Grand Blanc teenager takes his life on the road as “Fan Man Chan”
GRAND BLANC – Taking to the road in a refurbished truck to travel cross-country is not a new idea, but it has gained popularity online through a series of “van life” content creators on YouTube and TikTok.
Chandler Krasniqi, a 19-year-old from Grand Blanc, is one of those creators.
In May, Krasniqi took his 1998 Dodge Ram wagon on the road — and he’s been there ever since, releasing videos and documenting his travels under the name “Fan Man Chan.”
“I kind of planted the idea from my girlfriend’s sister’s friend,” Krasniqi told The Daily. “I never thought of van life as an ‘option.’ I was going to be an electrician…but before I had that big interview with this company, I went on two cross-country road trips. When I was on those trips, I loved being on the road.”
Krasniqi, who grew up in southeastern Michigan, said he didn’t have much experience with hiking or outdoor recreation but always loved being active. After graduating from Grand Blanc High School, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.
“I want to do something more than just work every day or do a job I hate,” he said. “I’m young now. I’ve saved money, and it’s like, why not take a risk when I have the opportunity?”
With over 1,000 subscribers on YouTube, Krasniqi hopes to soon turn his content into a sustainable form of income so he can travel as long as possible.
Krasnicki’s content is an enchanting mix of beautiful locations and the racy excitement of a 19-year-old exploring the world on his own for the first time.
Since his first video on May 20, there has been a gradual improvement in his content – from the thumbnails to the editing to the way he presents himself in front of the camera.
“I didn’t edit the video or anything like that at all,” Krasniqi said. “It’s been a long learning process.”
Krasniki isn’t the only one working hard to grow his subscriber base. His mother, Heather Krasnicki, and her husband, Steve Burton, encourage him, share his channel and story on Facebook groups, and give him a part-time job managing their company’s social media accounts.
“I miss my baby so much,” Heather said. “It broke my heart when he left, for sure. I miss him every day – but someone with a soul like him, there’s no reason for me to…keep him home. It wouldn’t work for him.”
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In August, Krasniqi’s family went to Oregon to visit him, and he video blogged him.
“Just seeing what he does on a daily basis just blows my mind,” Heather said. “For me, as a mom, to go out and look at my kid every day living in a truck, doing what he does. I know I can’t do it, but I’m so impressed that he can do it.”
Krasniqi says he’s going to be in this for a long time.
“I came straight from living with my mom to coming here,” Krasnicki said. “I have to be completely self-sufficient, and take care of myself. Not only do I have to grow as a creator, I have to grow as a person. There’s a lot of things that go into this besides what people see on YouTube.”
– Contact reporter Tess Weir firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @tess_journalist.