Exceptionalist 22: Jason Wang - STPL

Exceptionalist 22: Jason Wang

Jason Wang is an extraordinary world traveler. He founded a food delivery business long before Deliveroo and now spends his time traveling the world and exploring a wide array of cultures. 

Jason began full-time travel in 2016. Since then, Jason has explored 158 U.N countries, conquered five of seven summits and has experienced a lifetime of incredible experiences along the way. 

We gained so much from this interview and felt super inspired to continue making every day exceptional.


What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Who gave you that nugget? 

 The best piece of advice I've ever received came from Paul Graham, the renowned entrepreneur, investor, and co-founder of Y Combinator. In his essay "Do Things That Don't Scale," Graham emphasizes the importance of taking action and getting started, even if the initial approach doesn't seem scalable. 
Graham's advice resonated with me deeply, especially in the early stages of my entrepreneurial journey. When I first ventured into the world of business, I found myself overwhelmed by the myriad of challenges and uncertainties. I was consumed by the desire to have everything figured out, to have a perfect plan in place before taking any significant steps forward. 
However, Graham's wisdom reminded me that the most critical aspect of entrepreneurship is simply getting started. He argued that in the beginning, it's more important to focus on solving problems, delivering value, and building relationships with customers, even if the methods used don't seem scalable in the long run. 
This nugget of advice transformed my approach to business. Instead of getting bogged down in the details and striving for perfection from the outset, I embraced the idea of taking action and iterating along the way. I realized that the key to success was to start small, validate ideas quickly, and learn from the feedback and experiences gained in the process. 


How did your present life come to fruition? 

Growing up, I always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to create something meaningful. This passion led me to start my journey as a food entrepreneur in 2011, shortly after finishing college. Together with a group of like-minded friends, we recognized the potential of on-demand food delivery services and founded one of the first companies in this space. Our hard work and dedication paid off when we successfully sold the company in 2014. 

This experience not only provided me with valuable lessons but also opened up new opportunities. Since then, I have diversified my interests and taken on various roles. As a startup angel investor, I have the privilege of supporting and nurturing innovative ideas and passionate entrepreneurs. My background in the food industry has also led me to become a restaurateur, allowing me to combine my love for culinary experiences. I am grateful to work alongside incredible teams and partners who share my vision and contribute to the success of each venture. 

A turning point in my life came in August 2016 when I made the decision to embrace a nomadic lifestyle and become a full-time traveller. This choice has not only enriched my personal experiences but has also had a profound impact on my perspective and worldview. Traveling has exposed me to diverse cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and incredible people from all walks of life. It has taught me the value of adaptability, resilience, and the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone. 

Throughout my travels, I discovered a deep passion for photography. What began as a hobby quickly evolved into a serious pursuit, allowing me to capture and share the beauty and stories of the places I visit. Photography has become an integral part of my journey, enabling me to document my experiences and connect with others through visual storytelling.

What do you value most in life? 

As I reflect on what I value most in life, three things stand out above all else: experiences, human connection, and time freedom. 

Experiences, whether through travel, trying new activities, or stepping out of my comfort zone, have shaped me in profound ways. Each adventure, each challenge, and each moment of awe has contributed to my personal growth and has given me a deeper appreciation for the world around me. I believe that life is meant to be lived fully, and I strive to fill my days with meaningful experiences that enrich my soul and broaden my perspective. 

Equally important to me is the power of human connection. The relationships I have built throughout my life – with family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers – have taught me the value of empathy, compassion, and shared understanding. I cherish the moments of laughter, the heartfelt conversations, and the sense of belonging that comes from connecting with others on a genuine level. In a world that can sometimes feel disconnected, I make it a priority to foster and nurture these bonds, knowing that they are the foundation of a fulfilling life. 

Time freedom is another aspect that I hold dear. Having the autonomy to choose how I spend my days, to pursue my passions, and to be present in the moment is a true luxury. I have worked hard to create a life that allows me the flexibility to prioritize the things that matter most to me, whether that's exploring a new corner of the globe, diving into a creative project, or simply enjoying quality time with loved ones. I recognize that time is our most precious resource, and I strive to make the most of every day. 

