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  • Stephen O'Regan

Day 6 - YouTuber Johnny FD moved to his dream home in Kyiv. Then the war started.

We met Johnny FD while we made our recent video in the foundation house. Johnny was sitting quietly and unassumingly at a kids table. I suppose in the moment he just looked like another volunteer. I suppose he was just another volunteer.

I briefly got a few words with Johnny as I free wheeled around with my camera. Johnny told me he was from the States. He also told me he lived in Kyiv until recently - until the war started. I asked Johnny what he did.

"I'm a YouTuber." Interesting.

Full disclaimer - I have been making video content my whole life. I have a few YouTube claim to fame stories. I've made plenty of videos, that have barely made a blip on the radar. So it was a natural curiosity that I would have to look up Johnnys channel when I got home later.

Suffice to say Johnny FD is a very successful YouTuber - with his channel approaching 250,000 subscribers. His videos are often about his travels, but fascinatingly his most recent video are about him moving to Kyiv, finding a home, and then the subsequent outbreak of the war.

It turns out Johnny FD just uses his IPhone to make most of his videos. Which I must admit... made me a little jealous.

We asked Johnny if he would be up for meeting up and telling us his story and we were delighted when he said yes.

On the day we filmed Krakow glowed in the sunlight. It was our first day exploring the Jewish area of the town known as Kazimierz. I couldn't believe how cool the area was with its hip restaurants and bars, music in the street, and outdoor market style vendors.

If you blurred your eyes you could have been in New Orleans or in the meat packing district of New York.

Photos by Rita Ansone

Johnny FD's Ukraine/ Kyiv story was unique to us. He was a totally different kind of refugee - but a refugee nevertheless. He carried a genuine sadness about having to leave his home.

"I spent my life travelling the world looking for my dream place to live. And then I found it. And now..."

Since making this video its seems Johnny is back to doing what he does best - making videos with his unique perspective. More surprisingly he has also ventured back to the Ukraine.

- Stephen O'Regan

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