Some of you know me and some don't. My name is Sergei, I'm an author/filmmaker/YouTuber and a lot of other things. I've been uploading to YouTube since 2007 and living the dream as a full-time creator since 2009. For the bulk of those years nobody knew how to describe my career choice (myself included). This lead to countless awkward/clumsy conversations with acquaintances, family, friends and strangers. I suspect most people just thought I was lazy and didn't want to work a "normal" job like everyone else. At least that's what my in-laws told me right before we got into a three and half year feud, which almost destroyed my relationship with my wife (don't worry, we're much better now).
Eventually, I got comfortable with being mis-understood and learned to brush off the dis-satisfaction of others while pushing forward and pursuing my goals of building residual income, creating value for others and being maximally free. As I built, my efforts were rewarded with view counts, free products, open doors/opportunities and even a little money.
Then something crazy happened... Something in society shifted rapidly and YouTubing became cool. Around 2017/2018 I started hearing people (especially 13 to 25-year-olds) say things like: "I want to be a YouTube Influencer when I grow up." I've certainly heard adults say this too, but it seems more consistent from younger generations. Even my in-laws changed their opinions about me and apologized for not understanding what I was trying to accomplish. This felt AMAZING, I'm not going to lie.
Long story short, my mind was/is blown from this 180-degree turn of events.
And just when I thought it was going to be smooth sailing, all my winning stopped. Social media platforms implemented ever-changing rules and regulations, which cut off access to my audience(s). Access that I worked really hard to amass. For example, despite having 196,000+ subscribers on my channel BoutenkoFilms in 2023, my viewership is pathetic and much worse than it was years ago (when I had a measly 13,000 subs). I've noticed this trend across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Tik Tok and Kickstarter.
This is stressful and completely deflating. So, after 16-ish years, I'm quitting (at least in the full-time capacity).
Before I go, I want to tell the truth so that future creators can have the opportunity to consider all of the pros and cons of such a career. Hopefully this will help folks make better, more educated choices as to what YouTube is and how to approach it. Two days ago, I published a new video doing just this. I'll link it below for those interested.
I'd like to emphasis that it's not my intension to dissuade or discourage anybody, but rather to share my experience. I've been thinking about this for a long time (years) and finally realized that I miss the real world. I'm sick of being alone all day and staring at computer screens. So, I'm restructuring my life (effective immediately) to be part of the physical world again. And so far it's going really, really well! 🚀🕺🤸♂️
It's Sergei Boutenko in the house. Look at me go, I'm posting on the Permies cooking forum for the first time ever. 🕺 I have some news to share... Last year I stared a foraging cooking show called: "Wild Edibles Test Kitchen." The premise of this show is very simple: I harvest one wild edibles per episode and then turn it into a tasty/healthy meal.
I hope to accomplish a the following goals with this show:
1.) Dispel fear and show folks how they can safely/sustainably incorporate more wild food (mostly common weeds) into their diet
2.) Walk my own talk more and improve my skills as a wild crafter/cook
3.) Help myself and others save money on groceries (while at the same time eating more nutrient-dense food)
4.) Feed myself and my family while also working and earning a living
As this is a very knowledgeable plant/food/gardening community, I'm curious to get your feedback on the show. I'm putting my ass on the chopping block (sort of speak) with the hope of creating better value for my viewers. This project is very much in its infancy and I could use some help working out the kinks.
A few hours ago, I published episode 7 (Prickly Lettuce Soup with Bacon). Give it a peak and tell me what you think!
I just started a wild edibles mini series on YouTube with this simple premise; harvest one plant, then make a delicious recipe with it. Currently, I'm two episodes deep. I'm interested in your thoughts and criticisms. Dare I say that on the Internet?🤪 LOL
My friends and I used the global lockdown to build a mobile sauna! As always, I filmed everything and made a detailed (probably way too detailed) how-to video about the construction process.
