A local couple quit their 9 to 5 jobs and started a new adventure as YouTubers- traveling from exotic to exotic. Here's their inspirational tale of success and struggle:
If you’d asked Jimmy and Tah what they’d be doing in their mid-20s, Jimmy would have talked about how he planned on continuing his work with the U.S. Army. Tah would have gone into detail about the career in finance she’d been working toward since she was 17.
Jimmy Huss, of Penfield and Jetiyamon “Tah” Kedburom, of Thailand were on those tracks back in 2015 when they first started dating. It took a year of them being together to decide that their professional lives weren’t on the right track at all.
Jimmy and Tah had always had a love for traveling - Tah, through her summer excursions when she wasn’t in school; and Jimmy, through his tours with the U.S. Army.
So why not make a lifestyle out of it?
“With us both wanting to travel, we just kind of wanted to inspire other people to do what we’re doing and show them the easiest route,” said Jimmy.
They invested in some heavy-duty camera equipment, took $4,000 each, found the cheapest tickets to the cheapest place … and they were off.
Now Jimmy and Tah run a YouTube channel called “DivertLiving,” where they document their experiences and upload videos daily to show people their adventures and to prove that exploring the world is not only possible, but it can be cheap and enriching at the same time.
They started off in Bali, Indonesia, which they ended up loving so much they stayed for two months rather than one. Since then, they’ve gone to Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China — and they're showing no signs of stopping.
"We don’t plan on stopping," said Jimmy.
"We’ve come too far to go back. ‘Cause like our heart is so into it already. It’s like 100 percent into it," Tah added.
While Americans, for the most part, are accustomed to traveling to resorts and air conditioned hotels, and get there by taxi, shuttle or rental, Jimmy and Tah have a different approach. Their goal is to live like the locals.
So they stay with the locals in their houses or rent from hostels, stay away from the Asian McDonald’s and eat foods native to the countries they’re in, and will travel in cramped subways or boats much unlike the comparably luxurious ways of travel most of us are compared to (unless, of course, you’ve traveled by subway in New York City).
“It’s like becoming a part of the culture. We really want to experience the culture,” Jimmy said.
But of course, it hasn’t been easy. They say traveling with a partner can make or break a relationship. Jimmy and Tah were willing to take the risk of not only traveling together, but traveling with tight budgets, no guaranteed places to stay, and only five to six hours of sleep a night, after filming, editing and uploading to YouTube for the 18 to 19 hours a day.
Tah’s most memorable experience so far, though, comes from a particular struggle that her and Jimmy experienced together.
“The most memorable moment would be in the Philippines. Isn’t it weird, my most memorable moment isn’t a good thing, it’s not a happy moment, it’s a time we struggled together,” Tah said.
She and Jimmy were traveling to an island “far, far, far” off the mainland of the Philippines, and everything on that hot, sweltering day was going wrong. There was no power, and spotty internet, so when they tried looking for places to stay online, the places they wanted to stay were unable to update their sites saying they were all booked up. So Tah and Jimmy would get to a location only to find it was booked. So off they’d go.
“Getting transportation is hard. Finding accomodations is hard. Dealing with the locals sometimes is not easy,” said Tah. “... So we’d have to go somewhere else, and we’re spending so much money on transportation, going on the dirt path, and we’d arrive there … there’s no room. It seemed like there was nowhere. I almost thought we were going to be homeless.”
At the end of the day, however, Jimmy and Tah were able to hunt down a tiny little house that just popped up on the booking website they’d been using. They were able to hustle over there and grab a place to stay.
“We walked out onto the beach, and there’s the most beautiful sunset over. It’s the most rewarding moment after the long, tired day. It’s raining, on the hottest day ever. But I’ll remember that moment forever,” Tah smiled. “It’s hard — we struggled together, but we got this rewarding moment in the end.”
For now, Jimmy and Tah are relying on sponsorships and donations through their Patreon account to keep going. They were sponsored by an athletic company to show off its gear in return for some cash flow, and Patreon users can pledge money each month — certain amounts can get certain levels of perks from Jimmy and Tah. They also do odd jobs, like web design when their internet capabilities allow for it, or teaching English to the locals of the countries they're in. They hope, as their following increases, they'll be able to keep up and fund their travels for a long time.
"People see [us doing something like this] and they think it’s impossible," Jimmy said.
"At first, it’s still hard. Like, [people will say,] 'it’s possible for you, but I don’t know if it will be possible for me,'" Tah added.
Their YouTube channel comes with loads of helpful tips, such as where to go, what to do, how to find accomodations, and how to get it all done cheaply.
"I think everybody should have the opportunity to travel, especially, you know, coming from the Western world like I did," Jimmy explained. "I think that like, people, you know, they live their life every day and they, you know, drinking out of the faucet, you know, simple things that you don’t really realize — you can’t do that in some countries. So like, when you come back, like when I came back this time, you really feel grateful for everything. ... So, you really appreciate everything a lot more, and I think that the younger generation should see that. I think a lot of people should have that opportunity to see the world for what it is and be able to see everything."
To see Jimmy and Tah's adventures, check out their YouTube channel at https://goo.gl/Fgc4Ti (soon they'll be in Mexico for Día de los Muertos!). To support them on Patreon, visit https://www.patreon.com/Divertliving.