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Inspiring Biography of Peter Santenello

Peter Santenello is a traveller, and a popular YouTuber.

He has more than 2.6M subscribers on his eponymous YouTube channel.


Peter Santenello was born on 27 September 1977 in Burlington, Vermont, United States.

He has Italian roots and he also holds an Italian passport.

His father and grandfather grew up in Italy.

Peter grew up in Vermont until 17 and later, he moved to California.

His brother, Spencer Santenello, is a chef.

A xenophile-

While growing up, Peter wanted to explore the world, but as his father was a very busy man, they couldn’t travel.

During that time, Vermont was very isolated and lacked cultural diversity.

But later when Peter travelled to New York and Montreal he was amazed by the cultural diversity of these cities.

Travel can’t wait-

In 2001, Peter chalked out a plan to travel Europe by saving $20,000.

He also planned to buy a Ducati motorcycle and ride it through Italy and later ship it to the United States.

During that time, Peter was studying at a college and was living in Lake Tahoe, California.

Also while living in Lake Tahoe, he competed in snowboarding and he has been snowboarding for six years during the days in the winter and worked at night in a restaurant.

In 2002, at the age of 24, he saved $20,000 and dropped out of college to travel and realised that buying a Ducati isn’t important as it is a material thing but travelling is.

So, Peter travelled to Georgia, a European country and spent a month there.

Here, he was amazed by the Caucasus Mountains and decided to travel to many other countries.

Later, in 2010, Peter returned to Georgia to produce travel TV shows but as editing wasn’t his forte, he couldn’t make the shows.

He also tried pitching many networks about his TV shows but it didn’t help.

2 years, 50 countries-

During the 2000s, travelling to Tajikistan was difficult and as Peter has been a challenge lover, he travelled to Tajikistan.

Then, he travelled to many countries and finally, he reached Thailand and started working as a teacher.

Then, Peter moved back to Lake Tahoe, United States.

He travelled to fifty countries in a period of two years.

All his travel experiences were great except once when Peter was desperately trying to get a visa to enter Tajikistan, he sought the help of an Uzbek guy and stayed with him but got poisoned and his money was stolen.

Becoming debt-free-

By the time Peter finished his tour and returned to the United States, he had a debt of $20,000, thanks to the credit card advances that he took in Uzbekistan.

It took him a year to repay his debts and then, he started going to college.

Peter studied for a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from University of Nevada, Reno.

Prior to this, he studied from Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) in Reno, Nevada.

Starting a business & moving to Ukraine-

While in the United States, Peter started a service based detailing business.

He read ‘The E-Myth Revisited‘ book and learnt a lot from that book about structuring a business, setting up a system and running a business remotely.

He got this business operating and continued to work on other business ideas that mostly failed. One business was called ‘Motley Planet’, and it connected people through common interests while travelling. It was a way for like-minded people to meet up.

Peter structured his detailing business in a way that it allowed him to travel, live abroad and manage it completely online.

He through his friend learnt that he could run his business a lot cheaper by living in Ukraine rather than in the United States.

So, Peter moved to Ukraine to live and as his business was completely online, he had no trouble managing it.

He also chose to live in Ukraine because by living in Ukraine he could easily travel to many European countries.

After living in Ukraine for a total of four years, Peter moved back to San Francisco, United States due to COVID-19.

Becoming a full-time YouTuber-

Even though Peter started his eponymous YouTube channel on 20 January 2009, he started working seriously on it only from July 2017; at that time, he was living in Ukraine.

Previously, as he was very busy with his business, he wasn’t able to publish videos regularly on his YouTube channel.

Initially, his detailing business was funding his travel and YouTube videos.

But fortunately, as Peter became successful on YouTube and started earning well from it, he decided to sell his business to become a full-time YouTuber.

Also, he was more passionate about YouTube than his business.

So, in 2019, Peter sold his business and became a full-time YouTuber.

He was able to earn decently from his channel just after five months of seriously working on it.

Peter has a team for helping him out with his YouTube channel.

He also collaborated with Mark Laita, a popular YouTuber who interviews vulnerable people of the United States.

Spreading positivity-

At 8, Peter read a book about the Soviet Union, despite being told to fear it and after reading the book, he started loving the Soviet Union and this sowed the seed of distrust of the media in him.

He was disturbed by observing that the mainstream media mostly projects news that divides people and projects negativity and learnt that most Americans have negative prejudice about many countries.

But as Peter had already visited many countries and observed that the majority of the people are well intentioned, he decided to project this side of people through his YouTube channel.

He travelled to more than 85 countries and lived in five countries in total.

Also, Peter refutes media which portrays most of the world as unsafe by his videos.

He also throws light on lesser-known cultures like the Hasidic Jews and the Amish people.

Nick Fisher and Kurt Caz are other travel YouTubers who focus on off the beaten destinations.

Becoming successful-

As of December 2023, Peter has 2.62M subscribers on his YouTube channel, 1.6M followers on his Facebook page and 179K followers on Instagram.

He has a website.

Peter earns from a variety of sources like advertisements, Membership and ‘Super Thanks’ on his YouTube channel, affiliate marketing, sponsorships and he also accepts donations on Patreon and PayPal.

He hasn’t revealed his net worth.

Peter has a Wikipedia page.

Reasons for his success-

Initially, Peter used his phone to shoot videos and later, he upgraded to a GoPro camera.

He has been intentional on using GoPro instead of the massive DSLR cameras as he believes that people would be more authentic and easy-going in front of little GoPro but with DSLR, people would get intimidated.

Thanks to this, Peter has been able to show the authentic and spontaneous stories of people and this is the main reason for the success of his videos.

The stabilization feature of GoPro helps him produce good videos.

He also uses his DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter but sparingly.

The Principles of Persuasion class that he took in college has helped him while interviewing people.

Personal life-

Peter is married to Natalia Santenello.

She is a Ukrainian and she helps him with his YouTube channel.

Peter is also a columnist, cyclist and a competitive snowboarder.

He lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, United States.

So, how are you inspired by the success story of Peter Santenello?

Share with me in the comment section below.

Featured image credit- Pesanto/Wikimedia Commons

About Author

Hello folks, I'm Naveen Reddy.
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