The movie below depicts how you build a mobile sauna in 45 simple steps. Just kidding, there is nothing easy about making a transportable banya out of a rusty/crusty vintage horse trailer.
But, we did it anyway. Warning, this movie is long! Given the overall length of the production, I’ve included video timecode in the YouTube description to help viewers skip around easier.
I have a fresh project in the works called "30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge for Busy People.” The title more or less describes what I’m planning. I’m going to publish a new, feature-length video and eBook that will efficiently guide folks with crazy work/life schedules through a month-long green drink cycle.
The new 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge for Busy People will be just like the previous challenge, but completely different. What I mean by that is this: the framework of the month-long challenge will remain the same, but the guts (i.e. all the recipes, ingredients shopping lists, tips and tricks, etc.) have been modified to benefit people who want to lead healthy lives, but don’t have a lot of time to spare for cooking and food preparation.
30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge for Busy People is currently raising funds on Kickstarter. If you want to see another healthy challenge come alive, head to Kickstarter and pre-order your eBook & movie HERE
In September of 2016 I published a YouTube video on my channel called "SPRINTER VAN CONVERSION: My DIY Setup for Less than $1,200.” The video was a big hit. It blew up and remains my most viewed clip to date. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a quick summary; it’s a virtual tour of my first-ever, minimalist van build that discusses some simple/practical design choices. You can watch the video below if you like.
After publishing the video, my inbox exploded with emails. I must’ve received at least a thousand thank you messages and who knows how many more notes with follow-up questions. Long story short, I understood that people found my thought process helpful. So, three years later (almost to the day), I decided to shoot another video about van build number two. Hopefully this movie will be useful to folks who are looking into getting a van and/or people that want to optimize their current vehicle.
I know that van builds are a personal thing and don’t expect everyone to agree with my designs. Thus, I invite you to treat my video like a CD, listen to the tracks you like and skip the ones you don’t.
Question, where do you live? And would you like to be in the movie? I could sure use an authentic Finnish perspective. If you're close to Washington, I'd be happy to travel and interview you, otherwise we could film something on Skype? Shoot me an email: email@example.com if you dig.
Your message put a smile on my face. Especially the Canadian protest part. It's true, in America we think we rule the world. This of course is just an illusion. :-) Plants don't know that we the people created borders. They just grow in the way that nature intended. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me!
Wowza, you're fast! Looks like you watched my video thoroughly! Yes, the forest in North Oregon is bursting with berries right now. The huckleberries, thimbleberries, and watermelon berries are especially abundant this year. In terms of the gooseberries/currants, you are correct. Typically, gooseberries have woody thorns and currants just have little spikes, that said, it was a mish-mash of thorns and spikes out there. :-) Given that both berries are in the same family, I wasn't too picky. Interesting that you still have strawberries over there, ours went out of seasons in early July. Thank you also for the lead on twinberry. I intentionally left that one uncategorized to restate the importance of not eating unknown plants. I plan to study up on twinberry soon.
Fall in North American means berry season! My friends and I went backpacking in the Oregon wilderness over Labor Day Weekend and found 15+ wild-growing berries. We chowed on thimbleberries, huckleberries, raspberries, serviceberries, watermelon berries, and many others. I had my GoPro handy and managed to film bits and pieces of our wild edibles harvest in between tasty bites. Watch this video to learn how to identify and forage for over a dozen delicious berries.
Thank you for these wonderful links! I really, really appreciate it! You Fins know how to sauna don't you? :-) I've had the pleasure of sweating with a few of your people in Helsinki once, it was something incredible!
Thanks or the note. Good question, I'm not sure if I'm going to build out a cargo trailer, a boat trailer, or something completely different altogether. There are so many options out there! I think it's probably a good idea to interview as many people as I can, find out what they did, ask them what they would have done differently, and then decide. I suspect this would benefit my viewers too. :-)
I’m stoked to announce the launch of my newest project called “Sauna Trailer.” Get it? “Stoked,” because the topic of the film is saunas… Total dad joke, I know. Any whooo, the project is now raising funds on Kickstarter. I’m pre-selling copies of the movie and eBook in order to finance this entire venture and I could use your support. Visit the project page here to get a detailed glimpse of what I’m cooking up.
