Because of my diverse background (more on that below), I’ve been traveling solo ever since I was a teenager, whether it was trips to visit family and family friends abroad to weekend getaways in the Bahamas. I developed a passion for it, and wanted to find a way to travel for a living. So, in 2008, just months before I graduated college, I started my David’s Been Here YouTube channel. Within a few months, I had raised enough money to hire a videographer and an assistant, and we spent the next two years filming travel, food, and nightlife content all over Europe. I haven’t looked back since!
This is probably the question I get the most. First, understand that travel vlogging is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re not going to reach a million subscribers overnight, so be patient. Create as much content as you can, and be your true, authentic self on camera. Audiences are savvy and can tell if you’re putting on an act. Understand that it may take years for people to find your content. Keep at it and don’t be discouraged if you’re not getting the number of views you want. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learn from them and keep moving. Study other vloggers. Study how they talk, film, and edit. And always, put your all into it. Always be the hardest-working person in the room.
If you’re on a tight budget, I always recommend starting in southeast Asia. The countries there are very inexpensive to travel around, and there’s an endless number of historical sites, cultural experiences, and foods to explore. The downside, of course, is that nearly every travel vlogger has created southeast Asia content at some point, so it may be difficult to make yours stand out from the crowd.
Also, listen to your audience. As your audience grows, pay attention to what type of videos your viewers respond to the most. For me, I noticed that my viewers loved watching me eat and react to different foods. So, while I also showcase history and culture (two things I’m very passionate about), I make sure every video I release has a food element to it, because it’s what people want to see from me.
I have multiple streams of income, which is extremely important for content creators. That way, if one dries up, you still have other ways to survive. Currently, I have a monetized YouTube channel where I make money through ad revenue. I also recently got my YouTube shorts channel monetized. I also make money through brand deals and sponsorships, and sometimes tourism boards and tour companies will pay me to showcase their countries. And, finally, I also make money through Facebook and this website!
This is something I know a lot about. When I first started filming my travels, I worried about what people would think of me. I was self-conscious about my imperfect grammar and my Miami accent and thought people wouldn’t like my personality. So I adopted a serious, straight-laced persona that is the complete opposite of who I really am.
But, as this was the early days of YouTube, I also saw young American travelers being wild and crazy and seeing lots of success by doing it. So, I adopted another, wilder personality for my nightlife videos. It was too much and I think the handful of viewers who watched those videos could tell I wasn’t being myself.
It wasn’t until I finally stopped caring what people thought, pointed a camera at myself, and showed who I really am that I started seeing success on YouTube. That was in 2017, nine whole years after I started making travel videos. My channel has grown exponentially ever since, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my growth began once I dropped the facades. Always be yourself, no matter what. Everyone isn’t going to like you, and that’s fine. People who enjoy what you do will find you.
Travel vlogging is a lot harder than it looks, and I’ve certainly had my ups and downs since I started. One of the hardest moments came about two years after I started David’s Been Here. After two years of traveling Europe, we ran out of money and my assistant, videographer, and I had to go back home to Miami. For the next two years, I couldn’t afford to travel and I had to regroup and figure out how to move forward.
I was born on September 4, 1985. So you can do the math 😉
I know people sometimes think I’m from another country because of my accent, but I was born and raised in South Miami, Florida.
Yes! I have two little angels named Melina and Siena. They are my everything. Everything I do is for them.
This is a common question I get, probably because I’m fluent in Spanish. But contrary to popular belief, I’m not Latino. I’m Italian on my mom’s side and Hungarian on my dad’s side, with a bit of northwestern Europe and central Asia mixed in.
My parents met each other in Venezuela and then moved to Miami over 40 years ago. So I’m a first-generation American in my family.
In the past, I spent two years living in Barcelona, one of my favorite cities in the world. As for the future, maybe someday. I have big plans to open residences in countries all over the world. But living outside of Miami full-time would have to wait until after my daughters go off to college.
As of December 2022, I have visited 95 countries. So I still have over 100 to go!
I’m currently fluent in three languages. Spanish was my first language, and then I learned English in school and Italian as a young adult. I also want to learn Arabic, Hindi, Portuguese, and a bunch of other languages, too!
