Vagabonding Case Study: Jason Jones

Jason Jones Helsinki_Island(1)

Age: 29

Hometown: Sarasota, FL – USA

Quote: “If it weren’t for the last minute, a lot of things wouldn’t get done.” -Michael S. Traylor

How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful before and during the trip?
I found you on Facebook, and I have really enjoyed reading the interviews with other travelers. I am so happy to have the opportunity to be one of the Case Studies!

How long were you on the road?
 I am still currently traveling. I left the United States, where I am from, in April of 2013. I am just following my heart, and my heart is telling me to keep going!

Where did you go?
 Since leaving 20 months ago I have backpacked through Central America in this order (El Salvador – Guatemala – Honduras – Nicaragua – Costa Rica – Panama – Mexico) Then I flew to Asia where I stayed for 15 months visiting the following countries in this order (Japan – Malaysia – Thailand – Singapore – Hong Kong – Laos – Cambodia – The Philippines). Then I traveled to Europe (Sweden – Finland – Estonia – Hungary – Italy). And that is where I am right now…Rome, Italy. Next month I will move to Spain!

What was your job or source of travel funding for this journey?
I am a freelancer in the field of Information Securty (InfoSec). I help companies when their websites get hacked.

Did you work or volunteer on the road?
 I have only been working since I started traveling. I just haven’t been able to afford to stop working and start volunteering… yet. Before I left for this trip, I spent a year in AmeriCorps as a full time volunteer for a Literacy Council in Florida that helped teach illiterate adults to read and write for free. Most of our students were immigrants, and working with them sparked a curiosity in me to actually go and see where they came from. Now I am doing just that.

Of all the places you visited, which was your favorite?
Tuusula, Finland holds a special place in my heart. When I was 16 I did an exchange program through Rotary International (ROTEX), and I lived in Tuusula. It was my first time leaving the US, and the experience changed me into a fiercely independent person. Traveling the world alone seems more natural than an act of courage to me.

I was fortunate to return to Tuusula, Finland and stay with my exchange-sister last month. It had been 12 years since I had last seen my exchange family. It was just amazing, and I cannot wait to return.

Was there a place that was your least favorite, or most disappointing, or most challenging?
Managua, Nicaragua was a challenge. It was insanely hot when I was there, and my hotel gave away my room when the bus from San Salvador was 6 hours late arriving. I had to find accommodation in the middle of the night with my bags and a shady cab driver… It was a disaster, and I ended up in a roach infested sauna of a place for the night. I had to pull my bed away from the wall into the middle of the room and make sure none of the bedding was touching the ground. Then I slept with headphones on to keep the bugs out of my ears…

Which travel gear proved most useful?  Least useful?
Most useful: A very small backpack. I found a little backpack that is about half the size of a school one, and I use this thing nearly every day. It is so much better than an over the shoulder bag or tote because those move all over the place, they interfere with your arm movement, they unevenly apply pressure to one side of your neck, they swing around from back to front when you bend over, etc. The school-sized backpacks can get hot and heavy to carry around for many hours, but this little one weighs absolutely nothing. I can carry it all day walking and not even notice.

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle?
The rewards are very personal for me. They are a sense of peace that comes with being true to myself, a feeling of freedom to pursue whatever I want, when I want it– and knowing that if I died tomorrow I would not regret how I lived my life.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle?
Love life is really difficult on the road. Also, going 2 years without seeing your family and friends is hard. But that’s why I am returning to Florida for 3 weeks during Christmas.

What lessons did you learn on the road?
Lesson 1: The world is small. Vagabonding means you can travel anywhere in the entire world that you want with very little notice. In a way, you almost feel like Earth is just a big city. Countries are just neighborhoods and airplanes represent the metro system.

Lesson 2: If Earth is just a city… it’s absolutely HUGE. I will never be able to visit every little village. Every time I visit one city I learn about 10 more that are close by that I also want to see.

How did your personal definition of “vagabonding” develop over the course of the trip?
Vagabonding (to me) is just living in the moment and living where you are. Not having a “permanent residence” is what it is all about. “Permanent” is a fantasy and an anchor. Nothing endures, so why not just let yourself go with the current.

If there was one thing you could have told yourself before the trip, what would it be?
Don’t spend so much money in the first few months. Learn to live on a budget quickly instead of waiting to be broke before actually scaling back. I would also tell myself to just do exactly what I was doing. I have no regrets.

Any advice or tips for someone hoping to embark on a similar adventure?
Listen to your hopes!!! Screw everything else around you, and look inside yourself for what you feel will bring you happiness and peace. Be open to the fact that this will change and when it does change, don’t fight it… change with it. Let your heart make the decisions. Use your brain to figure out how to pay for it.

When and where do you think you’ll take your next long-term journey?
This is my lifestyle now, and I have no plans on stopping until my heart tells me it is time to stop.


Read more about Jason on his blog, Hiatus 4 Life , or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Website: Hiatus 4 Life Twitter: @hiatus4life

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Posted by | Comments Off on Vagabonding Case Study: Jason Jones  | December 5, 2014
Category: Vagabonding Case Studies

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