When did I discover Kara and Nate?
In 2019 I completed a rail journey from Portugal to Vietnam. Before departure I researched the Trans-Siberian route on Youtube, and I recall seeing a series of videos shot by an American couple. I thought they were informative and entertaining, but was left with the impression they spent a great amount of their time just eating! I had decided to film this journey and post the adventure on Youtube as a one-off series of videos. However, after seeing K+N, a little voice said to me, “You could do that as well.” I realised I didn’t have the charm, charisma or youth of K+N, but decided to start PlanesTrainsEverything. So it’s all their fault! They have inspired me, and continue to do so. However, it’s not possible to please everyone, and they do attract their fair share of criticism. I guess the solution is to please the majority, which they certainly do.
The purpose of this page is to give tips and advice learned over the years as a K+N viewer. If they can do it, you can do it too. All of the following information is available in the public domain, whether videos, podcasts or other K+N based websites.
Who are Kara and Nate?
Kara and Nate are an American vlogging couple from Nashville, Tennessee. The husband and wife team is comprised of Nathan "Nate" Buchanan (born March 20, 1989) and Kara Weaver (born February 27, 1991). They met in high school, and exchanged their wedding vows on June 15, 2013. Their five-year plan after marriage was to travel and then start a family. They lived at Wellington Farms Apartments, northeast of Nashville and only a few miles from Nate’s family home at Hendersonville.
Although they still have conversations about the ‘readiness’ of starting a family several times a year, neither is ready to end their current lifestyle. Kara has admitted that she thought, for the first time, of possibly not having children. Nate said having a family would be giving up so much freedom and it would be unfair to children, as he would feel resentment, as he wasn’t ready for that part of his life.  In November 2022 Kara said 'probably' to having a family. Nate said they were closer to having kids than they were three years earlier. 
Before marriage they had travelled to Haiti, on a mission trip, and Nate had done some travel elsewhere, but it was the honeymoon in Belize, which sparked their travel bug.
They spent their time on an all-inclusive island, but due to an error made by Nate, the flight home was booked one day later than their accommodation checkout date. They spent their last night in the town of Placencia, which ended up being one of the most exciting parts of their honeymoon. That’s when they thought they might want to travel. In the same year, Nate discovered travel hacking.
All wedding expenses had been charged to a Delta Skymiles credit card, and as a result of the air miles earned, they were able to fly to Florida and join a cheap cruise. That was when travel hacking became a ‘slight obsession’ according to Nate. They eventually signed up for 22 credit cards, meeting minimum spend requirements, and benefiting from the air miles and rewards offered.
Their story stems from a random opportunity to film a strangers wedding. With no previous camera experience, they opted to film everything they possibly could. On returning home, they realised they also didn’t have any experience with editing. With a two month turnaround to work on the project, they did end up delivering a final product - their first video. That first video became the stepping stone into their future career. By the time they left on their travels, six wedding videos had been shot and edited, giving K+N practical experience of what lay ahead. Originally their plan was to create a documentary of their travels until vlogging was discovered after following Casey Neistat on Youtube. Other inspiration was gained from ‘Fun for Louis’, ‘Jon Olsson’ and ‘Mr Ben Brown’.
The first week of video editing was undertaken by Nate, as Kara was busy editing a wedding video. She was also unsure about the whole Youtube idea, but was so impressed with Nate’s work, she soon came on board.  In the early days, Kara struggled with the travelling/video production balance, but the positive feedback kept the momentum going.
One online vlogger wrote “Kara is extremely sensitive. With this comes extreme highs and lows. She has a ton of love to give and her excitement on camera is genuine. But when things go really downhill, she crashes. That's where Nate comes in and that's why they make such a good pair. Like Nate has said, she's the "fun" one, but he's there when needed.”
So, who are Kara and Nate?
NATE: Nate stands 5'10" tall and weighs 160lb. He had been mildly obsessed with the idea of full-time travel for a few years. In January 2015 they were sitting inside a Dairy Queen, when their conversation went in the direction of long-term travel and how feasible it would be. By February 2015 their first camera had been bought, a Canon EOS6D, and then a Canon Powershot G7X in December 2015. Nate had watched around 50 Casey Neistat videos and realised money could be made on Youtube by filming your daily life, and even make a living from it. It was Nate who turned Kara into a Neistat fan.
Nate left school and started a driveway cleaning service. He later started up a custom apparel and promotional products company, Peanut Butter Printing. T-shirts with their logo featured on a number of earlier videos, and since Covid-19 forced them to start their Vanlife series of videos, the Peanut Butter Printing shirts have made a re-appearance. Both Kara and Nate occasionally wearing shirts and tops with the company logo, as well as a friend or two as well, and had been seen as late as May 2021. This is what you call subliminal advertising. If you can’t increase your own income, you may as well increase exposure to your brother’s business.
He believes travelling with a camera hasn’t diluted their travel experiences, but actually enhanced them, giving them a purpose each day to create the best video possible. He is also a self-confessed list creator. He enjoys creating lists, and enjoying the sense of accomplishment when everything is crossed off. His dream job growing up was to be a fishing guide in Florida. He has never had a regular 9-to-5 job, and says he wouldn’t perform well if he had to work underneath someone else. He first became comfortable with their Youtube income when they hit 100,000 subscribers.
He admits he is the more adventurous and stubborn of the two. He is an avid supporter of the Nashville Predators ice hockey team, and learned to surf at a basic level while in Mexico, May 2019. Nate has sensitive sinuses and doesn't like packing cubes. Nate says he had avoided dancing throughout his life because he was embarrassed and self-conscious. He then dances (not too badly) for the camera. 
Nate would love a Land Rover Defender, saying he would like to buy one when returning to the US. It’s his ‘dream car’. He joked one day they might be seen roadtripping in one of these vehicles (September 2017). In June 2020, the idea of roadtripping became a reality, but it was a converted Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Panel van. He occasionally tries self-discipline trials, such as enduring a month of cold showers, or a coffee-free month. This is what he calls a ‘hard re-set’.
Nate believes Voodoo Donuts in Portland, OR, are the best donuts he has ever tasted.
In 2018 while in southern Asia, Nate found a scab on the back of his head which wouldn’t heal. It was diagnosed as an infected hair follicle. Two tears later a biopsy revealed it was a basal cell. Most basal cell carcinomas are thought to be caused by long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. Could this be a result of Nate’s continuous travelling lifestyle?
KARA: Kara is 5'5" tall and weighs 130lb. She attended the University of Tennessee where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in child and family studies. After graduating from college, Kara got a job as a teacher. According to her LinkedIn page, she was a teacher at The Gardener School, and also taught pre-school at The Academy of Indian Lake Village. Kara admits she is the more sociable of the two, takes longer to get ready and is clumsier, She loves yoga, and occasionally features her postures on Youtube videos, although admittedly not as many in recent years. She loves Casey Neistat, and nearly lost control when she met him at the 2018 Shorty Awards. She admits to not liking being bossed about and first felt comfortable with their Youtube income three years into their travels. She admits to loving packing cubes and can't travel without a coffee 'pour over'.
The hardest thing about being travel Youtubers is, for Kara, the balance of living her dream life and also allowing herself to have negative feelings.  Kara has come over, on occasions, as being ‘geographically challenged’, forgetting place names, using wrong place names, and recently, during their RAGBRAI bike ride across Iowa, from west to east, thinking the next state across the border was New York. She forgot about Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania being in the way. In October 2021, at Niagara Falls NY, she admitted it never crossed her mind she would need a passport to cross from the USA into Canada.
Kara has always thought Youtube would fizzle out, and so doesn't think long-term about being a Youtuber. In fact she doesn't think long term about anything. She admits to being an 'in the moment', today, right-now kind of person.
