Eagle River Teen Couch Surfs Across America (KTVA.com Exclusive)
18-year-old Ariel Zlatovski boy takes the journey of a lifetime
(To view some of Ariel Zlatovski's photos from his journey, click one of the thumbnails at left beneath the 'Related Links.')
It was day 35 on Ariel Zlatovski’s journey across America. He had just made his way to Readfield, Maine.
Zlatkovski turned onto the street where Linda, his host for the evening, lived. His GPS told him he had arrived at her residence. He knocked on the door and introduced himself to an elderly gentleman.
Without a second thought he shook the man’s hand and walked inside. The man spoke for the first time and asked who the young man in front of him was.
He responded: “Ariel. I’m staying with you tonight.” With nothing more than “oh,” they walked into the living room and met an elderly woman. Suddenly panic struck and Ariel realized he had wandered into the wrong house.
He had stumbled upon Linda’s neighbors, who eventually helped him make his way to his host’s home.
Less than a year ago Ariel Zlatkovski collected his high school diploma with his Eagle River High School classmates.
But now, at 18 years old, the first-generation Israeli immigrant is touring the United States courtesy of the kindness of strangers.
Primarily using the website CouchSurfing.org to find places to crash, Zlatkovski is on an extensive tour of the Lower 48 – something the Alaska resident said his parents fully support.
“They’re big fans of traveling young, when the experience can be enjoyed as much as possible.”
His journey began February 27 when he left Alaska and headed to Washington D.C. There he purchased “Laila” – a Toyota Yaris. The $12,000 purchase is intended to take him through 48 states.
From Washington D.C. he headed up to the East Coast toward Maine, and then began a journey westward.
For some this kind of trip would seem overwhelming, but Zlatkovski has a plan – kind of.
But despite a detailed map of where to hit next, he still travels with spontaneity. “I am constantly in the process of finding hosts because I [only] plan my trip a day or two out.”
Couchsurfing.org is an online website where adventurous travelers look for potential hosts. The online database has people from all over the world looking for company. Each individual person has a profile that says a little bit about themselves, as well as other recommendations (or criticisms) from travelers who have stayed with or hosted the couch surfer.