How to Live Off of Craigslist


Do you think it’s possible for man to survive on Craigslist alone? Jason Paul does. A May 2009 grad with a communications degree and no job prospects (after applying for over 180 positions, from small papers in Lawrence, Kansas to Boulder, Colorado), the 22-year-old has decided to give it a try and document the experience on his blog, Living Craigslist. Paul has vowed to find housing, friends, jobs, and food using the listing site as he moves to three different cities for three month stints. He’s even created some rules to make things more challenging.

The Rules.

– I will start with $2,500 that I’ve saved during college – I will have a car, a phone, a computer and cameras to document the trip – I am not allowed to live out of my car – I am not allowed to live with someone I know for longer than a week at the beginning of each city – I am allowed one large bag containing clothes and a few staple foods – I am not allowed to initiate contact with someone unless it is through an online interaction

Since his September departure from Washington D.C., Paul has moved to San Fransisco and Denver, working as a nanny/gardener, a street canvasser, and a Denny’s dishwasher. He has gone on a blind friend-date and learned to knit. It’s not surprising that he hopes to turn this nine month cross-country experiment into a book deal, Julie & Julia style. But does he deserve one? Paul’s writing is hilariously dry-witted at times, and pretty boring at others. Compare these two examples:

A Case of the Mondays

“Today was a rather uneventful day. I spent most of it doing odd jobs around the house to stay useful enough for my landlords to find reason to keep me. I cleaned, cooked ran some errands and fixed some the cracks in their lead walk with concrete. You know your day was uneventful when you find yourself taking pictures of your own amateur masonry work.”

Jobs, Professional Lacrosse, Strip Clubs and Craigslist Stories

“After the [lacrosse] game ended, I got to experience another first, a male strip club called Boyztown. I had expected an obscenely graphic strip show but was surprised by the tameness of the place. Aside from cheap beer and male bartenders without shirts, the place was a typical bar. Of course, the entertainment wasn’t a football game but men spinning on poles. I need to add, the boyz at Boyztown were just as naked as the manikins at Target, only they smelt of tanning oil and responded to questions when asked politely. I was curious what the pre-dance ritual would be for a male stripper. Do you readjust your sock or meditate, push-ups or body lubrication? Is their such a thing as a pre-dance ritual? The two guys who stopped to answer my question didn’t get too specific. Zack — who reminded me of the very feminine character who enjoyed 15 minutes of fame with his bizarrely good depiction of Beyonce’s Single Ladies dance — told me he stretches. I didn’t get the other strippers name, but he told me two shots of vodka is all it takes. I think I would need a bit more than that. I was never uncomfortable, I was never turned on, but I was very intrigued by the skill required to twirl — in this atmosphere that is the best word — on a pole.”

What do you think? Do we have the seedlings of the next On the Road on our hands? Or is there a reason that Paul is currently self-employed?