“I never thought I was going to travel two or three years ago…it just came up to me…it was some sort of instinct saying ‘Let’s do it. Let’s go for it.'” – Ryoji Yoshimura
On this podcast episode of Edge of Comfort, I talk with Ryoji Yoshimura (@ryoji_o_yoshimura) while staying with him for a few days in Kitakyushu, Japan. Ryoji is a native from a countryside town called Tokushima, Japan. Since 2015, he has hosted over 40 travelers in his homes – people who are commonly called “couch surfers.”
Meeting travelers from all over the world, Ryoji felt inspired to see a bit of the world for himself. After trips to The Philippines and South Korea Ryoji decided to take a year off from school to travel. In order to do this, he first spent four months working in Australia. Once he had enough money he put these funds towards visiting places like the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, and Iran.
Ryoji has unique and fascinating experiences from couchsurfing in different countries and continuing to host travelers in his home. The lessons he learned throughout his gap year changed his perspectives and helped him develop a deeper understanding of who he is. Ryoji is finishing up his university studies in Kitakyushu now, which I think is a great testament to not put your dreams on hold.
Some of the things we discuss include:
- Experiences from couchsurfing: both hosting and being hosted.
- Hitchhiking around Taiwan
- Tools for learning a new language
- Developing a better understanding of yourself
- Realities of travel and why it isn’t always fun
- Global connections and relationships
Thank you for listening and enjoy!
Listen on iTunes.
Want to hear from more travelers?
- Lars Feste – Learn about Iceland, necessary conditions to see the Northern Lights, and the power of saying “No.”
- Theo Moon – Get inspired to follow your passions, live life to the fullest, and add “adventure sparks” into your routine.
3:40 – Ryoji’s experiences and reasons for hosting couchsurfers
5:45 – Couchsurfing explained
9:00 – Ryoji’s method for determining who to host to avoid nightmare situations
11:40 – Staying with a nudist
12:45 – Hitchhiking in Taiwan
15:45 – Finding a “grandpa” through couchsurfing
18:50 – Gap year and working in Australia
22:10 – Visiting Iran for two weeks
27:00 – Tools for learning new languages
32:30 – What a new visitor to Japan must do
36:30 – Visiting the United States for the first time
39:50 – Earthquakes and Typhoons in Japan
46:40 – One of the first things Ryoji does upon arriving in a new place
47:40 – New experiences
50:30 – Misconceptions of traveling
55:00 – Life changing effects of traveling
Check out Ryoji’s couchsurfing profile.