On the first ever K+N video, Kara sums up her future and feelings quite well:
“Welcome to my new life – chasing Nate (through airports) to our gate."
“Kara, how are you feeling?”
“Freaking out, but in a good way.”
Kara loves sushi, doesn’t eat donuts, or eat breakfast in general – unless you include a cup of coffee as breakfast. She often wears glasses when editing on her laptop, always starts her day with coffee, hates pigeons and does a terrible Australian accent. She is the first to admit her eyebrows are naturally thin, and gets online comments about why she should stop plucking them. Her biggest regret is that she never kept a diary from the start of their travels. She also claims they are both 80-90% vegetarian. 
Their proudest videos were the series on the ascent to Everest base camp, and their scariest adventure was the Swiss glacier crossing (see controversies below).
AS A COUPLE: They have no fixed address. They use a guestroom at Kara’s parents’ house at Hendersonville, TN., as a base when in the USA. Nate’s parents also live in Hendersonville. In 2017 they admitted they could not speak any foreign languages, but were both learning Spanish through Duolingo.
Their political views are kept a secret. There is a reference online of an older video showing them watching Donald Trump’s inauguration. Many think they’re Republicans, being from the south and never mentioning anything political such as BLM protests etc. In their Bloops video dated 7th February 2020 they try to impersonate then-President Donald Trump. However, this might just be stereotyping. Good Youtubers keep their videos as neutral as possible as to not alienate their fan base, and to avoid discouraging future subscribers.
In 2018 they invented the word ‘workation’, a vacation from travel to focus on work, while enjoying an exotic location as their base. In May 2019, while in Mexico, Nate grew a moustache. Kara said she loved it, but Nate eventually shaved it off.
Both love Snickers, and tend to eat one each as a form of celebration when reaching mountain summits etc. In August 2021 Kara admitted the best part of their canoe trip in northern Minnesota had been the disconnection from the internet and phone, having played such an important part of their online lives for the last five years.
They fell in love with riding Vespas in Italy and are both skateboard riders. They can be seen skating through Heathrow Terminal 3 , which is discouraged by the airport operators.
After just eleven months of travel, they admitted they had become divas. They boarded a trans-Atlantic American Airlines flight which did not offer in-flight entertainment, being one of the oldest aircraft in the AA fleet. Kara asked “What the heck are we going to do?”
Both listen to music while working on their laptops, but when not working, they often listen to podcasts. Nate likes business podcasts, and in particular Mike Rowe.
They describe 2019 as their best year so far. Their growth and popularity was continuing unabated until the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020. Their subscriber numbers continued to grow, but their monetisation revenue was hit hard, as US videos attracted fewer views than their international videos, resulting in a lower income.
Their biggest tradeoff is being away from family and friends for extended periods. There are not many people they can relate to, so they keep in touch with many content creators who share the same lifestyle. . Every day they feel insecure about their Youtube career and believe 2022 is the pinacle.
The future? There are no plans for children in the foreseeable future, and Nate believes their Youtube empire can survive ‘for at least another 3-5 years’ (up until 2026). Some viewers have suggested they are maximising all revenue opportunities so they can call an end to their travels without any financial hardship and start a family. During a Q&A session  they admitted they still don't know about having a family. Kara admits she's probably the most nervous of the two about having kids. Raising children terrifies Kara.
They agree, if they were to give up their life on Youtube and settle down anywhere, and family wasn’t an issue, they would choose Colorado in the United States with a van which could be driven south to Baja, and also Italy. In a June 2022 video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIY4PSilhb4 ) they spent time on a boat in a Bahamas with a Youtube family which included two children. K+N were very impressed with this lifestyle, and there was an admission full time boat life could be something they could see themselves doing in the future. With a young family perhaps??
GOAL NUMBER ONE: (Travel for One Year)
Having been married for almost two years, they decided to do some travelling before life got serious. Before leaving Nashville, Nate sold his custom apparel and promotional products company, Peanut Butter Printing, to his brother, which gave them a good financial foundation for their travels. Friends had just completed filming a documentary about visiting all 50 US states (their inspiration in 2019? See below), and this made them realise a documentary of their trip could was possible. They tried a test run at filming and standing in front of a camera at Hoover Dam, which was anything but successful. (How much would we love to see that video??) The online dream started on the 9th December 2015 when they joined Youtube. In January 2016 they moved out of their apartment, sold their cars, placed all possessions into storage and boarded one way flight to Tokyo. They had saved $35,000 to fund a full year of travel, along with 1.8 million air miles, many of them earned through purchases for his apparel company. After travelling they would return to Nashville to settle down, look at career options and start a family. That didn’t quite go according to plan. Initially the videos were designed to be a memory of their travels, available to their family and friends. The feedback was so positive, including feedback from strangers, this encouraged them to post daily vlogs. After a few weeks, they decided to keep the momentum going.
In the earliest K+N videos, Nate was in charge of finances, and he was frugal. They had to be, because they were on a tight budget. Financial restraints were a feature, however those days are long gone.
After six months the revenue from Youtube could assist them in extending their travelling dreams. At that point a decision was made to focus on Youtube as a source of income and create a business around the channel. In fact, their videos weren’t monetised until six months into their travels. They opened their Patreon account in June 2016. At the time they felt they were asking for a handout to continue their travels. They saw their work as spending eight hours per day producing high-quality videos. This was a good decision and would become one of their largest regular income streams.
While in Thailand they met two bloggers who had less monthly viewers than they had, but were able to sit for their advance diving certification for free, because of the publicity they would offer in return. This opened their eyes to a brand new world, and at that time K+N had less than 1,000 subscribers. They had assumed you needed tens of thousands of subscribers to benefit from sponsorship.
Shortly afterwards, while in Chiang Mai, Nate contacted three businesses – a zip line company, an elephant sanctuary, and a Thai cooking school, and all three agreed to free participation for exposure on their Youtube channel.
The Trans-Siberian series of videos were their first videos to really take off, with one video reaching one million views. K+N had made a deal where, once their finances had dropped to $15,000, they would call an end to their travels. However, the success of the Trans-Siberian videos and the monetisation earned, allowed them to continue, and that was a turning point in their travels.
GOAL NUMBER TWO: (100 Countries by Nate’s 30th birthday)
In July 2016, while hiking in Cape Town, they set themselves a goal of reaching 100 countries by the end of 2018 , which was then changed to Nate’s 30th birthday on March 20th 2019. . They decided they would live on less than $75 per day, but Youtube revenue brought in just $10-15 per day. Six months into their travel they decided to start their business, by starting a Patreon page, where they earned $30-40 per video. They were on their way to funding a second year of travel. In fact, Nate admitted their financial situation didn’t break even until their second year of travel.
They went home for a short period of time to plan the path ahead and to attend a wedding. Nate was approached with a job offer that would see him paid six-figures, but it would mean their travel plans would be put on pause. Ultimately, their passion for travel and sensing opportunity on YouTube helped with the decision to continue.
They said they missed their friends and family, and found constant travel hard work and tiring, They were turning down opportunities because of the pressure of the March 2019 deadline, and a decision was made to extend the 100 country goal until December 2019.
GOAL NUMBER THREE: (100 Countries by December 2019)
Nate was quoted as saying “Our travels will definitely slow down after we reach 100 countries, but that’s all we’re sure of at this point.”. This goal was achieved in December 2019, but not without controversy (see below). Their travels may have not slowed down, moving from airport lounge life to van life as a result of Covid-19, but the frequency of their videos have, currently running at one release per week.
The 100th Country Party took place at Marathon Music Works located in Nashville Tennessee, Kara & Nate’s hometown. There were originally going to be 250 tickets for this event but K+N decided to increase it to 750 once they saw how fast those tickets sold out (did they sense a money making opportunity?). They learned at the 100th Country Party that there was also an extensive waitlist of people who were also trying to attend this event from all over the world. They then shared with us the unveiling of their ‘1 Million Subscriber‘ award which they had just received from YouTube.
