get to see her just about every year at the Madison Couch Crash!

What is your favorite memory from Couchsurfing?

It’s hard to pick a single one. One time I was travelling in Costa Rica with a friend of mine who was new to Couchsurfing and we were able to find a host last minute near Montezuma. We stayed with a Swedish family in a beautiful villa and exchanged stories about travelling, Couchsurfing, life, and living as an expat. They were some of the most kind, thoughtful, and generous hosts I’ve had.

Any parting words of wisdom?

Don’t wait for the adventure of a lifetime, make your lifetime an adventure!

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