I have so many favorite dishes from around the world, from kao soi in Thailand to doubles in Trinidad and Tobago to nihari in Pakistan. But the one I always go back to is cacio e pepe, a creamy Roman dish that contains pasta, cheese, and pepper. It is the most divine dish on the planet!
This is another hard one. I love dishes like paneer chilli, biryani, lamb vindaloo, dosas, and pav bhaji, but my all-time favorite has to be pani puri. I first tried it in Mumbai in 2018 and I’ve been hooked on it ever since!
This is a good one. I actually do gain weight on trips. Sometimes I’ll gain upwards of five or ten pounds depending on how rich and carb-heavy the cuisine is. But in general, I stay pretty fit. When I’m not traveling, I practice intermittent fasting from 6pm until noon, and I generally eat very healthy at home. I also run and swim every day, and I go to the sauna to sweat and meditate. And, if you follow me on Instagram, you probably know I start every day with at least 100 pushups!
So many! Albania, India, Iran, Pakistan, Armenia, Iraq, and so many others. I've found that, most people, regardless of the country, are kind. Of course, there are exceptions here and there, but nearly everyone I met in those countries was friendly and hospitable.
Yes. There are some countries where the locals are very wary of being filmed. I came across it in certain parts of Suriname and Ghana. Because of the sad history of colonialism across Africa, a lot of people in Ghana are leery of white visitors, especially those with cameras. It’s understandable but also frustrating at times. My advice is to always travel with a professional guide and always ask if it’s okay to film. Always respect the wishes of anyone who doesn’t want to be on camera.
I have a pretty adventurous palate, so that’s a tough question to answer! Off the top of my head, I’d have to go with the squirming raw octopus I ate in Busan, South Korea. I also ate a live Tacoma worm in the jungles of Guyana. It’s definitely an acquired taste!
Yes, several times. Early in my travels, in 2008, I got extremely sick out in the Sahara Desert in Morocco after someone dumped a bucket of well water on my head. I guess some got in my mouth, because a few hours later, I was vomiting uncontrollably. We were hours away from the nearest city, so it was really scary. It got so bad, I had to go to the hospital!
I also got violently sick during my first trip to India in 2018, in the middle of a train ride from Delhi to Agra. I spent the last 30 minutes of that train ride holed up in the bathroom, purging the contents of my stomach from both ends. I could barely eat for over a week, and it took me nearly two weeks to fully recover. I have to give a huge thanks to my guides in Agra, Lucknow, Jaipur, and Varanasi, who took good care of me and took me to pharmacies to make sure I stayed hydrated.
I also caught a quick but nasty stomach bug in Pristina, Kosovo in 2020, and I also got sick from something I ate in Kumasi, Ghana in early 2021. Waking up vomiting at 5 a.m. is never a fun experience, especially when I have a production schedule I need to keep up with!
While it’s impossible to completely avoid foodborne illnesses when you’re a traveler, there are a lot of ways to lower your risk of getting sick. Here are my personal tips:
Avoid any food that doesn’t have a heat source on it. Food that sits out for hours with no visible heat source is a huge culprit for foodborne illnesses.
Also, avoid the local water in higher-risk countries. Only drink bottled water, keep your mouth closed when you shower, and NEVER brush your teeth with tap water.
Keep your hands clean. Wash them often. Carry a bar of soap and bottled water with you so you can easily clean your hands in locations where running water is scarce. If you don’t have soap, rinse your hands thoroughly with bottled water to get rid of any dirt, dry them, and then apply an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Take Pepto Diarrhea. After I got sick in India, my friend Trevor James (The Food Ranger) told me that he swears by Pepto Bismol and takes it before every meal when he travels. So far, it’s worked well for me. The only times I’ve gotten sick since then were times I didn’t take it beforehand. Also, many travelers swear by products like Travelan and charcoal tablets.
If you’re truly worried about getting sick from street food, avoid it. Food stalls on the street are rarely sanitary, especially in hot and humid destinations. If the vendors are handling money and the food they’re serving with their hands, it’s a recipe for food poisoning.
This is a question I get all the time. Basically, my video release schedule is very different from most other travel vloggers. I have some friends who literally edit and release videos right after they film them, and I also have friends who shot videos years ago that they’ve never released.
I typically release videos about three months after I film them. I also release the videos in the order I film them. That’s why you may have seen me visit countries recently on my social media but haven’t seen the videos from those countries on YouTube yet.
