33% DEAD

This guy quit his job to travel the world—but he doesn’t think you should too

The perma-traveler.
The perma-traveler.
Image: Reuters/Pilar Olivares
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“I quit my job to travel the world.”

It’s a sentence that can raise the hackles of any practically-minded person. And yet, in the era of remote work, digital nomads, online influencers, and internet marketing schemes, it seems we are bombarded with the message more and more. “It’s easy to blow up your life and abandon all practicality in favor of endless adventure,” they seem to say. “Why on earth haven’t you tried it yet?”

One person that has tried it is Nuseir Yassin, a.k.a. “Nas Daily,” an Israeli-Arab originally from the city of Arabba in the Lower Galilee. But unlike the internet evangelists who insist that you should do it too, Nas isn’t here to tell you how to travel. Instead, he wants you to watch his daily, one minute-long videos (which he’s been making for roughly two years, amassing 648 videos and counting) and use them as a reminder: The clock is ticking.

Nas Daily was born when Yassin realized once he hit his mid-twenties that his life was 33% over. “Or basically 1/3 dead,” as he put it. A Harvard grad, he had a well-paying job at Venmo, an American work visa, and the usual New York lifestyle. But he couldn’t stop thinking about how he was waiting around for the day when he could tell people what he really thinks.

And so he stopped waiting. He quit his job, started traveling, and began posting a one minute video every day on Facebook—”where my friends actually were”—rather than YouTube—where he says he could be a lot richer by now. People seemed to like it, and his following grew. He now gets three to four million views per day, plans meet-ups with his followers in every country he goes to, and plans to continue the daily habit until he’s reached 1,000 consecutive videos. He wears his life percentage t-shirt (now at 34%) every day to remind him of the goal.

But does Nas think you should follow in his path? Not necessarily.

“I caution people away from quitting their jobs to travel the world because I don’t think traveling the world is a worthy cause on its own,” Nas said. “I’ve seen too many people who struggle financially who save thousands of dollars and go on a one year trip. And then they come back out of money, thirty years old, and back to living with their parents and saying ‘I’m back to getting any job possible to get more money for travel.'”

Indeed Nas says that despite appearances, he’s risk-averse. He admits that some amount of financial security was a necessary ingredient for him to embark on long-term travel; when he took off, he had a contingency plan and a chunk of savings to back him up if the channel didn’t take off. Today, he mostly lives as a nomad, and he earns an income both from his own videos’ revenue and from helping other people tell their stories.

He says the realities of long term travel, as well as the risks and downsides—he described recently walking from fully booked hotel to hotel with all his stuff—aren’t often discussed, which is why so many people are inclined to try the rather formulaic travel blogger or influencer route to earn a quick buck. Instead, he intentionally avoids dispensing travel advice altogether, and uses the daily videos as a way to share political, social, and thought-provoking oddities from around the world. Topics include why we generalize about African countries, the easiest border crossing in the world, the life of a mother, and India’s favorite sport.

In essence, Nas wants his legacy to be less about travel and more about time. If his videos inspire you to use the 33% philosophy even if you can’t quit your job to travel the world—because, let’s be honest, most of us can’t—then they’ve done their job.

“I just want to be someone whose opinion you entertain for 60 seconds at a time—but I want other people to be more cognitive of time,” Nas says. “There is good to be found anywhere in the world, and not necessarily only through travel.”