I’ll post a few pics in a minute, but I’ve been thinking a lot about YouTubers lately. Maybe, like me, you subscribe to a few of them and wonder about their lives away from the camera.
That couple who is relentlessly cheerful all the fucking time! Are they like that when the camera is off, too? Or do they grump and grouse and swear as much as I do when something breaks and needs to be replaced? Are they happy with each other all the time, or are their nights when someone is sleeping on the couch?
I’m thinking of this one couple I used to follow. They own a $300K catamaran and have been sailing the world the last three years. They’re in their forties, they look good, and they make incredible videos, but I have no idea who they really are. I suspect their on-camera personas are whitewashed to show only their good sides. No one can be that happy all the fucking time. Maybe their “one drink at sunset” ends with them stumbling drunk to bed, then puking in the morning. 😉
How would we know? They’re doing this for money, because I can’t think of any other reason why anyone would relentlessly share their lives with thousands of total strangers. They created a brand, and they’re committed to it.
I asked them once in a comment how much they made from YouTube. They did not respond.
I asked the same question of another YouTuber who is in her forties, single, had a kid somewhere but was apparently divorced, and started her channel living in a car. Within a short time, she was in a van she and her father had converted. It had to have cost thousands. At first she was eating takeout all the time, and I wondered how she could afford that since she obviously had no job. Again, I got no response.
I followed a couple of different gay couples for a while. They were over-the-top cute. One couple had a small dog, the other had two large ones. Dogs are great filler when you get tired of thinking up other shit to talk about. The comments always note how darling they are.
Both were living in expensive road vehicles and continuing to work while traveling; one was a jaw-droppingly expensive Travata and the other was… I don’t know what, but it was big and pricey. Poor people live in cars; people with money live in Travatas and have jobs that fund their freedom from office drudgery.
They have super cute dogs or even a cat. For the latter, your road abode must be large enough to accommodate that stinky litter box.
But I kept wondering: who are they? Why do they do this?
I’m not dumb enough to think the people I see on the video are who they are in real life. Like I said, no one is that unrelentingly cheerful and happy. What drives people to share intimate details about themselves with total strangers? The woman who started road life in the car talked about peeing in diapers overnight to avoid leaving the safety of the vehicle and then gave a demonstration.
I really enjoyed one man who turned fifty when I was watching his vids. Handsome, learned, educated, and he spoke well. His videos (and those of most of the others) had a professional touch and were a joy to watch. He’d ditched the corporate world for a piece of land in Canada and built his homestead from scratch, mostly using hand tools, like the old days. And oh yeah, he had an adorable dog, too. But his wife was living somewhere else, and he rarely saw his two kids, who were away in college. WHY was he doing this? If he wanted to be off-grid and all he-man, why go on YouTube?
Money is the first thing that comes to mind, and YouTubers that do well make quite a lot. Like writers, however, most don’t come anywhere near making a living at it, so why do it? Why not get a job with a guaranteed income?
Does everyone want to be famous for fifteen minutes?
I no longer follow the people I referred to in this post. The sailing couple got boring. After you’ve seen a bunch of islands and watched them raising the mainsail and swimming with manta rays, meh. They also were somehow able to afford living in Fiji for a year when they got stuck there during COVID lockdown. I can’t relate to people who have that much money.
The woman who started in the car, it turns out, is deeply religious, and as time went on, her god showed up a lot. No thanks. Pretty sure your deity isn’t financing your trip; Daddy, the ex, or subscribers are.
The first gay couple had a horrible tendency to talk in questions. You know, what they call “uptalk.” I got so bloody tired of it, I unsubscribed. That, in tandem with them planting themselves on a piece of land during the pandemic (boring!), drove me away from their channel.
The second gay couple is still traveling, pandemic be damned, but they sold their Travata and got something even more expensive, and over time I realized I didn’t like them much. YouTube money is all about personality, which is why I’d never do it. I’m too much of an asshole to be endearing to others.
The handsome off-gridding man sold his original property after he’d built everything he could think of and started fresh somewhere else. He gave reasons for this, but I sort of wonder if he didn’t do it to keep viewers. “I’ll throw in all this drama and start over, and I’ll keep making money!”
I still watch YouTube on occasion, but it’s usually something to do with photography or fixing a toilet. 😉 It’s an excellent resource for information.
For entertainment? Maybe not so much.
I have butterflies for you today. I’ll start out with the giant swallowtail, which is impressively large. It’s perched on a really big mushroom.
A couple days before that, I saw this tiger swallowtail hanging around in the woods. It is also very large.
A couple days ago, I saw movement from the corner of my eye, turned, aimed blindly, and took pics. I found out after I downloaded that it was the Palamedes swallowtail, the first time I’d seen it!
The first shot was taken while it was still in flight. My camera speed should have been higher, but who knew? Still, the eye and legs are sharp, and that’s what counts.
The second shot was after it had landed on the leaf. See the insect on the left? A bonus capture! I feel I should know what it is, but I haven’t figured it out yet. An assassin bug?
I was thrilled to add this one to my mental list of butterfly sightings.
See you next time.