Plant-based travelers David and Travis gain a YouTube fan base

Travis and David of Café Con Leche arrived in Mérida from Los Angeles and soon found themselves a YouTube following. Photo: Courtesy

David and Travis were inspired by all those online videos coming from expats in Mérida. So naturally, they came to Mérida and started a YouTube channel. 

Fans followed quickly.

After living in a tiny apartment in North Hollywood, California, “We were radicalized on YouTube,” David recalls.

He and Travis first considered leaving Los Angeles for a cheaper part of the United States until they realized how few domestic places it felt safe to be an interracial gay couple. So they broadened their search. 

David and Travis of Café Con Leche arrived in Mérida from Los Angeles and soon found themselves a YouTube following. Photo: Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

David had never been out of the country, and Travis’ experiences in Mexico were pretty limited. He mainly remembers a childhood family vacation in Puerto Vallarta.

“Then we saw all these expats living their best lives on YouTube,” Travis recalls, “in Mérida, and specifically Black Americans.”

Once they put together that they had portable careers and could work anywhere in the world that had wi-fi, they were on their way to becoming digital nomads. 

And by October 2020, they had a YouTube channel dubbed Café con Leche Travel. The world of expat vlogging is pretty crowded, but “Why We Sold Everything We Owned And Moved To Mexico” has over 7,000 views and, in a recent count, the channel has over 8,700 subscribers. 

Video taken in Mexico City, San Miguel, and San Luis Potosí, are lighthearted and filled with humor. They dance a little, and sometimes David bursts into song. Furthermore, the segments are filled with helpful insights. Even a knowledgeable viewer might see completely new things.

Part of the running storyline is their challenge finding restaurants with vegan food. They do surprisingly well. 

It helps that both are accustomed to performing for an audience. David is a musician and singer who also writes his own music. With the pandemic, he collaborates with other artists from a home studio, which right now is a spare bedroom fitted with acoustic panels. In their North Hollywood apartment, the home studio was in a closet. 

Travis is even more location-independent. He is a freelance copywriter and publishes an essay each weekend. He’s also done stand-up comedy and acting. While packing for Mérida, they both booked a gig appearing in a Starbucks commercial. 

After initially renting in the Centro, they opted for a more spacious and economical new-construction townhouse in a gated development to the north. Despite the relatively remote location, they have been determined not to get a car, so they walk long distances or hail an Uber. 

Major cultural differences have not been an issue, aside from the language barrier. “After a year here, it should be much better,” admits Travis. 

They are working on that. Every day, Travis records a five-minute personal anecdote in English, and then learns how to relate the same tale in Spanish, no matter how many days it takes. This do-it-yourself technique is designed to “make you fluent in the language of your life,” he says.

For now, David and Travis are doing well with what words and phrases they know. Their channel is growing — there’s even an online class on moving abroad and extra content for paying members — and they were more recently seen promoting their own coffee brand. ′ 


Lee Steele
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012.
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