An Israeli-Palestinian Harvard graduate quit his job to travel the world - and is now one of the most successful creators on Facebook
- Nuseir Yassin, better known by Nas Daily, quit his cushy New York tech job in 2016 to travel the world full-time.
- Nas has committed to documenting every day of his life for 1,000 days.
- Two years into his project, Yassin's one-minute Facebook videos now garner millions of views.
- Yassin sat down with Business Insider to talk about his humble beginnings, his path to success, and his plans for after day 1,000.
Nuseir Yassin didn't intend to become one of Facebook's most successful vloggers.
Growing up in Arraba, a small agricultural city in northern Israel, Yassin, an Israeli-Palestinian, came from a modest middle-class family. Yassin is the middle child of four; his mother, a teacher, and his father, a psychologist, valued education and hard work. In many of his videos, Yassin confesses he was shy and socially awkward as a kid.
The first glimpse of his future as a global citizen came at age 19. Limited by his prospects in Israel, he set his sights on Ivy League colleges in the US.Yassin says he was "hungry" for an education at a prestigious university. He applied to Harvard to major in aerospace engineering, and once accepted he was offered a scholarship to offset the cost.
He graduated with a degree in Economics and moved to New York City to work his way through the ranks in the tech industry. He began coding for the PayPal-owned money-transfer app, Venmo, where he says his salary was well above $100,000 per year.
By modern standards, in terms of education, career and income, Yassin had made it.
But he was tired of the routine, and felt he was wasting time at his very cushy desk job; time he felt could be better spent traveling the world.
"My job was overpaid. It wasn't satisfying enough," he told Business Insider.
So Yassin spent a year and a half saving up $60,000. In 2016, he quit his job, bought a camera, a plane ticket, and committed himself to traveling the world full-time.Yassin adopted the moniker "Nas"- Arabic for "people" - and setup a Facebook page called Nas Daily, where he committed to documenting every day of his travels. He pledged to make a single video every day for 1,000 days; As of this writing, he's more than three-quarters of the way to his goal.
"I don't usually take risks," he told me, as we sat at a rooftop bar in Australia, now his 65th travel destination, "But I decided to make use of every single day, I didn't want to waste a single minute," he said.
His first destination, Kenya, proved to be a fruitful one. A Russia-owned media company operating out of Nairobi saw one of his early videos and offered to pay him to create content for their Facebook pages. The company paid him $3,000 a month for his services, which Nas says allowed him to continue traveling comfortably and granted him the exposure he needed to build an audience.
"I make videos about people's stories in a way that is human," Nas said of his filming style. He decided to document his days through the lens of one-minute video clips.
"We live very busy lives. But everyone has a spare minute," he explained.
Slowly, his audience grew. His videos document was he calls "real life," and they resonate with millions of viewers around the world. As of this writing, he has over 6.3 million Facebook followers, and growing.
"My success came from the fact that I'm not a typical blogger," he said, explaining that his ethnicity and the one-minute format of his videos set him apart from other predominantly white vloggers who have found success on video-hosting sites, like YouTube.
He added that he purposely sets his sights on less-popular tourist destinations, like Rwanda, Tanzania, and Malta, to give his audience a broader worldview."There is a lot of the world that is undiscovered. I went to the places that most other bloggers don't go to," he said.
Nas has created a business off of his personal mantra of self-fulfillment. He sells themed T-shirts that spell out what percentage of your life is already over. Nas consults for businesses and people looking to produce multimedia content. He earns revenue from Facebook ads embedded in his videos. He puts his total net-worth at roughly $250,000, which he says is far less than what other travel vloggers earn.
Still, he understands he can't travel forever, and his plans extend beyond day 1,000.
"I have this fear that if I die today, tomorrow I am nothing. If my work consists of making one-minute videos, the minute I die, my project dies with me. I wanted to start a business that has employees that will outlive my daily grind, he said."
Nas plans to employ a collective of content producers to target several specific audiences, and hopes to pass along his expertise and own a partial stake in their productions.
He says he'd be interested in writing a book and creating a television series. He's even considering a foray into local politics.
"I personally am sick of old white men running people's lives," he said.
He offers a word of advice to young entrepreneurs, or people tired of living the 9-to-5 life: "The cheesy answer is 'work hard, don't quit." he said. "Traveling can get lonely, and you will have no base and no friends. You really need to get into the mentality of really enjoying every new experience, and that's real success."He says he is privileged to have started his journey with a substantial nest egg that allowed him to travel without worry.
"I would have never quit my job without having stability. I trusted myself to get a better job in a year or less, so I could focus on what I do best."
Still, he says taking risks was his biggest motivation.
"When you land in a new country, make videos. Everyday I found myself with a summary of the day of things that I've never done before," Nas said.
"I don't do this for money, and I am lucky to be doing something I enjoy and making money from it."