It’s a strategy that works well for me. Especially in 2020, when international travel essentially shut down for six months, I had enough videos in my backlog to last from March through the beginning of the summer. I was able to continue releasing travel content well into the pandemic. Unfortunately, a lot of friends of mine who don’t film as much as I do (and release their videos as soon as they film them) ran out of content almost immediately, and their businesses and finances suffered because of it.
Long story short, I was hired to be the food ambassador for Hawaii back in early 2020. I was supposed to visit six of the seven main islands of Hawaii over the course of three or four trips throughout the year. If you followed me back then, you may know that I filmed the first set of videos on the islands of Hawai’i and O’ahu in February, but then the world shut down a month later. The rest of my trips to the islands were postponed and eventually canceled altogether, and I wasn’t allowed to release the videos for nearly two years. So I’ve basically been sitting on this series ever since then. I promise to release the series at some point. I had some amazing adventures in Hawaii and I can’t wait to share them with you!
We are from Umbria. More specifically, the town of Gubbio, which is right in the middle of truffle territory! Truffles grow in the woods nearby, so the locals put them in everything! Learn more about Gubbio here.
Not really. My daughters and I go on family vacations once or twice a year, but they’re still too young to travel the world the way I do.
My next trip to India will be in 2023 at the earliest, but it may be even later than that. Possibly 2025. Right now, I’m looking at a few different states I may want to visit next, but I’m leaning toward Nagaland in northeast India. I actually had a trip to Nagaland planned at the end of 2019 but had to cancel it at the last minute, so I’m really looking forward to going!
I adore India. The Indian people have been so kind to me, and it’s a country I want to explore for the rest of my life. But I also have goals to explore other countries and try other cuisines. Right now, I only want to visit countries I’ve never experienced, so returning to countries I’ve already visited is on the back burner for now.
That’s a good question! You can see a world map showing all of the countries I’ve visited here. I update it after every trip to keep you guys up-to-date!
No. I could never run this operation completely by myself, especially at the quick pace at which we move. If I tried to do it all myself, I’d be a wreck! I have a global team who have become family to me.
My agent, Kyle, has represented me since 2016, and my assistant Brandon has been with me since 2018. I also hired my post-production manager, Nate, in the summer of 2022. We also have an editor, a social media manager for my Facebook, an intern, and a thumbnail editor. We’re looking to hire more people very soon!
I’ve wanted to open a restaurant for a while now, but the pieces never fully came together. To be honest, I’m looking to partner with a restauranteur who will run the restaurant, and I’ll be the face of it. I have many ideas for restaurants and windows I want to open in Miami, but timing is everything.
Jajaja, I get this question a lot. Yes, I know and am friends with lots of famous travel- and food vloggers. I’ve collaborated with many of them in the past on my channel, and on some of theirs as well. We may not speak to each other every day, but we certainly keep in touch with each other when we can!
Yes, all the time! It’s easy to be self-conscious about it at first, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll become. I’ve been doing this for almost 15 years now, so people staring or giving me strange looks when I film in public is second nature to me now. You just have to roll with it and not worry about what people are thinking.
From 2019 until late 2022, I filmed with a Panasonic GH5 Lumix. I recently upgraded to a Sony FX3. I also use an iPhone 13 for all of my Instagram and TikTok content.
When I was younger, I got a fish bone stuck in my throat, and it wouldn’t come out. I eventually had to make myself throw up in order to get it out. It was a horrible, terrifying experience, and I’ve been afraid of it happening again ever since!
I’ve been a huge fan of Star Wars and Marvel for decades. My dad first got me into Star Wars, and my brother Dennis got me into Marvel. We still try to see every Marvel movie together! Besides Marvel and Star Wars, I’m also passionate about studying geography and learning new languages.
Go to my main YouTube channel for full-length travel episodes and live streams several times per week. You’ll find a mix of older live streams, shortened episodes, and short-form behind-the-scenes content on my Davidsbeenhere Shorts YouTube channel.
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Great question! You can always reach out to me on social media, but the best place to get a response from me is the live chat during my YouTube live streams. I go live there several times a week to chat with you guys and answer all your burning travel and food questions. So please subscribe to me there, turn your notifications on, and let’s chat!