Jonathan Young at the age of 29, has traveled the world pursuing his passions and working diligently to leave the world behind a better place. Young, perhaps most famously known for his role on Survivor 42, also holds the Guinness World Record for the most pull-ups with 100 lbs on his back. The up-and-coming celebrity local had quite a lot to say during our time around the fire at his Gulf Shores home. Meeting Johnathan for the first time can feel intimidating as the 6’4, 250 lb man seemingly towers over everyone around him. Looks, as we all know can be quite deceiving and this gentle giant definitely wins the award for southern charm, chivalry, and manners.
“Welcome,” he says as he smiles big and pulls out wood for the fire and makes available a place to sit and gather around together. He reaches out to shake my hand that pales in comparison to the size and stature of his own.
Watching Johnathan interact with our team for his photo-shoot spoke volumes about his character and ability to adapt to ever-changing situations. His uncanny ability to hurl axes, tomahawks, and spears into small targets, attests to his abilities displayed on Survivor 42. Johnathan prides himself on what it means to be a servant after God’s own heart, taking care of those around him, and takes seriously his role as a provider. “All I want is to hear is, job well done my good and faithful servant, when I leave this world” Young says. “I am Perfectly Imperfect.”
Young, originally from Gadsden Alabama, relocated to Gulf Shores many years ago. He manages a beach services rental business for chairs, umbrellas, & canopies. His rise to local stardom came after Survivor 42 aired, but make no mistake about it. Jonathan doesn’t consider himself famous. The humble Gulf Shores local likes to keep things simple and spends majority of his time doing what he considers normal “local” things such as soaking up the sun out on the beach near Cotton Bayou or by the Jetties rocks. He regularly practices his strengths working to refine them by keeping in shape at the local gym, spear fishing, surfing, and swimming. Young says “fame doesn’t last,” but “spreading God’s love is eternal.”
Young became very candid when talking about his mission trips and plans to travel in the near future to help those less fortunate. “When I was on Survivor, I had the opportunity to get really clear about what was important to me in life. Out there, you don’t have distractions like you do in the modern world. There are no cell phones, social media, or things to keep you distracted. You’re forced to face yourself and prioritize what’s really most important.” For Young, what became most important to him was incredibly clear. “All I wanted to do was take care of my tribe as a provider, a hunter-gatherer, and God filled man. Sitting out on the beach sometimes in the evening before dark, you could hear the wind rustling through the tree’s. There were some real moments during that time that I could feel God’s presence and it was a very humbling experience. My weakness at times came from a lack of food but God was able to sustain me and help keep me focused.”
At the end of Survivor 42, Young was eventually voted off. The local has no hard feelings about it and hopes that in the future he can do more with Survivor. Until that time comes, he has no plans to slow down. Young spends the majority of winter months during the slow season here along the Gulf, to pursue other passions and opportunities abroad. “I like to travel a lot,” Young says. This time of the year I’m able to visit places around the world and spend time with those I care about. Mission trips are in the works for me. “It’s time for me to keep going and doing all that I can. When I think about my life, I think about leaving this world one day on empty. My greatest fear is knowing that I could do more and not have completed it. Not living my best life, so I’ve made the decision to do just that. Living my best life. Serving others.”
Young says his mentor, Lex Luger, parents, and siblings help to hold him accountable and guide him through life. “They are my biggest supporters and mentors,” Young says. “Lex, is a man that not only mentors me physically but spiritually as well. I love that guy.”
Johnathan Young is an extraordinary up-and-coming loved local.