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A 21-year-old mrs living alone v her pet snake in a van traveling approximately the state that California might no sound favor a recipe for viral fame, but because she uploaded her an initial video barely two months ago, Jennelle Eliana has come to be a YouTube sensation.

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Eliana is the closest anyone has actually come to becoming an overnight star ~ above YouTube. She garnered more than 1.3 million subscribers in her first three weeks and also is projected to hit 2 million in the coming month. Though she’d posted simply three videos by the end of July, hers was the many subscribed-to YouTube channel in America the month. “If girlfriend haven’t heard that Jennelle Eliana, you could want to open up your ears, since she’s just about everywhere right now,” Dan Courrier, organize of Creator Fundamentals, a YouTube channel that gives tips on audience growth, said in a current video.

Part of what makes Eliana’s success for this reason fascinating is the she basically came out of nowhere. That takes many YouTube vloggers year to acquire an audience, however Eliana, a seemingly mean girl life in a beat-up van, did that in a issue of weeks. Various other YouTubers have created videos supplying their own speculation top top the phenomenon, and Internet sleuths have devised sophisticated (and false) conspiracy theories. However in reality, yes nothing nefarious around Eliana’s meteoric rise.

Eliana never also started out trying to find fame. As a teenager farming up in Sacramento, California, she became interested in sustainable living and also spent hrs watching various other vanlife YouTubers. ~ graduating high college in the summer of 2016, she gained a task working for a sporting goods firm in Silicon valley (she prefers not to name the firm over security concerns) and enrolled in community college part-time come study maritime biology. She moved into an apartment through a roommate, and was stuck paying $900 per month for a residence she yes, really only provided for sleep. ~ seeing rather live the end of their vans, she was interested in living an ext sustainably herself.

So, in July 2017, she pulled together $2,500 and purchased a 1995 GMC Vandura Explorer. She spent a month refurbishing it, borrowing devices from her previous employer to get the job done. She outfitted her automobile with every little thing she’d need to live, including a hammock come sleep in while she was finishing the conversion. By January 2018, she’d constructed a proper bed. The transformation from van come home had ripping out the van’s initial carpet and including three varieties of insulation (Great Stuff house spray, a layer of Reflectix, and also Polyiso foam board), a steel bar sink, and also storage. Because Eliana only provides her sink for to brush her teeth and washing her face, the Valterra hand-operated hand pump attached to her faucet is linked to a 64-ounce Hydroflask, together opposed come a bigger water tank. Because that the majority of her water requirements she counts on a seven-gallon plastic tank that she fills up with purified drink water.

Eliana forwent a stove buildout in donate of a Dometic CFX 28-inch compressor refrigerator refrigerator, where she keeps snacks. For 99 percent of she meals, she eats out. “It’s a high-end I deserve to afford now that ns don’t salary rent,” she says in a video. She included Velcro dots about her front windows to affix felt-covered Reflectix pads to keep out the sun and also stay warmth while she’s sleeping. She keeps her shoes in a basket, her garments in trunks, and a pop-up “dining room table” in a pouch behind the van’s passenger seat.

The most unique thing around Eliana’s valve build, though, is her practice snake terrarium. She included sliding glass doors to a kitchen shelving unit, and uses an eraser wedge to save them closed. Since her pet snake, a round python called Alfredo, requirements to store warm, Eliana mounted a heater pad below the makeshift tank linked to a thermostat that runs off the main auto battery.

For two years ~ Eliana moved right into her van, she continued to be in Silicon Valley and still functioned her 9-to-5 hourly job at the sporting items company. She recorded some that her regional travels approximately California top top Instagram, however it wasn’t until June 26 of this year the she finally launched a YouTube channel.

“Sup dudes and also dudettes, this is mine crib,” she created at the time. “I’m two decades old and also I’ve been living in this self-converted 1995 GMC Vandura traveler for at some time now. I’m so i stopped to lastly be here on YouTube. Remain tuned for part wild and not therefore wild adventures.” Her very first video, “VAN tour | SOLO mrs TRAVELER resides VANLIFE with PET SNAKE!” took off practically immediately.

Within her very first month she had actually crossed one million followers and also has because uploaded four much more videos, greatly answering typical questions about how she provides food (she eats out), where she showers (at a regional gym), and why she decided to live in a valve (she didn’t want to spend fifty percent her revenue on rent). Eliana describes that she does, in fact, live in the van and has because that a while, regardless of the conspiracies calling she a fake. “I have been with a lot to make this my reality and I find it so man that people are accusing me of not living in my van due to the fact that I’m also pretty or mine van is also clean,” she states in one video. “Thank you! I job-related really difficult to keep myself and also my valve clean and I’m glad who noticed.” With every upload, Eliana’s pan base grows.

YouTube’s reference algorithm is powerful, and also Eliana has grown so rapid mainly because she videos are a confluence of whatever YouTube viewers it seems to be ~ to be loving appropriate now, which almost guarantees her a certain level that distribution. As an ext people watch and respond positively through likes and comments, YouTube spreads her content even further.

One of Eliana’s biggest draws is the she’s a solo mrs traveler, a group that is exploding ~ above YouTube this year. Due to the fact that 2016, uploads through “solo travel” in the title have actually risen 80 percent, year end year, v 2019 gift the biggest year yet, follow to YouTube. And also of the optimal 100 most viewed videos through “solo travel” in the title, over 70 percent were uploaded through women. There’s a growing interest native YouTube’s vast community in not simply what it’s prefer to travel alone as a woman, but also as a mrs of color. Black women are developing travel travel guide and trip diaries, and also providing valuable information for those seeking come replicate your lifestyle. The majority of the optimal solo female take trip content ~ above YouTube is from the vanlife community, v videos pertained to vanlife having increased more than 4.5 times due to the fact that 2017.

Eliana’s videos are lighthearted, lo-fi, and, despite they fall into the more comprehensive vanlife and travel vlogger categories, they’re additionally a reaction against the over-produced, hyper-curated content many travel influencers profession in. Eliana doesn’t own any sophisticated equipment; she shoots and also edits every little thing on her iPhone. Because her valve doesn’t have actually Wi-Fi, she is regularly slow come upload. Her content is relatable to hoards of her Generation Z peers. “If friend look at various other videos the vanlife they’re all an extremely similar, cinemagraphic shots of places they’ve traveled. They have expensive develop outs and also vans, the destinations they go to are luxurious,” Eliana says. “I shot to be as realistic as I can be and very candid about my life. Ns don’t take trip to every these remarkable crazy destinations…. I have actually a cheap, beat-up valve that i tried come make as cozy as possible.” she pet snake additionally sets her apart. “Everyone else has actually dogs,” she says.

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Eliana stressed the she’s a huge fan that the vanlife community, but many that the networks she flourished up city hall featured millennial couples that had melted out the the that company world and wanted to uproot their resides to travel. Eliana states that for her, the way of life isn’t as much around travel together it is simply not having to pay rent or buy into some corporate pecking order right the end of school. Eighty percent the Eliana’s subscribers room women aged 18 to 24, and also her channel gives them through an different path that’s an ext realistic come what lock might have the ability to achieve.

Her attention in sustainability has also helped she grow. Eliana thrifts lot of her clothing and resells that on Depop, a popular clothes resale app, under the take care of