My grand vision is to build a mobile steam room from the ground up while filming the entire process so that others can follow my lead and build their own portable DIY sauna. I am not the first person to construct a sauna on wheels, but as far as I can tell, I’ll be the first to show the entire build from start to finish. Can you imagine having the ability to sweat in a beautiful, outdoor location and then dive into a cold lake, river, or ocean? I can! It’s my idea of heaven. You can have it too, if you like. I’ll do all the heavy lifting so that when you go to build your own steam room, you’ll be able to lean on my resources (movie and eBook) and save yourself tons of research time and money.
I'm also hosting a SPECIAL SAUNA RETREAT!
If you’d like to experience my Sauna Trailer first-hand, I’ll be hosting a special retreat in the summer of 2020 where you can do just that. At this 3-day/3-night retreat, we’re going to camp at a beautiful campground that’s situated on a charming Washington beach. Together we’re going to sauna and cold plunge, I’ll teach you how to flap yourself with oak branches (Russian style), we’ll train with kettlebells, do yoga, drink freshly-made green smoothies, eat healthy food, but most importantly, we’ll get a chance to connect with each other. This is the only retreat I’ll be hosting in the foreseeable future. Space is very limited so if you want in, you have to act fast. My last five retreats sold out completely and I expect this one to as well. To reserve your retreat spot, select the associated reward on Kickstarter.
Crush your next potluck, party, shindig, bash, soiree, jamboree, and get-together with wild flower ice cubes. This wild-crafted recipe will show you how to spice up your drinks and cocktails on the cheap!
I've tried unsuccessfully for a very, very long time to get a high-quality recording of one of my wild edibles walks. Filming a group workshop outside presents a heap of difficulties for a camera, microphone, and videographer. After a decade of failed attempts, I finally got what I wanted! :-)
I invite you to come on a virtual forage with me on YouTube.
Boys and girls this looks really cool! I'm not totally sure I know what "badges" means, but I think I grasp the overall concept, which is: "Don't just tell me how to do it, show me!" This has always been my approach with regards to foraging. :-)
While reading the original post, I also had a thought about how to make this program more inclusive... Perhaps instead of worrying about segmenting it to fit different demographics (hunters, fisherman, vegans, unicorns, etc.) you could just add little symbols next to various categories, which will let folks know who this sections is geared toward. For example, while the category of: "Hunting" might only be suitable for hunters (H), the Edible Garden Weeds section might be perfect for hunters (H), vegans (V), health nuts (HN), etc., etc.
...Just my two cents...
I hope I'm not WAY off base.
Some of you may recalled that a few months ago, I posted about a new project that I was working on called: "Van Boom." Some of you kind folks even helped me raise funds on Kickstarter (THANK YOU). Well the movie is done and I'd like to share it with you and hear your thoughts.
Are these designed to fit on the outside of the window?
I ask because my husband put insulation on the inside once in a really cold climate and ended up with a condensation problem. We no longer live is such a cold place, but it is still damp and condensation is a problem particularly on the large north windows the owner/builder installed. If your design has worked on the outside, I may try to copy it, although our window design may make attachment difficult.
No, I designed them to fit on the inside of the frame. This is my first year with them so I'm not sure if I'll get any moisture? Ask me again next year.
Window insulation kits are annoying and wasteful! This year I made PVC pipe inserts to weatherize / winterize my single pane windows. This DIY solution is cheap, effective, and easy to set up and take down.
raven ranson wrote:Wow. What a neat idea. I can't wait to see the movie.
We have two eurovans. One is a bit beat up and nearing the end of its life, but we haven't had the heart to send it for scrap yet. We love it so much we bought a second one.
