An Interview With Travel Vlogger Nadine Sykora

There are different ways to travel for an extended period of time. You can save up money for a while and then quit your job like I did, travel and work various jobs along the way, or find a more permanent job that involves traveling. For Nadine Sykora, traveling and sharing her experiences through Youtube videos is her job.  Not too shabby if you ask me!  Nadine is a 24 year- old Canadian video blogger. It’s not rare that you have seen at least one or two of her videos since she has been making them on YouTube since 2006 and has made over 387 videos to date.  She has over 27 million video views and over 171,000 loyal subscribers on her main channel.  She has worked on videos for Fox, Tourism New Zealand, CBC, The CWSanyo, HitViews, and ION Network to produce original online content.  Her videos are about her life, comedy, pop-culture and of course, travel.

Enjoying the view in Cape Reinga, New Zealand

How would you describe yourself to someone you just met?

The quirky, cute, odd girl that makes videos on the internet. Seriously, that’s how my friends describe me. I’m not one to question their judgement.

What inspired you to start vlogging?

Back in 2006, while reading one of my favourite celebrity blogs at the time, I stumbled upon a funny little YouTube video by a user call Abbegirl. She was just an average girl making funny internet skits. I was in university at the time and I had previously done community theatre in my youth so I saw YouTube as an opportunity to express myself. So I created an account and it has grown and evolved since then.

So, vlogging is a full-time job for you?  How long did it take you to get to that point in your career?

Current yes it is, however, I do a lot of video and social media contract work with companies as well. It took about three years before I could call it a full time job.  Although I started earning a bit of cash about a year and a half before then.

As a YouTuber, how do you earn your income from YouTube?

From the ads that play on videos. On the sidebars and the inlay ads that appear before and underneath the videos. I know it is annoying to some viewers, but those ads help pay the bills so I can do what I love.

Most recently, your videos have become travel related.  What has been your inspiration for the change?

I graduated university in August 2009 and decided that before I grab a “real job,” I wanted to go explore and travel since I had never done so before. I registered for a  Swap Working Holiday for New Zealand and started my adventure in February 2010. I loved it so much that I haven’t stopped travelling since.

Nadine in Cusco, Peru

What’s the best thing about making travel videos?

The best part of making travel videos, is the opportunity to take my viewers along with me on my travels. I am fortunate enough to be able to visit all these wonderful countries and see things many people only dream of seeing. I like to think my videos allow others to experience these place with me.

What video of yours was the most fun to make?

Out of all my videos, probably my Interactive Harry Potter Mystery Game. It took around three weeks to put together and consisting of fourteen fully scripted videos filmed over three days all over Los Angeles.  Not to mention, it also took over a week to edit.

Have there been moments during you’re travels where you wished you weren’t filming but instead just living in the experience for yourself?

That’s a rather difficult question in that I actually get anxiety when I am NOT filming something. I feel like I am missing good content, especially if we are doing something fun. The worst is on buses. I love just looking out the window and marvelling at random objects like the way street signs are posted, or architectural building styles. I always end up filming hours of it and end up cutting it in editing because sometimes things don’t show up as well on film. But of course, it’s always nice to put the camera down and just have a conversation with fellow travellers.

Hanging out with locals in Bali, Indonesia

When did you develop the travel bug?

Right after I graduated university.

Has traveling changed the way you look at everyday life?  The friends you make?  Your career?

Traveling has changed everything about my life. I like to think it has given me a completely new perspective on what is important to myself as a person. I haven’t been in the same place for over three month in the last two years, because of that I have learned how to make friends quickly and how to cherish the time we do spend together. Facebook is a godsend, and I like to think I will get the opportunity to meet up with most of them again. I have also learned the value in not having materialistic things. I swear I have the least amount of clothes out of every girl I know! My entire life can be packed up in two-three suitcases. As for my career, that is something I have yet to venture too far into, I have only just scratched the surface of travel blogging, I still have a lot to learn.

What’s been your most memorable travel experience?

Machu Picchu and hiking up to the sun gate even though I complained the entire time.  They don’t call it a new wonder of the world for nothing.

Relaxing at the top of Machu Picchu after a grueling hike

What advice would you give to someone who wants to travel but doesn’t think they have enough money to do so?

Traveling is really not as expensive as people think it is. There are very few life mottos that I swear by, one of them is, “If there is a will, there is a way”. Just started saving up!  There is always a few dollars everyone can cut out from their day to day lives to put towards travel. It might take you a bit of time, and you might have to sacrifice some things you want, but you can do it!  Also, you have to evaluate the type of travel you are looking for as well. Europe will cost anywhere between two to five times more than travel in Southeast Asia.  Duration is key as well.  You don’t have to go for long periods of time. There is always working holiday visas which allows you to work in another country allowing you to earn money while traveling.

What opportunities have you been given as a result of your travel experiences and your videos?

Free travel!  That’s what every travel blogger dreams of.  Also, the ability to do this for a living. More travel means more videos for my viewers. I’m very blessed to have these opportunities come my way.

Experiencing Mutianyu, a section of the Great Wall of China

What advice would you give to other travel video bloggers out there who are just starting out or have been making videos for a while?

Keep making videos, but only do so if it is what truly makes you happy. At the end of the day, all the videos I make are my souvenirs and my memories. I make them because I want to document and share my experience with my family, my viewers and someday, my grandkids. Be genuine in your love for sharing your world with others.

Did you ever picture yourself becoming such a well recognized internet personality before it happened?

I started making videos about the Olsen twins and living in a dorm room. I don’t think I could have ever foreseen what my life is today.

If you weren’t making videos, what would you be doing?

Probably working a 9-5 desk job at a internet or software company.

Where do you hope to be in the next 5 years?

Dubai, Slovakia, South Africa, everywhere.


To read more about Nadine and her wonderful adventures, visit her on your website www.heynadine.comYou can also find her on: YoutubeFacebook and Twitter.
Kristen Sarah is a full-time traveller, tiny home owner and adventure junkie. She has one of the leading YouTube travel channels and is the head honcha of award-winning travel and lifestyle website, Hopscotch the Globe.



  1. Nadine Sykora
    November 23, 2011 / 3:57 am

    Thanks so much for interviewing me 🙂 Best wishes and safe travels!!

    • Anonymous
      November 23, 2011 / 5:53 am

      Of course!  Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you.  You are inspiring to me as to many others.  Happy travels to you as well:)

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