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Conner McBee (Small Brained American)

Conner McBee is a popular American travel YouTuber.

He has 379K subscribers on his YouTube channel, Small Brained American.


Conner McBee was born in 1993.

He hails from Dacula, Georgia, United States.

Conner has French, Irish and English ancestry; his family originally hails from Liverpool, England.

His mother’s name is Patty McGowan McBee.

BornConner McBee; 1993
Educationpolitical science and government
YouTube channelsSmall Brained American, Small Brained Pod and Small Brained American Shorts 
Years active on YouTube2021-present
Subscribers379K on Small Brained American
Conner McBee information

First international travel-

At 16, while in high school, Conner went on a week-long trip to London to play drums with Mill Creek Band in the New Year’s Day Parade.

He along with other students went on this trip but he didn’t like the trip as the parents were micromanaging students’ activities and he didn’t have enough time to explore historical landmarks like Stonehenge.

Real experience of travelling-

At 18, Conner joined Drum Corps International (DCI) and started travelling and performing across the United States.

Here, for the first time, he had real experience of travelling and fast-paced travel life.

Conner used to sleep sitting down in his tour bus, sleep on the floor, drink water from fire hoses and shower in random schools across the U.S.; thanks to these experiences, he realised that travelling doesn’t have to be glamorous, and he could travel anywhere if he lowered his expectations.

He was in DCI until 22 and travelled to all the 50 U.S states.

Conner participated in the Carolina Crown and won a silver medal at the world championships.

Education; travelling Europe-

In 2012, he joined the University of Georgia to study for a degree in political science and government; he graduated in 2016.

In his senior year at university, Conner studied in Europe for six weeks; he travelled to Poland, Italy (Verona, Florence and Rome) and Switzerland.

Later, he returned to the U.S. and graduated.

As Conner was a child actor, he wanted to become a stand-up comedian after graduation.

Love for solo travelling-

At 20, he decided to become a lawyer and took an internship with a lawyer.

Conner moved to the lawyer’s place in Washington state and lived with him for a month.

At the time, he had his own truck and as he had weekends off, he used to do a lot of solo travelling and hiking; thanks to the freedom which he experienced here, he fell in love with solo travelling.

A Japanophile; Vagabonding

After graduating from college, Conner was lost in life and started applying to many part-time jobs to earn petty money; at the time, he was addicted to drugs.

He stumbled upon an ad for teaching English in Prague, Czech Republic.

Conner applied for it and got accepted, but he realised that he could teach English in any country; so, he decided to not to travel to Prague and instead travel to Japan, his favourite country.

His love for Japan started after he heard his friend, Lance, heaping praise on the country.

Lance continually worked as a touring musician in Japan for a year and praised the country for its culture, people, food, safety and cleanliness.

Conner felt that all his previous travel experiences weren’t on a deep level; he was inspired by Anthony Bourdain travelling to a place, staying there and exploring its culture thoroughly for extended periods of time, so he decided to live in Japan for an extended period and fully experience it.

In September 2018, he left the U.S. to live in Japan; he started working full-time as an English instructor at Nova Holdings in Osaka and worked here until September 2019.

While working in Japan Conner was earning $25,000 per year and travelled all over Japan and to Thailand.

He is a TEFL certified teacher.

While in Japan, Conner read the Vagabonding book which inspired him towards slow travelling and experiencing the surroundings and it changed his whole outlook towards travel.

Many inspirations-

After working in Japan, he returned to the U.S. for a relationship; but it didn’t last.

Conner worked as a remote freelance English instructor at VIPKid from November 2019 to February 2021.

He worked as a remote case manager for Goldfein from March 2021 to June 2021.

Conner also worked as an English tutor for Latinas at a community college; he would travel with the money that he saved from this job and once he runs out of money, he would rejoin at this job and repeat the cycle.

He booked a ticket to Ecuador for 29 March 2020.

But the COVID-19 foiled Conner’s plans and he was struck at home for four months; during this time, he started binge watching the YouTube videos of bald and bankrupt, PPPeter, Indigo Traveller and All Gas No Brakes; he fell in love with their adventures of travelling to off-the beaten destinations.

And this inspired him to later start vlogging.

Becoming a content creator-

While working in Japan, Conner disliked his job and didn’t want to teach English his whole life.

At the time, he wanted to make an online career focused on travelling; he was confident that people would love his travel stories as people used to interestingly listen to his stories in Osaka bars.

They encouraged Conner to start a blog but as he wasn’t into blogs, he didn’t start one.

While he was stuck at home during the pandemic, he watched raw travel vlogs of YouTubers travelling to off-the beaten places like North Korea and Siberia; he felt liberated by watching their content and was confident that he could make a living by becoming a content creator.

Conner started driving across the U.S., but at the time, he didn’t have the confidence to record videos.

Later, he started avidly posting on Instagram and then started publishing on YouTube.

Conner started his YouTube channel, Small Brained American, on 16 December 2020.

He published his first video, “1 Night in Portland’s Autonomous Zone,” on 1 February 2021.

An adventurous journey from Ireland to Japan-

As Conner wanted to navigate one of the biggest landmasses of the world, he decided to embark on a trip from Ireland to Japan.

