Ryan Shirley is a popular travel YouTuber.
He has more than half a million subscribers on his YouTube channel by the name Ryan Shirley.
Ryan Shirley hails from Provo, Utah, United States.
He has a brother, Matt.
Matt is also a traveller and he appeared in a few of Ryan’s YouTube videos.
Travelling to El Salvador-
At 18, after graduating from high school, Ryan decided to go on a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He was assigned to travel to El Salvador.
At that time, Ryan didn’t know anything about the country and so, he researched El Salvador only to find that it had one of the world’s highest murder rates.
Even though this fact scared him, he assumed that he would be safe as he would be serving there as a missionary.
In October 2013, Ryan flew down to San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador for his mission.
This was his first trip outside of the United States.
The silver lining-
While in San Salvador, Ryan spent his first six months in Cuscatancingo.
Those were the most difficult moments of his life as he felt the place to be dangerous and dirty and experienced extreme culture shock.
Ryan was attacked by feral dogs; a guy threatened him to shoot him in the face and some of his friends got murdered by the gangs there.
He also grew depressed and homesick as he was able to talk to his family only once a week through email.
All these experiences forced Ryan to grow outside his comfort zone.
He befriended locals and was fulfilled to observe people there being happy despite living in difficult circumstances.
Travelling to Belize-
After living a year in El Salvador, Ryan got reassigned to travel to Belize.
He spent four months in Benque Viejo Del Carmen town and here, he made some good family friends and became a part of the community.
Then, for the last part of the mission, Ryan got reassigned to Belize City.
In September 2015, as his mission ended, he returned to the United States.
Realizing his Europe dream-
After returning to the United States in 2015, Ryan joined Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah to study for a bachelor’s degree in Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management.
In May 2017, he landed an internship as a Content Creator at Geneva Office For Human Rights Education in Geneva, Switzerland.
Thanks to this, Ryan has been able to realize his lifelong dream of living in Europe, specifically Switzerland.
As a part of his internship, he produced animated educational videos to educate children around the world of human rights.
On 16 May 2017, Ryan created their YouTube channel by the name Geneva Office For Human Rights Education and he also managed this channel.
He interned for three months from May 2017 until July 2017.
Exploring Europe & travel videography-
While interning at Geneva Office For Human Rights Education, Ryan loved exploring Geneva city and Lake Geneva.
As living in Geneva was very expensive, he starved himself and survived on cheap food, viz. pasta, chocolate and Coke.
Living in Geneva allowed Ryan to travel to other European countries and during that time, he started getting into travel videography.
While interning, on weekend trips he visited Edinburgh, Scotland, Shipwreck Beach in Greece, etc.
After finishing his internship, Ryan rented a car and drove all around Switzerland and visited places like Grindelwald, etc. and ended his trip in the iconic town of Zermatt.
All these experiences cemented his love for Europe.
Greece, London & Iceland-
After his Switzerland trip, Ryan returned to Utah and took a leave of absence from the university for a two-week trip to Europe in the fall.
He bottomed out his bank account for buying new camera gear and for his travel expenses.
Ryan and his brother travelled to Athens, Ibiza, Meteora, London and finally ended their trip in Iceland.
Later, Ryan resumed college the following winter.
Joining Beautiful Destinations-
Thanks to his two-week Europe trip, he shot beautiful footage.
And with this footage and the earlier footage of Switzerland, Ryan created a YouTube video titled ‘My Year 2017 – Ryan Shirley’.
A few months later, this video helped him to secure an internship at Beautiful Destinations.
From June 2018 to August 2018, Ryan interned as a Video Editor in New York City.
No to New York, yes to Dolomites-
While interning at Beautiful Destinations, Ryan used to live in a one-bedroom ghetto in Queens, New York for $1,200 a month.
Every day he used to travel an hour to reach Manhattan for work.
As Ryan wasn’t a city person and hated paying $1,200 for a room and long commute to work, he didn’t like living in New York.
Fortunately, after finishing his internship, he won the DJI’s Now It’s Epic Contest and won $3,000.
Ryan decided to use this money to travel and so, bought a one-way ticket to Italy to visit Dolomites.
After spending a couple of weeks travelling around Dolomites, he along with one of his friends travelled to Greece and visited Santorini and Zakynthos.
And then they travelled to Northern Norway to see northern lights (aurora borealis).
The footage of this trip took Ryan’s videography career to the next level.
Moving to Hawaii & meeting Heather-
After returning from the Europe trip, Ryan decided to enrol back in the university.
But at the final moment, he changed his plan and dropped the classes and moved to Oahu, Hawaii with a plan to join classes in December.
Living in Hawaii was a lot cheaper compared to living in New York.
Here, Ryan met his future wife, Heather and he decided to not attend university, instead he signed up for online classes.
After living for nine months in Hawaii, he returned to Utah and graduated from college.
Ryan married Heather in 2020.
From September 2018 to April 2020, he worked as a Creative Director for Trift in Laguna Beach, California.
Here, his job involved creating video content.
A full-time & successful YouTuber-
Ryan started his YouTube channel by the name Ryan Shirley on 6 June 2009.
On 15 October 2009, he published the first video on his YouTube channel titled ‘Best MAGIC trick EVER!!!’.
Ryan started occasionally publishing magic and travel videos onto his channel and only from 2017, he started seriously working on his channel.
From April 2020, he has been working as a full-time travel YouTuber and is self-employed.
As of January 2023, Ryan has 567K subscribers on his YouTube channel.
And has 107K followers on Instagram.
He earns from a variety of sources like advertisements on his YouTube videos, YouTube memberships, affiliate marketing and receiving sponsorships.
Ryan also sells footage, LUT and travel guides and also earns through Firework app.
Thanks to all these monetization methods, he has been able to make great profits from all these trips.
Ryan uses a Sony α7S III camera and GoPro MAX 360 degree action camera and a DJI Mavic 3 drone.
His other YouTube channels-
Apart from his main YouTube channel, Ryan has three other YouTube channels namely, Scenic Relaxation, Ryan Shirley Español and ShirleyFilms.
He recommends watching the YouTube channels of Graham Stephan and Andrei Jikh to learn passive income and finance.
In 2019, one of Ryan’s videos won first place in the Travel Film for SkyPixel worldwide Aerial Film contest.
He loves cliff jumping and his favourite places to cliff jump are Mallorca, Cala Varques, Belize, Idaho, Hawaii, Lavertezzo, Ibiza, Zakynthos and Lake Tahoe.
So, how are you inspired by the success story of Ryan Shirley?
Share with me in the comment section below.
Looking for inspiration to start your travel?
To Shake the Sleeping Self is the best book for travel inspiration.
Table of Contents
Please Support This Site
It takes a lot of effort to research and produce content. If you are happy with my work, please support me by donating.