GOAL NUMBER FOUR: (Visit all US States)*
In February 2021  Kara said their plan over the ‘next few months’ was to visit all 50 states with the van, but this plan had a proviso; * they would exclude states featured already on the channel, meaning 20 would be immediately removed from the list, leaving only 30 states. They planned to visit a new state every week, but even at this rate, it would take around 5 months to achieve this goal. The goal was amended to visit all US 50 states by the end of summer (2021) . A decision was made to leave North Dakota to last because there is a ‘Best for Last Club’ in Fargo, which awarded travellers a T-shirt and certificate to travellers who visit all 50 states and leave North Dakota to last. In September 2021 Nate advised they were in no hurry to visit all 50 states, and may take up to 18 months. There was a sense that if this goal was prolonged, we might forget about it. He mentioned a number of comments regarding visiting Alaska and Hawaii by van. Nate said “if” they drive to Alaska, this journey would have to be undertaken in the summer, and he was tempted to have the van shipped to Hawaii just to prove the comments wrong. In April 2022 a video was uploaded called "The End of Van Life?" ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zswlP4d-aH0 ) with the comment "Thoughts on this chapter coming to an end? Mixed emotions over here." Another video uploaded in April 2022 ( https://youtu.be/IgS8ozy2G4Y ) announced "We have lived in our van for 2 years. That's such a big chunk of our life, and I'm just so glad that we're ending it with such good memories. Like it was truely the pinnacle of van life. I can't imagine a better trip. I mean, who knows. Maybe we'll move back in one day, but it won't be for a very long time." Does that mean they hope Goal number four will disappear and be forgotten about? In a June 2022 Q&A session , the 50 States Goal was brought up. Kara pats Nate on the shoulder reassuringly and then makes herself scarce, as if feeling uncomfortable. There was an admission they had lost enthusiam, the videos started performing poorly and international travel opened back up. Completing the goal isn't in their plans right now.
WHAT’S AN AVERAGE WORKING DAY LIKE?
According to Nate “it depends on what you consider ‘work’.”
Nate wakes first, and wakes Kara with a cup of coffee. This is featured on most videos. They work on their laptops, Kara used to edit videos (they now employ two editors) and write etc. until lunch. In the afternoon they head outside to shoot that day’s content. This is always the highlight of their day as they are either eating new foods or taking part in an experience, which makes a good video. They return back to their hotel or Airbnb and work again for a few more hours, retiring for the night around midnight.
However, these ‘average’ days don’t happen too often. Occasionally their routine is turned upside down due to early morning filming requirements, or sometimes it doesn’t happen until late in the afternoon or evening. It depends on what’s on their filming schedule that day. Overall, they spend 6-8 hours per day behind a laptop.
In January 2017 Kara said she started the day by reading every single comment . Six years later, with 3.4 million subscribers, this probably isn’t possible. Nate does most of the travel planning, and most of the time is spent researching places to stay overnight. They admitted the Youtube channel was now a job, with more time being invested in the channel. They agree they have the best job in the world , although in May 2019 they spent a month in Mexico to edit six weeks of videos and to recuperate, due to exhaustion. The term ‘workation’ was invented in 2018 to describe a vacation from travel to focus on work, while enjoying an exotic location as their base.
In 2018 Kara and Nate won the Best in Travel category at the annual Shorty Awards, described as honouring the best people and organizations on social media, which culminates in a blockbuster ceremony in New York City. According to the Shorty Awards website, these three videos were their best work at the time of the nomination:
TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY JOURNEY BEGINS! First Class Wagon Tour (October 2017)
2 YEARS OF FULL-TIME TRAVEL | 66 COUNTRIES! (January 2018)
WE SLEPT ON THE SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN | Peru Sky Lodge (June 2017)
Although it was a great achievement to win this award it’s important to put this into focus. Every aspect of modern consumer life has an award, and most have multiple organisers. As time goes on, the importance of award winning is being diluted by the sheer number of awards and organisers. Only when a winner consistently wins, or is consistently nominated, do people really sit up and take notice. Think Peter O'Toole and Glenn Close who have both received eight Academy Award nominations, but never won.
In September 2021 they announced by email they has been nominated in the category of ‘Couples Influencer of the Year’ at the American Influencer Awards. The winner in determined by popular vote, and a ‘click here to vote’ link was provided.
It’s fantastic to be nominated for any recognition. A previous travel website of mine was nominated years ago (I didn’t win). It’s just important to keep the large number of awards out there in perspective.
Nate focuses a great deal of attention in his hair, which is a good thing when you see younger pictures of him. In fact his hair is so important, his first foreign haircut was featured in a video.
He showed the hairdresser a picture of himself on his phone so he could show how he wanted it styled. No matter what Nate encounters during the day, his hair looks immaculate.
He has been told many times he looks like Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. Here’s a comparison shot of both gentlemen.
Nate is the one on the left without the diamond ear studs.
There have been comments online during 2021 that say Kara is looking tired and worn out. Here’s a picture of Kate on her first ever flight filmed for Youtube in January 2016 compared with a shot from a kayaking adventure in Northern Minnesota in July 2021. In all fairness Kara was wearing light make-up on that flight and not while kayaking, but there are signs of fatigue.
. . .
The 100th Country Video : Although this was probably their biggest controversy, Nate handled the fallout, apology and damage limitation well . The problem can be summed up in one word – paywall. After following K+N through 99 countries, suddenly viewers had to pay to watch the 100th country video . Nate said this was an experiment, having seen it work on the Yes Theory Youtube channel. With a video of over an hour in length, Nate didn’t think Youtube’s algorithms would work so well with such long form content, so looked for an alternative form of revenue. He encouraged viewers to “pay whatever you think it’s worth”, which was difficult to do as payment was required before watching the video. Also, by paying $100 or more, your name would appear on the credits at the end of the video, and also receive a personalised ‘Thank You’ video. By introducing a paywall, they broke their unwritten agreement with their viewers. In advertising, consumers will accept advertising in return for a provision, in this case, advertising in exchange for Youtube videos. By requesting payment, this unwritten contract was broken. As way of an apology, the video immediately became free-to-view. This video was to be their 2nd most disliked video with just a 73% approval rating. During a June 2022 Q&A session  Nate confirmed the most subscribers were lost with their 100th country video. "You would think we asked for their first born child." he said. Kara admitted "I thought our life was over."
The fallout: Kara was in tears and comments were turned off, only to be turned on again once Nate’s apology was made. The ‘We Messed Up’ video  revealed the most common comments received by emails included “hurt” and “betrayed”. Nate personally answered over 400 emails. Viewers saw the change of format as being a money-making exercise. In January 2020, the K+N channel attracted 18,753,462 views, but in February this had dropped to 8,555,219, a drop of around 54%. Despite this setback, video views have continued to rise since. New subscriber numbers dropped from a healthy 130,000 in January to 50,000 in February. Youtube statistical website Socialblade actually showed a two week period in late December 2019 where they failed to increase their subscriber numbers – the first time since Socialblade statistics are available from August 2018.
Viewer comments were scathing. It was suggested by some that they hoped to move to a subscription-based or pay per video model for their loyal followers. They objected to viewers voicing their opinions by calling them “meanies” and turning off comments. Images of Kara crying, although she was genuinely upset, were filmed to score ‘pity points’.
Portland : As one comment said “People that have traveled in Iraq are shaken by their experience in Portland.” The homelessness “poor ambassadors” and boarded-up shops featured in the video made many people angry. Nate tried to strike a balance in the video, but the overwhelming feeling was that they felt a little unsafe in the ‘sketchy’ parts of town, and apart from featuring the world’s smallest park, the only other attraction mentioned was a donut shop. As another viewer commented after watching the Portland video “Everything they do reeks of privilege.” Another viewer remarked “They had no problem shooting scenes of poverty in other countries and glamourising it. Seems that poverty is not as photogenic in the US.” The Portland video seemed to turn off many viewers.
