Jake Cooley

Tampa, FL, USA

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  • Professional Balloon Artist, Tutor, Poet, Videographer, A...
  • Third-year Student at the New College of Florida
  • No hometown listed
  • Profile 65% complete

About Me


I am one of many people on Earth. I long to see the world and encounter every malady and pariah it has to offer. I find that we can often get too comfortable within our own microcosm, never venturing outward to explore that which is uncomfortable and foreign. Life is given meaning when we can find those with whom we relate and cherish; our friends, partners, and families are evolving, tangible creatures that give us something to live for-- if we can improve the lives of those we hold dear, we may begin to improve the world.

This is why I surf couches. Were it not for the endless allure of other continents and eclectic cities, I might have stayed home. Were it not for those I have met in my travels, those that have completely altered my life and given me hope and confidence for myself, I would not be the mind I am today. Couch surfing is invaluable and it is my goal to roam the Earth and prove (to whom, I do not know) that there is still something worth living for in this tattered, smoggy world.


I believe that I only have one go at this. I've got a single, beating heart, and a single, electrified brain. The Earth is home to 7 billion people and I've hardly stepped out of my comfort zone to meet nearly the proportion that I'd like to. I hope to put down the books and music and broaden my horizons, not vicariously through description and regaling, but in real life, as a wandering student caught up in the tide of wanderlust. Later in life, I hope to maintain an ascetic lifestyle, even if only for a set period of time, to humble my worldview and learn ultimate sustainability. I want to always seek the next sight or sound, the next conversation that will change my life, or the next person that will never leave my memory. I've already met so many amazing people through my work, for which I'm duly grateful, and I hope to continue the wonderment throughout my life.

Why I’m on Couchsurfing


In March 2013 I surfed couches in San Francisco, Portland, Olympia, and Seattle, making lifetime friends and memories along the way.
In Summer 2013 I roadtripped toured up and down the East Coast with MGF J. Freeman and surfed the couches of both his and my pals, as well as of total strangers (who soon became friends!).


Bohemian literature, music, and art; intellectual conversation; breathtaking sights and experiences; taking in all that the world has to cook up.

Music, Movies, and Books

Music: Koroush Yaghmaei, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Portishead, the Doors, Simon & Garfunkel, James Blake, Booker T. & the MGs, Os Mutantes, Pink Floyd, Toots and the Maytals, Tycho, Wu-Tang Clan

Movies: Virtually all Christopher Nolan, Historical Documentaries, Biopics, Quentin Tarantino (of course!), Antiquated VHS that find their way to an estate sale dollar bin

Books: All Kerouac and Ginsberg, Marcus Aurelius's Meditations, The Mezzanine (Nicholson Baker), Slaughterhouse-Five, A Clockwork Orange; Brave New World; and other dytopians, Shel Silverstein, Nietzsche, Carl Sagan

One Amazing Thing I’ve Done

Whirling and chanting like a dervish in the middle of a 150-person drum circle on Siesta Beach, Sarasota, Florida. Within that moment I felt more primal and more connected to every human being, hearing the drums beat deep within my soul and expressing my unity with the world through the twirling of my body and stomping of my feet.

Drinking a beerstein with my mother in Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA; Seattle is a lifelong dream destination of mine and I visited this summer to explore UW-Seattle. One afternoon we got lunch and watched the sun set from a third story window, enjoying the wharf and calm lighthouse. Serenity below, a calm marketplace, and the glistening water that exploded into a million fragments of light. Life was simple and Earth was a living, breathing lover.

Delivering a slam poem on hunger in front of an audience of 300 people for a church fundraiser. All voices stopped and the forks stopped clanking against the plates as I began my words, illustrating the havoc that starvation deals on the individual and a community. At the end of the poem, I invite the audience to count with me: every three seconds, from hunger a child dies. One, two, three-- uproarious applause and in that moment I was elevated, a poet that existed solely to impact this captive audience. My purpose was fulfilled and I went through the rest of the night completely elated.

Teach, Learn, Share

In terms of practical skills, I'm a hobbyist juggler, a professional balloon artist (and will gladly twist some shapes for you!), an experienced theatrical director, and a professional tutor of mathematics, literacy, and physical science.

At twenty years old, I have not lived on Earth very long. I have not encountered everything she has to offer, but I have seen my fair share of the United States. After touring up and down the East Coast via automobile and backpacking up the West Coast, after Stax Records in Memphis, cliff-diving into Lake Champlain, screaming improvisational songs in Charleston, and gathering around many a family campfire, I've seen just a small piece of what the world has to offer.
I've learned that, despite hardship and despite bitterness, people tend to unite, rather than divide, as a species. That we all have common loves: truth, music, stories, an honest smile to remind us that someone is listening.
Through my life I constantly try to foster an education in the ways of the world, and the works of its inhabitants.
When the time comes for my heart to stop beating and when the last synapse signs off, I hope to leave the world I've known as better off than when I landed on that twenty years ago.

Countries I’ve Visited

Bahamas, Mexico, United States

Countries I’ve Lived In

United States

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