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Nikolay Timoshchuk Jr teams up with his YouTube followers to pick up trash along the beach

Nikolay Timoshchuk Jr with some of those gathered for the beach clean-up

Nikolay Timoshchuk Jr with some of those gathered for the beach clean-up   | Photo Credit: Liza George

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Travel vlogger Nikolay Timoshchuk Jr combined a meet-up with his YouTube followers with a beach clean-up at Shanghumugham

“Adipoli!”, says Nikolay Timoshchuk Jr. The American who quit his job as a school teacher last year to travel the world to “enlighten” people about “what a wonderful world it is that we live in”, is euphoric that his YouTube channel Back2Life has hit 1 lakh subscribers.

Nikolay, who has been in Kerala for the past 45 days, feels that it’s probably his policy of not following a script “as it feels fake” that has won him the hearts of netizens. “What you see on screen is my immediate reaction when visiting a place, meeting a person or trying a new dish.”

Nikolay Timoshchuk Jr posing for a selfie with a fan

Nikolay Timoshchuk Jr posing for a selfie with a fan   | Photo Credit: Liza George

And so, if a video of him dining at YouTuber Sameera Nizarudin’s home in the city got him 1,05,872 views, his post on a KSTRC bus ride from Wayanad to Kozhikode fetched him 2,32,715 clicks and one on a head massage at a street in Kozhikode 2,61,874 views.

The traveller, who has covered 10 countries, including Hawaii, Bali, Italy and Sri Lanka so far, says that he finds Malayalis warm and welcoming.

As someone who believes in “going with the flow”, Nikolay says he is fortunate to have experienced so many wonderful things while visiting Kerala, “right from heading to a stranger’s house for breakfast upon landing in an unknown country, cheering for Kerala Blasters at a match in Kochi to exploring the glorious food at Kozhikode and spending time at an old age home.”

Some of the participants at the beach clean-up

Some of the participants at the beach clean-up   | Photo Credit: Nikolay Timoshchuk Jr

Chipping in
  • The meet-up on Wednesday saw a large group of youngsters at the beach. Subin S Kumar has been following Nikolay’s travels right from Kozhikode to Thiruvananthapuram on YouTube. “Unlike most foreigners, Nikolay indulges in conversations with the locals. The joy when he meets a new person, greets them in Malayalam, tries out a new dish, visits a new sight…it’s all well captured. I live near Kovalam and knew that the Kovalam beach would be featured in his travelogue once he reached Thiruvananthapuram. One evening, while out with my wife at the beach, we bumped into Nikolay at the lighthouse. I was so happy to meet him,” says Subin, a pharmacist.
  • College students Vivek KB, Thara Anjali and Varsha Vasudevan say that they saw a post on Instagram and decided to attend the event so that they could do their bit to clean the beach.
  • Paula Almeda, who is in the city on a holiday, learnt about the beach clean-up through a friend. Paula, who lives in Spain, says she likes to volunteer for beach-cleaning. “I have already done it in Vietnam and Cambodia and now in India. I am part of a volunteer programme in my town to clean beaches. If everyone spent an hour a day cleaning the beach, the ocean would eventually become clean. So, it is a case of creating awareness not to throw things in, but also, to take things out.”

Nikolay says he believes that the best way to explore the culture of a place is through the local people, eating their food and speaking their language. “People seem to be tickled pink when I address them in my rudimentary Malayalam. When I wore a mundu in Alappuzha, I had autorickshaw drivers complementing me.”

The 26-year-old grins when he says he has a large Malayali fan following on his channel. “In fact, many of them leave comments in Malayalam on my page, which I get translated by friends. Some of them leave suggestions on what to see next,” Nikolay says.

When he began receiving requests from his Malayali followers for a meet-up, he decided to hold one at Shanghumugham beach.

“I have been to a lot of beaches since I came here and when I came to Shanghumugham, I was disheartened to see the garbage strewn around. I have a voice right now in Kerala thanks to my YouTube channel and I wanted to do my bit. Why should this trash prevent people from using the beach as a tourist spot? The crowd that gathered at the meet-up is a young one; that’s the next generation and so why not get these kids focussed on what matters? I hope that this builds a platform to educate and empower people to make a difference,” says Nikolay, who will be travelling to Tamil Nadu next.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 2:13:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/nikolay-timoshchuk-jr-teams-up-with-his-youtube-followers-to-pick-up-trash-along-the-beach/article29971091.ece

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