Videos are sometimes out of touch with most viewers: Based on comments, their flight from Nashville to Las Vegas in January 2021 was seen as not ‘absolutely necessary’. They indicated their concern at flying at that time, due to Covid-19, but all was forgotten when, as revealed on later videos, they stayed in a $10,000 per night penthouse and rented a $150,000 Revel motor home. Many claimed this was irresponsible behaviour during a pandemic. Nate has admitted they went through a stage in their Youtube career where they accepted tours and experiences which most viewers would not be able to relate to, such as an Antarctic cruise or a visit to the Galapagos Islands. Their extreme, unrelatable videos have lost them viewers, but their continued success has made up for these losses. Many people mourn the loss of the budget-related travel, the sacrifices they had to make, and the trials and tribulations when they were inexperienced travellers. Despite the admission to taking unrelatable journeys, in August 2022 for example,they still continued this trend, which included a luxury cruise to the North Pole.
Kara once admitted some of their ‘epic’ videos didn’t result in high viewing numbers. One such video was the lazer tag video filmed in Las Vegas. They had high hopes for this video, but it didn’t attract the high viewer numbers as hopes. What they regard as ‘epic’ often doesn’t convert into epic viewing figures, because viewers can’t connect or relate to the subject matter. They claim this was part of their Youtube learning experience. Unfortunately they still fall into this trap having rented a $650,000 Earthroamer motorhome in 2021 for 24 hours. Their ‘learning experience’ was forgotten on this occasion, as they knew they would earn serious revenue. [See revenue graph below.]
Filming without a permit / National Park fine : In October 2020 a tearful K+N announced they had been reported to the National Park Service, on the grounds they had been carrying out commercial filming without the permitted paperwork. A viewer had made this complaint. What particularly hurt them was that their online openness and transparency with their quarterly income and expenditure was used as evidence that their Youtube filming was commercial. They promptly responded to the allegation, and were issued a $1,000 fine and a ban from filming in parks in the future. Their videos were no different from other Youtube content providers, but it is more difficult to prove others made an income. With K+N it was openly available online. The necessary information required, and date and time commitment to each visit, as well as the months of waiting for permission to be granted, ended their National Park visits. As a result, their Vanlife series of videos and potential locations to be highlighted were seriously compromised. In January 2021, to their relief, a D.C. Federal Judge ruled that it was unconstitutional for the National Park Service to require permits or charge fees for commercial filming on its land, as it abridged the freedom of speech, or of the press.
On a similar slant, in October 2021 K+N crossed from the USA into Canada at Niagara Falls. When an official asked what their occupation was in the United States, Nate said they made Youtube videos, with the caption ‘Nods in Fear’. He obviously realised at this point filming in Canada (i.e. working in Canada) could require a special permit. When asked if they would be working while in Canada, Nate said they would potentially be shooting a video (read as ‘definitely shooting a video’), but nothing was planned!!
FAA / Drone Licence : In October 2020 K+N announced they had been reported to the Federal Aviation Administration by a viewer. The allegation was that Nate’s drone flying was a commercial activity, again supported by their online quarterly income and expenditure reports. Commercial drones require a permit, which meant their superb aerial shots would be grounded until Nate passed a Drone Pilot Licence test (which he sat for and passed in November 2020.)
Gorner Glacier Crossing : In August 2019, K+N visited Switzerland. Because of the expense in staying at their mountain hut for an extra night (a bottle of water cost $10), a decision was made to cross the glacier despite the gloomy weather reports. They ended up soaked, cold, scared, at one point lost, and helpless (no guide) while a thunderstorm raged around them. They admit this was the scariest day of their lives. Many saw this as completely irresponsible, risking their lives just to save some money. Viewers weren’t impressed, giving the video a 10% ‘thumbs down’ rating and making this their 6th most disliked video of all time. In fact a number of viewers said there was an original video of this crossing, but it was removed, possibly due to the number of negative comments received.
Change of accent: If you watch a current K+N video, and then watch an earlier video, you will notice a big change in their accents. One change is that they don’t say the great southern “y’all” any more, which is a shame. Nate has admitted he was surprised at how slow his southern drawl was in the early days, and now deliberately speaks faster. They claim their southern accents have became faded after a year of overseas travel. This is unlikely as most of their conversations, on a daily basis, are with each other. It takes decades for an accent to become diluted. They also admit their southern accents return when they are home, proving they can switch it on and off when required. I recently listened to a podcast about the southern drawl and how many people assume this equates to being under-educated. As a result, many entertainers have diluted their accent to appeal to a wider audience. There has been in recent years a ‘Southern Pride’ movement where people refuse to change their accents and good on them too. K+N are from Tennessee, and so is their accent. They should be proud of their accents, be ambassadors for their State, instead of becoming internationalised.
Tipping the Maid : On departure from the Philippines K+N tipped their housekeeper $500. It was a nice gesture, but was it really necessary to film the entire process, complete with hidden cameras, and feature this in a Youtube video? Why not just offer the tip, and keep it low key? A number of viewers described this as ‘self-congratulatory’ and shallow, as the revenue from the video would cover the tip. However the vast majority of viewers failed to see the lack of ethics in the gesture and gave the video a 98% approval.
Environmental awareness: Nate loves to mention the 313,000 American Airlines frequent traveller miles earned in 2015 was from a two-week, 92,000-mile mileage run. He lived in airports and on airplanes for two weeks while flying back and forth 3 times between Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Hong Kong. During the trip he slept on airplanes 14 of the 15 nights. He was taking advantage of a business class ‘mistake’ fare. I made a calculation through an online carbon footprint calculator, and those journeys resulted in 49.6 tonnes of CO2e ending up in the atmosphere, and in return Nate earned a net profit of $2,595 in air miles. K+N’s international jetsetting lifestyle has received some criticism, which as far as I am aware, has never been addressed, or even acknowledged. In these days of environmental awareness it is possible to pay a carbon offset fee to many airlines during the reservation process, or even use an independent carbon offset company, but so far their conscience hasn’t spoken to them loud enough to take heed.
Fleeting visits with no depth to videos: This was summed up during the Russia and Trans-Siberian video series (2017). There was a sense they felt uncomfortable in Russia. They used a guide in Moscow, they used a first class cabin on board the majority of their trip to Vladivostok, which insolated themselves from interaction with other passengers. In fact it took them two days to realise a timetable of the journey was posted in the corridor, and two days before they ventured out of their carriage and onto a platform. At regular intervals, trains stopped for up to 20 minutes. There was little attempt to pronounce the stations they visited, and at Irkutsk they joined an organised hike to Lake Baikal. Another example was seen while in London. They had fish and chips at a Wetherspoons pub. That’s like visiting the United States and eating at McDonalds. There is much online criticism of their fleeting visits to countries where the priority is to check a country off their list. In their defence, they have said having a country target looming forced them to miss other opportunities, which is something they hope to address post-Covid.
Being irresponsible during Covid-19: In January 2021 a video called ‘Flying in 2021’ was posted . K+N videos receive a constant positive rating of usually 97-99%, but this video received just 85%, which meant around 15%, or over 128,000 viewers leaving feedback, disliked the video. This was the third most disliked video posted by K+N to date. Something obviously had gone wrong. Based on comments, their flight from Nashville to Las Vegas was seen as not ‘absolutely necessary’. They indicated their concern at flying at that time, but all was forgotten when, as revealed on later videos, they stayed in a $10,000 per night penthouse, played laser tag with light aircraft, and rented a $150,000 Revel motor home. Many claimed this was irresponsible behaviour during a pandemic, with comments such as “It's okay for these entitled influencers to travel but the rest of us better stay at home.” and “Why are they featuring [the flight/destination] unless it’s for their own personal gain.”
