I’ve always largely been against conformity and quickly learned in my twenties that I did not want to be a normal 9-5er.
I spent most of my early life in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and even went to college there. I was such a homebody that I never thought about attending school anywhere else. On top of all that, I wasn’t the most outgoing individual and was downright shy.
I started my first career job right out of college and soon realized this was not my path. At that point I knew a change was needed. I asked myself what was needed to be happy, and made this simple list to strive for:
- Sense of accomplishment
- Help others
- Have more fun
- Not sit in traffic half the day for no reason
Luckily my boring job soon had layoffs, and the reality of my self-imposed challenge was at hand!
Soon after, I received an email about a one-year business internship in London. This internship was precisely the catalyst I was looking for, and little did I know it would change my life forever.
In London I met Max, Jon, and a whole crew of like-minded adventurous peers. In one short year I went from not having a passport to stamping 18 different countries into that little book. I even attended the following festivals:
- Running of the Bulls
- Saint Patrick’s Day (Dublin)
- Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The travel bug was taking over my body. Next I trekked to Asia for a month and moved to Australia for a year. My life goals became more focused as my confidence grew:
- Teach people how to experience life to the fullest while on a budget
- Explain to people how couchsurfing, hitchhiking, adventure sports, etc. are safer than you think
- Help inspire others not to be afraid of trying new things
- Create smiles everywhere I go
When I returned back to the states in April 2013 I had planned to road-trip across America and write a book about my experiences. After many months of planning, my plans fell through. Fortunately for everyone I ended up reuniting with Max and Jon and the three of us went on a two-month cross country road-trip. And on this fateful road-trip I was introduced to Culture Shock and within a week Banana was born. The rest is history!
– Jesse Gleaton