Sergei Boutenko is a modern adventurer. At 32 years of age, the likeable YouTuber from Ashland in the US state of Oregon has already been to 66 countries. His talks and workshops about his books and documentaries about green raw vegetables, healthy living and an active and healthy lifestyle at one with nature have taken Sergei to all 50 states in the US. Always at the ready: his camera. His loyal companion: his Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500. "The Sprinter is the most versatile van on the market," says Sergei. "I use it to transport my camera gear, my sports equipment, bulky outdoor devices and a lot of books." In the meantime, the jacked up Sprinter, with V6 motor, has become his second home, says Sergei, who naturally has a mattress stowed away inside the van. In addition to space and reliability, the American appreciates the low fuel consumption and the manoeuvrability of his fully-equipped metallic-silver van.
Being out and about in his van, getting back to nature, inspires the athletic film-maker, YouTuber and author. "I'm lucky that inspiration usually finds me," explains Sergei. "For example when I'm driving along in my van - suddenly I get these great ideas." But he has also become accustomed to really listening to the people around him. "Everyone has something they're passionate about. If you can ignite that passion in the person opposite you - that can be very infectious," says the 32-year-old. "That's when I see how new ideas are sparked by the stories I hear from other people."
I'm lucky that inspiration usually finds me. For example when I'm driving along in my van - suddenly I get these great ideas
So why did he start posting videos online in 2009? Sergei Boutenko can't really say exactly why. "YouTube was quite new then. I'm an inquisitive type of person and just wanted to know what would happen," he says. Gradually the US-American noticed that his recipes for raw vegetable and green smoothies and his DIY tutorials were received well by online viewers - and inspired a lot of people. This motivated Sergei Boutenko, who is originally from Moscow, and he stuck at it. In the meantime, "BoutenkoFilms" has around 25,000 followers on YouTube.
Now Sergei writes books about edible wild herbs, mushrooms, shrubs and even the bark from trees. He provides recipe tips on a healthy lifestyle on YouTube and takes his watchers on a walk or shows followers how he sets up his Sprinter for spectacular winter trips or what kinds of conversions he recommends for outdoor activities. "Just like when I started, I still make videos because I like to learn and try out new things. I'm eager to learn."
At the beginning, Sergei did not really have any well thought-out concept. He simply filmed things he liked, and talked about things he was interested in - for example a healthy lifestyle. As a child, Sergei was susceptible to illnesses of all kinds and he had to work at his health. "I was always feeling bad," he said. At some point, his mother forced him on a diet that was based solely on vegetables. "It changed my life," says Sergei. "My health improved immediately. It really showed me how important it is to be active and eat a healthy diet." This is the message Sergei Boutenko wanted to advocate. First, he interviewed nutrition experts, presented different diets or took his viewers off in his films on a day full of sports at the coast or in the mountains. His girlfriend and the Sprinter were always with him.
Boutenko's hobbies and videos range from healthy diets and salsa dancing to surfing or even DIY videos about Sprinter conversions. "For a long time, I thought it was a problem having too many interests and wanting to try out all kinds of things," he says. "It's not easy to bridge the gap on YouTube between backpacking on the one hand and a green diet on the other. At some point I realized that the most consistent thing about me is my inconsistency." And that's where Sergei spied an opportunity. "If you earn your money with videos, books and talks you'll have months where everything's going really well and then months during which you have absolutely no idea how you're going to earn some money." But that stimulates his creativity and makes him productive. "Because I always have to think about how I can use my talents for new ideas." According to Sergei, it is all about thinking outside the box.