Cancer Scare: One questionable video was released in October 2021 . No one takes skin cancer lightly, and Nate is no exception. He debated for some time whether he wanted to talk publicly about this, despite shooting related footage since July. He was sure he would wear a bandage and have a big bald spot on his head, which was something he didn't want to hide. As it turned out, there was no need to worry. Apart from a one-minute scene in the next video, called 'Driving our Van to Canada' and a few short shots, there was no bandage or any bald spot to be scene on this video or subsequent videos. In fact, the cancer scare could have been covered in this video with a brief explanation, but a separate video gaining over 1.6 million views and the resulting revenue took priority. The 12:33 long video was complimented with mournful music and several moments of reflection to build up the tension. As Puff Daddy once sang, It’s all about the Benjamins.
They had never imagined touring the US in a van until they had a family or were older. After returning to the United States and quarantining for a month, Kara said, due to Covid-19 abruptly ending their jetsetting lifestyle, they had some serious adjusting to do, and were worried about the future of their Youtube channel. She admitted they were totally clueless about van life, and it felt like starting travel all over again. In May 2020 they bought a converted Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Panel Van, costing just over $40,000, which was their biggest joint-purchase since marriage. A further $5,000 was spent renovating the van to suit their own needs.
K+N have been accused of jumping on a van life bandwagon, used by a number of Youtubers when Covid-19 stopped their international travel and compromised their revenue stream. In actual fact a vote was held on Instagram as to what they should do:
A) Ride bicycles across the US
B) Van life across the US
C) Buy a sailboat
D) Renovate an Airbnb
It wasn’t clear why only these four possibilities were offered, and who came up with the list. Also, they didn’t make public on Youtube how the voting went. We must assume it was a genuine vote.
Nate has admitted he’s not good with his hands, not a handy person. During the early van life months, Nate felt fed up with the maintenance side of living that way, because he was determined to save money by doing as much work himself. As a result on one occasion he almost electrocuted himself and later tested a butane leak with a lighter.
Kara said, having never owned a house before, having to repair things came as a shock, and this was an inconvenience. She blamed her negative attitude in the early days of van life down to poor sleep because of an uncomfortable bed. 
Should Covid-19 disappear tomorrow and they had the opportunity to travel internationally again, Nate said he would find a way of toppling the van over a cliff.  Kara said it was important to acknowledge van life was their Plan B. In a video from February 2021  K+N can’t hide their disappointment that they are back to van life.
They have tried to laugh off viewer comments about their dislike of van life. They received their first Covid-19 vaccination in a video dated 2nd May 2021. One of Nate’s first comments was “Now we are that much closer to getting on an airplane and flying to a foreign country.” After this exciting development, Nate claimed her was now enjoying van life since many of the kinks in the van had been solved. The ‘one step closer’ remark was said two further times, suggesting Nate was impatient to escape van life and leave the USA. One week later  Nate claims to be loving van life.
Kara once said, "It's been kind of fun to force ourselves to see more of our home country." To suggest they were ‘forced’ to see the USA suggests domestic travel would not be their first choice of travel. As one viewer commented, “The whole 'vanlife' doesn't seem real. It just seems that it is a way of travelling around the US without having to pay to stay somewhere all the time, unless they get a sponsored stay.” Many agree the vanlife series was all about maintaining their social media presence and income. As Youtube was their ‘job’, maintaining an income during Covid travel pans was essential. There were very few travel-related alternatives.
HUSBAND AND WIFE TEAM = TENSION?
They never had any fights until they started working together. At one point Kara wondered whether the tension between them was worth having a Youtube channel.  The majority of their arguments came from having different creative visions for their videos. Kara has a more casual style while Nate prefers polished and professional. Nate says, while it's not always fun finding that middle ground, it helps create a unique style and strong brand. Because of the larger number of daily decisions to be made, there is more ground for disagreement. Being hungry, tired or lost also adds to tension. Travelling together forces them to work out their differences there and then, as there’s no walking away or hiding. They quickly fell into a comfortable rhythm. Nate concentrates filming while Kara used to do the editing. However, Nate felt for some time it was unhealthy for Kara to edit their videos. If he did something to make her angry, she would re-watch the event, and so he would get in trouble twice.
They are also realistic in the demands of running a Youtube channel as a business. If they decide a week in a hotel is required to edit the work and plan the next steps, then that’s what they do. They do a ‘watch and edit’ once Kara had completed the editing. According the Nate, this is when most arguments occur, as he wants parts removed, which he thinks are boring or stupid. During a June 2022 Q&A session  pet hates were brought up. When do they fight the most? When Kara is told what to do by Nate. Kara's pet peeve with Nate is that he has some control issues. If he loses control of a situation, he takes it out on Kara. (Nate looked uncomfortable learning this.) Nate says his pet peeve is that Kara's late... a lot. He sees punctuality as being inconsiderate, and when it happens Nate feels uncomfortable. Kara has since mentioned they have two editors who do this work for her.  She still uses Adobe Premiere Pro to edit videos when required, uploading files onto a cloud server which is then accessed by the editing team.
BEST AND WORST
-Best food experiences are SE Asian street food, like fried noodles, dumplings, genuine Italian food.
-Favourite places are wherever she is at the time. Favourite place in SE Asia is Hanoi, Vietnam and South Korea. Kara has said her least favourite question is "What's your favourite country?" 
-Best food experiences are sushi and ramen.
-Favourite places are Chaing Mai, Japan and Italy.
-The place you would return to tomorrow… Maldives.
They both love Mexican food and agree the Khao Soi in Chiang Mai is hard to beat.
-Least favourite food - Stinky Tofu.
-In August 2021 they announced these were their favourite airport lounges:
7) Japan Airlines First class lounge, Tokyo Narita
6) Qantas First class lounge, Sydney
5) The Wing First class lounge, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong (this is Kara’s personal favourite)
4) The Pier First class lounge, Hong Kong
3) Business class lounge, Doha
2) American Express Centurian lounge, Dallas Fort Worth
1) Turkish Airlines business class lounge, Istanbul
Nate says The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai is one of the top three hotels he has ever stayed in. 
Their favourite accommodation is an Airbnb. Their worst experience happened in June 2017 when they found themselves waiting by the side of a road, in the dark, for an hour, waiting for the owner to arrive. This property was a shared home and not an apartment as advertised.  They also managed to lock themselves out of the Airbnb in Tallinn in September 2017, which Nate admitted was the first time this had happened in 20 months of travel. Nate does make the occasional mistake with bookings. They arrived into Calama, Chile in January 2017 to discover Nate had not ended transaction on his car rental booking, and found cars couldn’t be booked at the airport – only in advance. They finally caught a bus for the 1½ hour journey to their Airb&b in San Pedro, but this didn’t alleviate the problem as they had planned to have a car for a week while based there. Landing on their feet, their Airb&b host agreed to rent his car to them for a week.
HOW DO THEY AFFORD THIS LIFESTYLE?
K+N were open about their earnings, and the first four years of income and expense are available through their website. The reason for this transparency was to show how cheaply people could travel, but into the third year, as they started making quarterly profits, they started feeling more uncomfortable about sharing this information. This transparency continued until they reached 100 countries. The main factor was the Paywall controversy (see above). Many negative comments used their profit figures as ammunition to criticise K+N for charging $1 when that charge was unnecessary, seen as many as simply greed.
