College Graduate Spends 10 Months 'Living Craigslist'

10:12 PM, Jan 4, 2011   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- In these tough economic times, a lot of recent college graduates have not been able to find work.

After 180 job applications led nowhere, one local American University grad decided to create a job of his own-living every aspect of his life off of craigslist.

It's an unusual story of sharing rides and houses, and finding enough work to keep himself on the road, all through the controversial website.

"Life is written with time," said Jason Paul. "It doesn't have to be scripted."

Paul's unscripted life on began in San Francisco, the birthplace of the website.

"In San Francisco, I worked as a nanny for a family," he said.

That, in exchange for food and a place to live. It was the first in an assortment of craigslist jobs.

"I was a Harlem Globetrotters photographer. I worked in a Denny's truck stop, I was a nanny, a street canvasser, I worked in a Greek restaurant," he said. "I was also a leprechaun, for St. Patrick's Day."

His social life only involved strangers...

"The users aren't who you'd expect them to be," said Paul, including the woman who worked in a bookstore but advertised for casual encounters. "I didn't have a casual encounter with her but she was not the type of person you would think is running around as a tramp."

Through craigslist, Jason went hunting in Colorado, snowshoeing and even shared a holiday with this group of strangers after posting on craigslist "please adopt me for Thanksgiving." He blogged and at times, battled loneliness. His darkest moment came at a rodent-infested group house in Denver.

"They called themselves an art collective, but mostly they just did a lot of drugs," Paul recalled. "I ended up losing $250 in rent to these people and just moved out after two days."

Savannah, Georgia, was Jason's final location.  And after 10 months of living craiglist, he came home.

Now 23-years-old, Jason is living with his parents in Montgomery County and turning his experience living craigslist into a book. He has chatted via email with craigslist's founder Craig Newmark. And yes, his parents were worried about his getting into cars and sharing homes with strangers.

Written by Andrea McCarren

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