Of course, no reflection on life's greatest pleasures would be complete without mentioning my love for a good meal. Food has the incredible power to bring people together, to evoke memories, and to transport us to different cultures and traditions. Wherever my travels take me, I make it a point to seek out the best local cuisine, from hole-in-the-wall gems to renowned culinary destinations. The joy of sharing a delicious meal with others, savouring each flavor and experiencing the passion and creativity of the chefs, is an essential part of what makes life so rich and satisfying. 

In contrast to these intangible values, I have found that material possessions hold little importance in my life. While I appreciate the convenience and comfort that certain items can provide, I have learned that true happiness and fulfillment come from within, not from external objects. I prefer to invest my resources in experiences, relationships, and personal growth, knowing that these are the things that will stay with me long after any physical item has lost its luster. 

What makes you uncomfortable and how do you handle it? 

Discomfort is an inevitable part of life, especially when pushing oneself beyond the familiar and venturing into new territories. For me, uncomfortable situations often arise when I'm faced with the unknown, when I'm challenged to step outside my comfort zone and confront my fears head-on. 

However, I've learned that the more uncomfortable situations I expose myself to, the more comfortable I become with discomfort itself. It's a paradoxical concept, but through repeated exposure and experience, the unfamiliar becomes familiar, and the daunting becomes manageable. 

When I find myself in an uncomfortable situation, whether it's taking on a new responsibility, navigating a complex relationship, or facing a daunting challenge, I remind myself that growth and progress often lie on the other side of discomfort. I've come to realize that the moments that make me feel the most alive are those when I'm pushing against my own boundaries, testing my limits, and expanding my horizons. 

To handle discomfort, I've developed a few strategies. First and foremost, I acknowledge and accept the feelings of unease. Instead of trying to suppress or avoid them, I embrace them as a natural part of the process. I remind myself that discomfort is temporary and that every challenging experience is an opportunity for growth and learning. 

 Next, I focus on breaking down the uncomfortable situation into smaller, more manageable steps. By tackling one aspect at a time, I gain a sense of control and progress, which helps alleviate the overwhelming nature of the discomfort. I also seek support from trusted individuals who can offer guidance, encouragement, and a different perspective. 

Moreover, I try to reframe my mindset, viewing discomfort as a sign that I'm pushing myself beyond my current limitations. I celebrate the fact that I'm willing to take risks, to step into the unknown, and to embrace the challenges that come my way. This positive outlook helps me approach uncomfortable situations with a sense of excitement and curiosity rather than fear and apprehension. 

What secret ambitions do you have? 

As I reflect on my secret ambitions, I am filled with a sense of excitement and determination. I have set my sights on three extraordinary goals that, when achieved together, would make me the first person to accomplish such a feat.  

Currently, I have already made significant progress towards my first ambition of visiting all 193 UN countriesthat started with full-time travel in August of 2016. With 168 countries checked off my list, I am well on my way to experiencing the incredible diversity and richness of our world. Each country I have visited has left an indelible mark on my soul, and I eagerly anticipate the experiences and connections that await me in the remaining 25 nations. 

Alongside my travel aspirations, I have been diligently working towards climbing the seven summits – the highest peaks on each continent. To date, I have successfully scaled five of these mountains, leaving just two remaining: Carstensz Pyramid in Oceania and the iconic Mount Everest in Asia. The challenges and triumphs I have experienced on the five summits I have conquered – Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, and Mount Vinson – have only fueled my passion for mountaineering and my determination to complete this remarkable journey. 

As if these two ambitions weren't enough, my ultimate secret dream is to venture into space. I have set my sights on the year 2026 to make this cosmic leap, joining the ranks of the few intrepid explorers who have experienced the wonders of the universe beyond our planet. The thought of floating in microgravity, gazing upon Earth from above, and contributing to the advancement of space exploration fills me with a sense of awe and purpose. 

By completing this trifecta of achievements – visiting all UN countries, climbing the seven summits, and traveling to space – I hope to inspire others to pursue their own secret ambitions, no matter how audacious they may seem. I believe that by pushing the boundaries of what is possible and embracing the spirit of adventure, we can all unlock our true potential and make a meaningful impact on the world. No dream is too big, no goal too bold, for those who dare to imagine a life without limits. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Get In Touch