→ Air miles: K+N were married in June 2013, and all wedding expenses were charged to a Delta Skymiles credit card. As a result of the air miles earned, they were able to fly to Florida and join a cheap cruise. That was when travel hacking became a ‘slight obsession’ according to Nate. They signed up for 22 credit cards before travelling full time. They began their travels with two million frequent flyer miles they saved up before leaving Nashville. Nate created a free three part video series showing how to travel anywhere in the world for less than $100 - https://karaandnate.com/fly-anywhere-for-100/ In the summer of 2015, Nate discovered a mistake fare, and exploited it. With Kara’s permission, he flew 92,000 miles in two weeks. He experienced 150 hours in airports, 15 business class flights, 14 airport lounges, three countries and two nights wandering the streets of Hong Kong. He found a mistake fare, advertised at US$700.00 return Sao Paulo-Hong Kong, and this is how he did it:
1) Sao Paulo-Dallas Fort Worth-Hong Kong-Bangkok-Tokyo-Dallas Fort Worth-Sao Paulo
2) Sao Paulo-Miami-Hong Kong-Dallas Fort Worth-Sao Paulo
3) Sao Paulo-Dallas Fort Worth-Hong Kong-Dallas Fort Worth-Sao Paulo
Nate earned 313,000 American Airlines air miles, with a value of $4,695. The original cost of the air fares was $2,100, which meant a financial profit of $2,595. He also earned Executive Platinum status. This mileage run was explained in detail in his Mistake Fare Manual e-book.
When they returned home, they signed up for one or two new credit cards, and met their minimum spend requirements to earn miles. According to Nate, they don’t travel hack while on the road. Most of their on-road spend is dining, groceries and streaming services, which makes up only a small percentage of all expenditure by credit card.
→ Travel Hacker Course: Before starting full-time they collected almost two million miles and points, which eventually saved over $25,000 on travel expenses. Nate began an online course called ‘30 Days to Becoming a Travel Hacker', where students could learn the strategies in earning and redeeming frequent flyer miles. It was to become one of their top revenue streams, but appears to have now been dropped as an option on their website.
→ Mistake Fare Manual ebook: This was released in May 2016 as part of a ‘Paradise Pack’, which focused on running an online business. This appears to have now been discontinued.
→ Faredrop: https://faredrop.com/ Faredrop was announced by Nate in May 2019, having worked with a developer to build this site from the ground up. This website “provides cheap flight ticket deals for the economy class and business class through Faredrop deals. It compares the airfare with all flight ticket websites and finds the best available budget deals (cheap deals).” Although ‘mistake fares’ are emphasised, the official description “you’ll be informed whenever there’s any deal available via mail or text. Also, you get a faredrop alert when airfare drops on your selected flight route.” doesn’t focus on this selling point. Viewers are reminded the site is free to join, which is correct, but there is an annual subscription is $47.88 if you wish to take advantage of any deals. In November 2021 an entire video, disguised as a trip to Greece and a ‘big announcement’, was used to advertise Faredrop.  The idea of a Faredrop-type website is not unique. One drawback of Faredrop is that it can’t combine 2 x one way fares to form a return/round trip fare, unlike sites such as Kayak and Skyscanner – which incidentally have no annual fee. K+N travelled from the USA to Bangkok with KLM in November 2014 after finding a mistake fare, and a further fare to Cape Town in March 2015, which planted the seed of an idea in Nate’s mind for a dedicated website. Although most airlines will honour mistake fares, there have been occasions when a carrier has realised the error, cancelled the reservation on the grounds it was obviously wrong, and offered a full refund.
→ Youtube Ad Revenue/monetisation: Each time an ad is shown on a K+N video, they split the revenue 55/45 with YouTube. Unfortunately, YouTube shows ads on less than 1/3 of their video views. For example, in Q3 of 2017 their channel received 1.7 million views, but only 500,000 of those views were monetised. In June 2016 they featured the switching on of monetisation with their channel . They had put off monetisation for some time, as they feared viewers thought they were just doing Youtube for the money.
Between September and November 2021, I carefully watched the viewer progress of four videos – ‘We Lived in a $650,000 Earthroamer’, ‘Our Tiny Home Treehouse Getaway’, ‘I Have Skin Cancer’ and ‘Walking Across an Entire State’.
In fact it was the Earthroamer video which prompted me to watch viewer progress, as van life comparison videos had attracted large viewer numbers and in turn large revenue. No wonder Nate pushed and pushed for a test drive from Earthroamer. The graph below shows the popularity and viewer growth of the four videos.
I was also interested in calculating how much K+N had made from Youtube ad revenue from the Earthroamer video. Based on my own Youtube income, using videos, my income ranges between USD3.22 and USD4.78 per thousand views (average of USD4.00). In one month they earned between USD11,000 and USD16,500 from this video alone. Their Youtube revenue may even be higher than mine, due to their longer video lengths and multiple advertising slots. As of 1st January 2023, this video had hit an amazing 12 million views and their most successful video to date. No wonder Nate pushed and pushed to feature this vehicle. Based on my calculation of US$4 per 1,000 views, this video has earned around US$48,000. Not too bad.
→ Patreon: This is a platform which allows creators to get paid for their creations. With K+N, they get paid every time they upload a video. Midway through 2016, they debated on whether or not they should start a Patreon page. They now have over 90 patrons paying them for their creations each month, and Patreon has become one of their largest revenue streams. Patreon subscribers received postcards from each country. This was still happening as of April 2018. At time of writing (September 2021) the last comment on their Patreon page was dated 10th February 2019, which suggests this revenue raising scheme has become less of a priority, as their subscriber numbers had reached 2.5 million.
→ Affiliate income: They earn most of their affiliate income from Amazon. Their website recommends travel and video gear. In particular most of the traffic driven to Amazon is sent from their travel vlogging gear page.
→ Licensing Content: Nate claims they aren’t proactive about seeking out sponsored videos or video licensing deals, but ‘sometimes’ they fall into their lap, which seems to be contradictory, as ‘sometimes’ doesn’t mean ‘always’. They are sometimes contacted by organisations requesting to use their footage on TV or on a commercial, and can get paid up to $500 to give permission to use their videos in their projects.
→ Kara’s Editing Class: This online course was announced in May 2018 and for $116.40 (plus local taxes) you too can learn how to edit videos just like Kara. https://karaandnate.teachable.com/
→ Merchandise line: – In October 2016 K+N launched a range of shirts and sweatshirts. These items are no longer sold, but who knows – they might be available on Ebay.
→ Atlas.co: https://atlas.co was first announced in December 2020, and brought to life by K+N and a team of developers and designers. The goal was to create airline route maps and land journeys on a framed map, serving as a reminder of special travel memories. This was not an original idea, but with millions of subscribers, there was the potential for this to work out financially.
→ Vespa tours: After travelling to Italy, they explored the idea of organised Vespa tours. Three weeks were spent planning these tours, and Nate later admitted they hadn’t realised how much time and energy was required to plan and run the operations. Based on the feedback and level of interest, the first tour was released to the public in 2018 and was sold out in 45 minutes. . Three other tours also sold out. The idea of organised tours was never repeated.
→ Myanmar River Cruise Adventure: K+N experienced a river cruise in Myanmar in April 2018. This got them thinking, and in 2019 they led a weeklong boat cruise up Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River with 36 guests. (https://www.wetravel.com/profiles/nate-buchanan)
→ Freebees: They do contact providers and receive freebies for exposure. The tour they joined to Everest Base Camp was a freebie, in exchange for documenting the trek and giving it a good thumbs up and endorsement for the trekking company. Generally, the more subscribers you have, the more attractive you are to providers.
According to website www.naibuzz.com, K+N have a net worth of $1,700,000. It is estimated they earn around $1,900 per day ($700,000 per year) in Youtube advertising revenue, based on November 2021 statistics. 
Another website, www.networthspot.com claims they have an estimated worth of $2,770,000 based on Youtube revenue (last updated 1st July 2021). By including other sources of income, they estimate their net worth could be closer to $3,880,000. 
