Stephen Ashton

Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

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  • Fluent in English; learning French, Japanese, Spanish, Welsh
  • 25, Male
  • Member since 2013
  • Student. Traveller. Adventurer.
  • An MSc from Sussex and an MMath from Warwick, preceded by...
  • From United Kingdom
  • Profile 100% complete

About Me


Travelling the USA by rail over 3 months.


I'm a Brit who is currently studying for an MSc at the University of Sussex.

I've had quite an 'international life', all without really moving much - I attended Sixth Form (the two years before I started at university) at an international school in a 12th century castle that had the motto 'UWC makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future', a statement I fully agree with.

Most of my childhood family holidays were spent in the USA, but as I grew older, we started looking to the Far East. I've also spent a month or so travelling around China with some friends as well as volunteering as a mathematics teacher in South Africa and Tanzania over two of my summer breaks from university.

As a result of this, I have picked up a genuine fascination with other cultures and am highly respectful of different customs and traditions. I've also managed to fill out an entire 'vaccination passport', a mildly interesting achievement that means I can now pretty much go anywhere or do anything in the world without requiring any more jabs!

I'm fairly independent and despite a few knocks, I carry on with a 'can-do' attitude.

If you're looking for negatives, I've suffered from a few self-esteem issues in the past and might be a little quiet at times, but once I do get into a good conversation, you will find me hard to stop!


"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away."

Why I’m on Couchsurfing


I've done a lot more surfing than hosting - mainly because cramped and shared student accommodation makes offering up a couch a little tricky!

When I eventually settle down/get my own place, I'll definitely be up for hosting people and (depending on where I end up) will be on board for local meet-ups!


I've spent three months travelling around North America, staying either with awesome Couchsurfing hosts or in hostels the whole time!


I'm a decent amateur photographer (I've even had a photo featured on one of the National Geographic websites!) and have had training in film (I prefer directing and making graphic sequences as they allow me to release my creative side somewhat more, although the mathematician in me loves to make the patterns and movements with numeric precision!)

I've also tried my hand at writing in the past - mainly travel/personal blogs, the odd article and a little fiction - although I tend to dislike my own style and over critique it.

I'm pretty decent at the piano, even if I haven't spent much time on it in the last couple of years, although based on the examinations I've taken, my real skills lie in music theory.

My university degree was in mathematics which, although there were several modules I didn't enjoy and the end result wasn't really what I wanted, I still am glad I did as it means that my inner geek can read information from a broad range of disciplines and still have a good idea of what is going on. Mathematically, I'm a decent graph theorist and knot theorist, although I maintain a mild interest in cryptology.

Sports-wise, I'm really into alpine skiing (I managed to shakily make my way down a 'managed off-piste slope' last time I went and can handle most piste-ed sloped without major issue) and SCUBA diving (I'm managed to get some time with Manta Rays in the Maldives, almost punched a shark in Thailand and have also dived off the coast of Zanzibar, although on the flip-side, I had to complete some of my training in the middle of winter in Wales!). I've started to try out surfing, although I still haven't found anyone who can get me past the 'knees on the board stage'!

Music, Movies, and Books

Music: I have a very eclectic taste in music - one minute I can be listening to something quite indie (or even unknown) and the next minute I can be listening to cheesy 90s pop or a full orchestral piece. Basically, if it's got a good tune, I'll give it a whirl!

Movies: Like with my music, I don't have a very specific genre I prefer. Most of the time, I'll have it a movie on whilst doing something else, so tend to avoid overly complicated plots. That being said, if I'm in the mood, I can end up liking that sort of movie, or even a foreign language film. My only big no-no is horror/suspense - The Ring is definitely something I wouldn't enjoy, although I wouldn't say no to Hitchcock's The Birds...

Books: Looking through my bookshelf, I've got to say it's dominated by fantasy (Harry Potter, Maximum Ride, The Inheritance Cycle, The Bartimaeus Trilogy, The Edge Chronicles, The Airborn Trilogy and a large selection of Horowitz and Colfer) although I've got a couple of the Young Bond and some Sherlock Holmes scattered around. Works by Dan Brown and Bill Bryson turn up quite a bit as well as do other travel books and non-fiction, both for my degree and for personal interest.

One Amazing Thing I’ve Done

I have spent two summers volunteering as a mathematics teacher in township schools in rural Tanzania and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Teach, Learn, Share

I'm a pretty good cook (although I tend to stick to a few good recipes that I really enjoy) and played the piano when I was younger, so can bash out a tune given a little time and the sheet music.

Countries I’ve Visited

Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States

Countries I’ve Lived In

United Kingdom

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