I've been thinking of taking one of these vans and refitting it for travel. I would love to be able to go places for classes but travel makes things too expensive. It would be good practice for me to live with less stuff. I'm thinking it would also make a good place to sleep after an earthquake because I doubt the house will still be standing.
Looking at some of the new ideas that are coming out for electric vehicles, I wonder... I have this crazy dream of transforming the old van once it finally dies. The body is still good as they don't salt the roads here. Could it be transformed into an electric vehicle? Or maybe there are better options for it?
I'm looking forward to seeing the film and getting some good ideas.
I think you should do it! electric vans are the future. Mercedes is about to launch an eSprinter next year. I know some cats from Ashland, Oregon that are successfully electrifying old VW vans. They call themselves: "Solarrolla." Check it out: webpage
Nicole Alderman wrote:Sergei, I've heard that a lot of people are now living in their vans in major metropolitan areas, like Seattle, because renting, let alone buying, a home is so expensive. These people don't use their vans for traveling so much as a place to live. Does your documentary look into the lives of those that stay more stationary in their vans and use them more like apartments and less like traveling homes?
It sure does. In fact, rising cost of housing was my initial hypothesis for why vans are booming again. While this is definitely a big factor in the trend, there is more to the story. I don't want to give away too much just yet though. :-)
denise ra wrote:I'm in a few Living in Your Van facebook groups that are good sources of info. Many people use a Little Buddy propane heater.
I just bought a Mr. Heater propane heater and it's been a game changer. A lot of folks get a diesel heater installed into their vans. Such heaters come from the marine industry (sailing) and are extremely efficient.
I'm working on a new documentary about a topic that's very dear to me. That subject is van life. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it’s exactly what it sounds like van life (i.e. everything to do with vans). I’m a van fanatic and geek out on everything in this genre. I find vans appealing because they offer easy access to adventure, spontaneity, and freedom in a package that’s affordable. For example, if you own a van and want to go away for the weekend, you can pick up and go without expending a lot of money.
In recent years, vans have seen a big increase in popularity. The reason for this massive spike is anyone’s guess. Major publications such as, The New Yorker, Time, and Vice have their own speculations. In one-way or another they all claim that vans are trending because: "VAN LIFE IS THE NEW AMERICAN DREAM!"
This intrigues me for several reasons:
1.) It’s a big bold statement that I automatically want to challenge.
2.) It might be true.
Is van life really the next American dream? I was curious and decided to find out. Last summer, I jumped into my Sprinter van and crisscrossed the entire Western United States (logging over 18,000 miles). I traveled to meet with 40+ key figures within the van community in order to get the inside scoop on whether or not van life is a fleeting trend or here to stay.
Now, I have enough original footage to make one heck of a documentary about the sociology of van life. That's exactly what I aim to do.
At this time, all the hard work is done! Most of the film production budget has been raised, everything has been planned, and all the traveling / filming has commenced. I just need to raise a little bit more money to cover post-production costs.
That's where Kickstarter comes in! I'm pre-selling copies of Van Boom (along with other cool products) on Kickstarter in order to raise the necessary fund to finish my movie.
Cattails have one major advantage over other wild edibles… Relative to other foraged foods, cattails are high in calories.
This makes them a great energy food. When you’ve been working hard or hiking all day and your body starts to lack energy,
cattails can answer that call and replenish your muscles with power. Watch this video to learn how to harvest and eat cattails.
Foraging for wild edibles doesn't have to be a chore. It can be as easy as stepping outside into your backyard. Join me on this digital weed walk and discover new plants that will enrich your cuisine and improve your health!
Drinking green smoothies regularly can help you lose weight, improve energy levels, reduce craving for bad food, and make you feel awesome! The new and improved 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge brings you yummy smoothie recipes, detailed ingredient shopping lists, and valuable tips and tricks that will help make your new healthy habit stick. Give it a try; you won't regret it!