Website https://starstat.yt/ calculates their net worth as of the 23rd November 2021 as being $2,126,469 based on Youtube revenue. This site estimates their daily earnings are $1,618, weekly $11,329, monthly $52,115 and annually $1,001,080. Their income forecast for December 2021 was $61,677.00.
If you want to start a travel blog or vlog, the fastest way to grow your platform is to publish good content. The key to publishing good content is to live an interesting life. K+N spent a year traveling to 30 countries and publishing videos almost every single day. It took one year and over 300 videos before they started making decent revenue from their YouTube channel. They couldn’t have done this without the financial runway that they created for themselves before they left to travel. The more that can be saved up before starting travel, the more flexibility Youtubers have to experiment and see what works without having to take on boring freelance jobs that are carried out just for the money.
Nate advises, when booking seats on flights, where there are three seats in a row, book the window and aisle. Unless the flight is full, the centre seat is usually not taken, as most passengers don’t want to sit in a middle seat.
Nate's unspoken rules when travelling are 1) When eating street food, never eat at a stand that doesn't have any other customers and 2) if someone tries to convince you to eat at their restaurant, assume it's not very good.
Despite the popularity of Kara and Nate, there are still many discussions online which are negative for various reasons. One common thread is that K+N have become stale and have lost the magic and spontaneity of their earlier days. Said in another way, they have lost their ‘let’s just wing it and explore’ attitude, passion, spark and charm. One vlogger commented “They rarely get down and dirty with the gritty side of travel or van life. Their preference is Uber to the airport, hang out in a lounge, get to their upgraded flight seats, Uber to wherever they're staying, then knock off some glitzy experience in a time period between 8 and 48 hours. Job done.”
In recent years many have commented K+N have come over as very privileged, sheltered and entitled. This may be a result of their success. However, as their channel has grown, it has moved from being an adventure to a business, with many decisions being made dependent on potential revenue.
Others have criticised the amount of sponsorship, which litters their videos, and the creation of small companies which again points towards K+N being a business more than a young couple having fun in front of a camera. Some have noticed their sponsors don’t even relate to travelling much of the time, and their business set-up is a ‘money grab’ and far too corporate. One vloggers cut to the chase, saying “They started taking larger sponsorships and really started to sell out. 2020 has just been issue after issue for them, mistakes were made and their true colors began to show. I agree with a lot of you that say that they lack a direction in their channel... and honestly it just feels like they don't really care about it anymore and it's a chore, just for the money.” Another said “They have gone from ‘cute travel couple’ to a cold hard business duo.” Ouch.
K+N release a new video every week, usually on a Sunday. New visitors to their Youtube channel might have been excused in thinking new videos will be released every 48 hours, as that’s what their channel banner said.
This misleading promise had been displayed for over two years, when suddenly, in June 2022, the banner was changed to a simplified, and less 'definite':
Another vlogger commented on something rather interesting “They are catering to a much older demographic now, as they themselves have gotten older”. Perhaps their personal tastes have changed in the last five years, and those who have followed K+N on their journey are now witnessing two crazy travellers beginning to mature. Where will they go from here? There's a shift away from what most long-time fans enjoyed about them. No doubt they will be fine, and financially comfortable too, but it’s disheartening to see them losing touch with what made them popular in the first place.
Another comment read “Kara and Nate are ultimately actors. It’s more apparent than ever that they are just being paid by 90% of their destinations to put out good PR. Which I can understand that is how they make money, but we are also only seeing one side of the story. They never go into the "what not to do" when your visiting, and it typically steer away from any sort of negative PR. I am looking for honest feedback and sometimes the truth hurts. They clearly are too afraid to be honest with their fans because they are afraid of any sort of backlash. I will continue to support them on their channel, but I have my doubts. Just seem to be a little fake to me the more and more I watch.”
Another comment read “Having watched them over the last year during downtime, I really did not get the feeling that they are that interested in traveling for exploring places but rather an image building exercise to call themselves travelers, but what they were really invested in was to market themselves as travelers to the companies they are doing adverts for? I somehow got the feeling from watching them that was the plan all along. “
SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
Twitter @karaandnate https://twitter.com/karaandnate
Instagram @karaandnate https://www.instagram.com/karaandnate/
TicToc – coming soon ?
48,000 in August 2017
70,000 in November 2017
100,000 in January 2018
c.200,000 in May 2018
400,000 in November 2018
500,000 in January 2019
900,000 in November2019
1,000,000 in December 2019
1,510,000 in June 2020
<2,000,000 in January 2021
2,630,000 in October 2021
2,730,000 in November 2021
3,000,000 in April 2022
3,100,000 in June 2022
3,300,000 in December 2022
According to www.Socialblade.com, as of November 2021, their channel was attracting on average 1,660 subscribers per day, or just over one subscriber every 66 seconds.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
K+N don’t rely on sensational thumbnails or click bait for views. Kara once confirmed this on a podcast, however the best exception to this rule was a video called “She Got Mugged” in 2016 when they witnessed a snatch-and-grab incident. Despite the thumbnail, Kara wasn’t involved in the incident. This video only managed a 92% approval rating, which is low for K+N. A lesson was learned from this video, although the thumbnail was never changed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwJce-RDUGM&t=238s
When K+N appear together in a scene, it’s always the same format. Nate appears to the right, while Kara appears to the left, but always behind Nate’s right shoulder. This positioning appears from their first videos. This is to emphasise who is in charge of the dialogue, Kara takes a secondary role behind, and this format helps in continuity between videos. Nate does the videoing as Kara admits she gets distracted by things outside of the viewfinder. Kara also prefers to be in front of the camera more than Nate.
.MUSIC: In the beginning they used free music from Youtube’s free music library, using one particular tune on every video as a sort of a signature sound. This was stopped when they received a deluge of complaints about the poor choice of music. Kara moved to ‘SoundCloud’, but found herself spending too much time sifting through mediocre tunes until the right track was found. She once contacted an artist to obtain permission to use his entire album on their Everest base Camp series of videos. Everything seemed fine until the artist signed a contract with a label, and a blanket ban on all music came into effect, and all Youtube revenue went to this artist. Until that time, these were some of K+N’s most viewed videos, so the loss of revenue hurt. On another occasion, they used music, which breached copyright rules, and all audio was removed from one particular video. K+N were also approached by musicians offering their music for use on their videos. Unfortunately there weren’t enough suitable tracks. A friend then suggested using Swedish company Epidemic Sound (www.epidemicsound.com). By offering a promotion code they receive a commission with each registration, and are now ambassadors for the brand in a relationship, which lasts to the present day. K+N are always conscious of music accidentally being captured in the background, whether a radio, outdoor events or even karaoke. A breach of copyright initially results in monetisation going to the artist, or sometimes an audio ban on the video.
LEARNING CURVE: During 2017 they realised their free excursions may have been fun to them, but these didn’t convert to high viewing figures. Although their viewing figures were down, Nate claimed they were also learning from their mistakes. As Nate said, people like to see videos where things go wrong. He described their South American adventures as ‘awesome, but unrelatable stuff’. Relatability was the key, and although they still loved their luxury, they now focussed on a balance of video content. High viewing numbers equated to more monetised revenue. In November, while staying one night at a $20,000 per night penthouse, Nate tried to justify this extravagance by describing their experiences as a pendulum. Some times it swung one way, and sometimes the other. This was one such swing in their favour. Nate made it very clear that only *part* of that video was sponsored by The Motley Fool, leaving one to deduce the rest was provided gratis, or at least discounted, by their luxury hotel in New York.
K+N videos are filmed and superbly edited, which partly explains their popularity. However, sometimes mistakes do happen. In February 2017, during a 4-day visit to Patagonia, a setting in their camera was changed, and the entire footage had no audio. They managed to salvage the situation by relying on voiceover. However, this discovery resulted in Kara in tears onboard a flight, when she started editing the footage.