Prior to flying to Ireland, he flew to Buenos Aires, Argentina and got a tattoo on his bicep from Ariana Tormenta.

Then, Conner flew to Ireland; here, his plan was to buy a motorcycle, save some money by working on a farm and travel across Europe.

He bought a motorcycle but was stuck in Ireland for four weeks because of some paperwork of his motorcycle; at the time, he used to work on a small farm hostel and enjoyed free food and rent and had no expenses.

Then, Conner took a ferry to Wales and had a homestay.

This was his last homestay as he found homestays to be very restricting; the only exception to this was when he completed his trip in Japan and started working in a ramen shop.

In Wales, Conner’s work involved renovating an old historical house built in the 1500s.

Then, he travelled to England and stayed there for a month; he travelled to London.

Then, Conner travelled to Northern France and found his way to the Eiffel Tower; he enjoyed his time near the Eiffel Tower.

Later, he travelled to Germany and couchsurfed here; he enjoyed riding his motorcycle on the amazing roads of Germany.

Afterwards, Conner rode to Czechia, Slovakia and Poland.

At the time, his motorcycle trip proved to be very stressful as he wasn’t earning from his YouTube channel and was losing money quickly due to expenditures in expensive Europe; he was burdened with the stress of whether he would be able to complete his trip.

The stress was so much that he couldn’t enjoy his time at Zakopane, a beautiful resort town in southern Poland.

Then, Conner travelled to eastern Poland, eastern Ukraine and then to Moldova.

Those were one of the most difficult times of his trip, as it was difficult to get into Moldova and he faced many setbacks like rain, military checkpoints, closed border crossings, unpaved roads; also, his bike was breaking down and he had to struggle for fuel.

And for all these troubles, he was getting only hundreds of views on his YouTube videos.

From Moldova, Conner rode to Transnistria and Romania; here, he met his friend, Steve, and went on a 5-day trip to North Macedonia, Serbia and Budapest, Hungary for his 29th birthday.

He travelled to 26 countries in 12 months with $23,000; he was able to do this because while living in the U.S., he lived with his parents and saved money.

From Budapest, he took a train to Romania and then rode his bike to Bulgaria.

Here, Conner tried to sell his motorcycle as he felt the import tax for it to be high; also, he didn’t have proper insurance for the bike and felt that motorcycle trip would take too long and would be expensive.

So, he decided to sell his motorcycle and continue his journey to Japan.

Conner struggled to sell his bike for a month in Bulgaria; he bought his Ireland registered motorcycle for $2500, and he couldn’t justify staying for long in Bulgaria just for selling his bike.

So, he sold the bike for $900.

Then, he caught a train to Turkey, where he met Sarah, his girlfriend.

From Turkey, Conner travelled to Iraq; he fell in love with this country as he found the people to be very warm and hospitable; he also liked Iraqi cuisine.

He wanted to travel to Iran but found it to be very expensive as he had to spend thousands of dollars just for a week, as he needed to hire a taxi driver to drive him the length of Iran; so, he skipped Iran.

Conner decided to travel to Pakistan and applied for a Pakistani visa and bought a plane ticket; but as he couldn’t get the visa on time, he had to cancel the flight.

Then, he applied for an Indian visa which he got promptly; so, he flew to India and spent eight weeks there.

He travelled to Pakistan from India and spent a week there and got food poisoning and then returned to India.

Conner went on a meditation retreat in India; he loved Kolkata but hated Delhi due to its sickening pollution.

Then, he took a flight to Myanmar from Kolkata.

After his adventures in Myanmar, he took a flight to Bangkok, Thailand and set out for adventures in Cambodia and Vietnam (Ha Giang loop).

Finally, at the end of 2023, Conner concluded his journey in Japan; here, he worked in Daisuke’s Ramen Shop.

Struggles & success-

When he started his Ireland to Japan trip, he hoped that by the end of this journey he would have at least 50,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel and would start earning a full-time income from his channel.

But when Conner finished his journey, he had just 7,000 subscribers on his channel and wasn’t earning a decent income.

Thankfully, his adventure videos in India, Myanmar and Ha Giang loop in Vietnam started performing extremely well.

And in November 2023, Conner hit 100K subscribers — it took him three years to reach this mark — and within a month he surpassed 200K subscribers and started earning a good income from his channel.

As of April 2024, he has 379K subscribers on Small Brained American YouTube channel.

Conner also has a couple other channels, Small Brained American Shorts and Small Brained Pod.

He earns from a variety of sources like advertisements on YouTube and merchandise; he also accepts donations on Patreon, Venmo and PayPal.

Personal life-

Conner is in a relationship with Sarah.

His future plan is to not do long trips, instead do short trips and stay at the place, explore the culture and languages like the locals.

So, how are you inspired by the success story of Conner McBee?

Share with me in the comment section below.

About Author

Hello folks, I'm Naveen Reddy.
I love writing the inspiring success stories of people so as to inspire you.
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Thursday 16th of May 2024

Hello Naveen, I am enjoying your stories of interesting people and their steps on the way to publishing success. I wish the very same for you and will continue to check back over the months for more. --all Best, DavidP

Naveen Reddy

Thursday 16th of May 2024

Thanks a lot, David, for your comment! I've already published hundreds of posts; you can go through them.