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Chad Zuber

Chad Zuber is an adventurer, survivalist, and a popular YouTuber.

He has more than two million subscribers on his eponymous YouTube channel.


Chad Zuber was born on 30 August 1972 in Los Angeles, United States.

His family moved to Escondido, San Diego County, California while he was a 10-month-old.

Chad did his schooling from Orange Glen High School in Escondido and graduated school very well.

After completing his schooling in 1990, he joined Palomar College in California to study Spanish, oceanography, native American studies, art, acting and cinema.

But Chad dropped out of college.

Love for nature & adventure-

As a child, Chad was drawn to nature and loved spending time in nature.

He enjoyed hunting lizards and snakes and collecting things.

At a young age, Chad along with his father and brother used to travel on adventurous trips to Baja California, Mexico and this started his love for adventures.

Aspiring to become an actor-

His friend had a VHS camcorder and at a young age, Chad along with his friends started making comical movies.

As he loved the process, at 20, he decided to become an actor.

At that time, Chad was already married and had a decent paying job.

He took an acting class and as he loved acting, he started pursuing acting.

Over the years, Chad never had much success with acting as he was getting occasional low paying, small acting roles.

Becoming a photographer-

During that time, Chad wasn’t able to afford headshots as the photographers used to charge exorbitant fees.

So, as he had a camera, he decided to capture his own headshots by learning photography.

So, Chad started practising photography and fell in love with it and started pursuing photography.

It was easier for him to earn money with photography rather than acting and at that time, he was also working in a full-time job.

Recession strikes hard-

Chad’s photography business went on smoothly for years until the 2008 recession hit.

As a consequence of the recession, his business got wiped out overnight and his income plummeted.

So, Chad shifted to selling stock photography online.

As he was photographing for many years, he had a library of around five thousand images, which he began selling as stock photos and this was earning him some supplementary income.

At that time, Chad was also working in a full-time job but it wasn’t a high-paying one and he was unable to find a high-paying job.

Even though he was a hard worker, he wasn’t able to succeed in his business and job and this dejected him.

As Chad wasn’t really passionate about his job, he dreamt of becoming an adventurer in the wilderness.

Myriad benefits of being in nature-

As his income nosedived due to the 2008 recession, Chad didn’t have the financial resources to take care of his family.

So, he started to work on reducing his expenses and it included learning about edible plants in the hills and using them for food instead of buying vegetables.

Chad took a couple of guide books along with him on the trails to identify edible plants and started testing them by eating.

Soon, he started bringing in home a lot of vegetables from the hills which were not only free and organic but healthy too.

Thanks to this, Chad started developing a passion for nature, survival, self-reliance and homesteading.

He became truly self-reliant in nature as here, he learnt collecting his food and hand making cutting tools, building shelter, making pottery, etc.

Chad also enjoyed the quietness of nature and found a spiritual connection to nature.

He found true freedom in nature as here, there weren’t many man-made laws imposing on him.

Also, previously Chad was a people pleaser but being alone in nature freed him from being one.

As his job was sedentary and he didn’t exercise much, his health deteriorated and he developed back, hip and knee pain but being in nature and building a hut with bare hands was such a good exercise that his body pain and health improved.

Working on YouTube & moving to Mexico-

On 2 December 2011, Chad started his eponymous YouTube channel.

He published the first video of his YouTube channel on 16 November 2012, and it was titled ‘Fun Harvest of Prickly Pears (Tunas)’.

Thanks to his love for videography, he loved producing YouTube videos.

Later, Chad and his wife moved from San Diego to Mexico to take care of his ill father-in-law.

Even though he moved to Mexico, he used to frequent the United States to work for a modelling agency and do modelling jobs.

While in Mexico, as Chad had a lot of free time, he used to go on solo trips into the jungle and other cool destinations and shoot videos there and publish them onto his YouTube channel.

He is inspired by John Plant of the Primitive Technology YouTube channel.

Upon travelling to remote places in Mexico, Chad observed that the people there could be classified as poor but they were connected to nature, hand making things and had quality time with their families and all their needs were met and they were very happy.

He observed that in contrast, the United States had many rich people who would work countless hours to the point of damaging their health and the kids becoming spoiled.

Thanks to this, Chad had the realization that possessing money and material things isn’t the answer and so, he stopped working countless hours for money and material possessions and started spending more time in nature.

A life-threatening experience on Isla de Culebra-

Chad did his first solo trip on the deserted Isla de Culebra island (snake island) in Puerto Rico.

This trip was a week-long and was a life-changing one for him as he discovered himself and his health and this trip cemented his love to be in nature.

As on this trip, Chad bought only a little food, he foraged on the island and ate coconuts, molluscs and plants and at times, he suffered from dehydration.

Once, at dusk, he got severely dehydrated and as there was no cell phone reception, he wasn’t able to call for help and started panicking.

Luckily, Chad chanced upon a tall cactus but wasn’t sure if it was safe to eat or not and at that time, he remembered a cartoon character eating cactus.

So, he decided to take a chance eating the cactus and hydrate himself.

Chad cut and ate a little piece and it tasted like a cucumber and so, he cut the whole arm of the cactus and peeled off its spines and ate it.

Thanks to this, he regained his energy and thinking abilities and this gave him the strength to trudge out of the thick spiny thorny vegetation.

Later, Chad found water and quenched his thirst.

This incident not only gave him self-confidence but also taught him about his limitations.

Tasting success on YouTube-

Even though Chad started publishing videos on his YouTube channel in 2012, he didn’t taste success on YouTube until 2017.

On his third trip to the Isla de Culebra island, he made a 12-part video series titled ‘Snake Island Survival Adventure’ and this was a huge success.

As few videos of this series garnered a good number of views, Chad started earning from YouTube and thanks to this, he realised the earning potential of YouTube and started seriously working on his YouTube channel.

A successful YouTuber-

As of March 2023, Chad has 2.31M subscribers on his YouTube channel.

He earns from advertisements and ‘Super Thanks’ on his YouTube videos, affiliate marketing, receiving sponsorships and he also accepts donations on PayPal.

On 18 December 2022, Chad started his second YouTube channel by the name ‘No Gringos Allowed’.

He shoots his videos with Nikon D7500 and GoPro Hero7 Black cameras.

Chad edits his videos on a MacBook Air with Final Cut Pro X.

He also has a blog, but he stopped publishing on it in 2016.

Personal life-

Chad is married to Veronica.

This couple has a son and he also has a daughter.

Even though he loves living in the wilderness, he couldn’t live all the time in the wilderness, thanks to his family which prefers urbanity and he also returns to the city to edit and upload his videos.

Chad exercises in nature by climbing trees, running, swimming, hiking, lifting weights and doing calisthenics and doesn’t go to the gym.

He loves hiking, camping, photography, videography, fishing, swimming, running, trail running, travelling, making cordage from plants, learning about various cultures and learning languages.

Chad also loves learning about medicinal plants and ancient traditional cooking methods.

He is a polyglot as he knows English, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish.

So, how are you inspired by the success story of Chad Zuber?

Share with me in the comment section below.

About Author

Hello folks, I'm Naveen Reddy.
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