FREQUENCY: Videos were originally uploaded daily, whether something interesting happened or not. This was changed to every other day, in an attempt to focus more on quality over quantity, or as Kara once said, they don’t have time to film themselves brushing their teeth as there are more important things to film. In May 2017 they announced a commitment to release new videos five days per week. For several years their Youtube banner had announced ‘New Episode Every Other Day’ despite since Covid-19, they had only managed one video per week. Instagram tends to focus more on the day-to-day life of K+N. Videos are rarely current. On one video in September 2021, Nate’s phone alarm clock wakes him up. The date was six weeks before publication of the video. In the video ‘Flying 12 People to Greece’, published on the 21st November 2021, Nate’s airline ticket showed a travel date of one month earlier – 23th October.
DRONE LIFE: Nate bought a drone in December 2016. He once admitted he doesn’t seek permission. He chooses a quiet location, away from other people, shoots his footage, and leaves quickly. His use of drones backfired when he was fined for flying a drone inside US National Parks (see controversies – above)
TECHNIQUE: Nate says they start each day with a solid story of what the next video will include, but have no solid structure. He says he has an idea of what each video will be about before they start working on it and focus on that alone without adding too much other footage, which can be used for a separate video. Once a month they try and have a video different from the rest. This attracts a new audience to the channel. He emphasises the importance for lots of B-roll footage when shooting video. They use a great deal of slow motion footage. K&N aren't in-depth travellers. They spend one or two days in most places and barely graze the surface.
MAXIMISING OPPORTUNITIES: This is something K+N are good at. In their Sep22 video 'ROAD TRIP WITH US (back to van life)' they had to travel from Nashville to Toronto. Nate admitted they could have flown the distance in two hours, but what they didn't mention was that there would have been no video content. However, returning to van life, this would keep their van life fans happy, and also give then a video opportunity. Eleven days after release, the video had chalked up over 1.4 million views. That was a smart move.
COMMENTS: Kara admits the Youtube comments which bother her most are the ones which miss the ‘old Kara & Nate’. She says they aren’t those people any more. They no longer just point the camera and shoot, but have a structure to the day and the topic to be filmed.  A video can take 6-12 hours to edit, write a description and title, and upload the finished product. Even though they receive complaints, it's a win-win situation. Even if people don't like it, they'll still receive monetisation revenue, and the more comments received (good or bad), the more this video is picked up by Google algorithms, increasing the chance it will appear as a featured video.
EDITING: This has always been Kara’s domain, although in 2021 there was a change in the feel of their editing. They mentioned they were using new editing software, and there were comments online that K+N had hired a video editor. In November 2022 Kara mentioned they has two editors.
VIDEO LENGTH: Ammost all videos meet the minimum Youtube guidelines on monetisation. Until 2020, the optimum video length was 10+ minutes, which increased the number of mid-video advertising opportunities, and therefore for revenue earned. Since 2021 the 'magic' length was reduced to 8+ minutes. With K+N there has been a shift to longer videos: 13-16 minutes in 2019, 15-20 minutes in 2020, 18-25 minutes in 2021 and 23-27 minutes in 2022. The longer the video, and the more captive their audience, the more advertising slots that appear, and the more revenue for K+N.
TECH: All footage, once used, is stored onto external hard drives. Kara uses SSD external memory banks, as she lost five months of video back-ups when an HDD external memory crashed. The one piece of kit Nate would like to take along with his travels, but can’t, is a second monitor for his laptop. They use Google Fi as their mobile coverage provider. Nate uses a Sony a7siii camera and a Sony a7sii as a back-up.
PROMOTION: Although not confirmed by K+N, it’s thought they send emails to media companies to expand their exposure. For example, despite being based in Tennesee, Shore News Network, based in New Jersey, featured their return to air travel post-Covid in January 2021. 
POPULAR VIDEOS = SUBSCRIBER SPIKES: K+N subscriber number statistics often show spikes. Examples are:
“We Traded Tiny Homes for 24 Hours!” – This video was uploaded on the 20th June 2021, in the first three months attracted over 4.6 million views, and contributed to 110,000 new subscriber that month, with 40,000 alone between 28th June and 5th July. This was the story of K+N swapping a converted sprinter van for a converted school bus for 24 hours.
“$150k vs. $40k SPRINTER VAN (full tour)” – This video was uploaded on the 24th January 2021 and in the first eight months attracted over 4.4 million views, contributed to around 130,000 new subscribers, with 40,000 alone in the week 29th Jaunary-4th February. Again, this was a van life comparison video, this time between their sprinter van and a Revel rented in Las Vegas.
“First Class OVERNIGHT TRAIN Georgia to Azerbaijan (scary border crossing)” – This video was uploaded on 2nd November 2018 and to date has attracted over 5.4 million views, making it their 4th most viewed video. In the month of released the video helped attract over 86,000 new subscribers,
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.POPULARITY: The earliest video to hit one million views was episode 7 – The Tokyo Capsule Hotel. The next video to reach one million views was episode 99 – Day one of the Everest Base Camp track.
As of September 2021, their top-20 most viewed videos fell into these categories:
7 – Unusual hotels (five thumbnails included arrows pointing to the hotel)
5 – Trains (these videos all feature the words ‘first class’ on the thumbnails)
4 – Van life (two videos featured swapping their van for another)
3 – Antarctica
1 – 100th Country documentary
Van swap videos appear to be the latest video goldmine for K+N. In September 2021 they released a video called “WE LIVED IN A $650,000 EARTHROAMER (full tour)”. They ignored their own rule for videos which were not relatable to viewers, and featured a video guaranteeing high views and therefore high revenue.
Their first ‘viral’ video, to hit one million views in one week, was their First Class Overnight Train Georgia to Azerbaijan in November 2018. As Nate once said, people like train videos. They have also been criticised for focussing on content, which generates the highest viewing figures and therefore highest monetisation, such as their love of unusual sleeping places. However, this is a recommended Youtube practice:- give viewers what they want, not just what you want to show them.
Although K+N videos generate staggering viewer numbers, they have produced a few howlers over the years. As of September 2021, their videos with the lowest views, offering less than riveting content, were:
16k – Paradise Pack (2016)
30k - DJI Spark Giveaway (2017)
40k – Galapagos Announcement (2017)
40k – A Few Important Things (2017)
41k – 30k Giveaway! (2017)
41k – 70k Giveaway + Christmas Merch (2018)
42k – We made Shirts and Coffee Mugs (2017)
42k – Amazon River Announcement (2017)
Although their travel started in 2016, beginning with very low subscriber numbers, 2017 was the year of ‘cheap’ videos. All videos above didn’t feature travel, but were either travel or commercial announcements, which viewers aren’t interested in.
Most K+N videos have a positive feedback of 97-99%. However, there have been a few bad videos, each with their own individual problems. As of November 2021, their least popular videos with the lowest approval ratings were:
7) 91% Cuba! Here’s What Surprised us Most (548k views)
6) 90% Scariest Day of our Lives (885k views)
5) 89% Don’t Go To Sunrise at Angkor Wat (360k views)
4) 87% Tokyo Capsule Hotel (1.1 million views)
3) 85% Flying in 2021 (871k views)
2) 73% Country #100 [teaser video] (644k views)
1) 70% Israel First Impressions (1.8 million views)
TAXES: Some viewers had wondered if Nate was worried about having to pay a lot more in taxes during the Covid-19 pandemic since they spent more time living in the United States. Some believed that, since they lived outside the US most of the year, most of their income wasn't subject to US taxes. However, there will be no complaints. Americans living abroad as a US citizen, must file a US Federal tax return and pay US taxes on any worldwide income no matter where they live at that time.
Last updated 1st January 2023.