2nd August 2018; Mumbai: If there is one video on the internet that is hard to miss is ‘Around the World in 360 degrees- 3 years epic selfie’ video which was released in 2014 and has already crossed over 200 million views across online platforms. The video was shot by Alex Chacon, a Texas-based Medical student who sold all his belongings in 2012 to fulfill his dream of traveling. Since then, Alex has traveled lakhs of kilometers on a motorcycle and has explored over 50 countries and 5 continents. He is a guy whose bucket list is not any specific destination but the experiences and he strongly believes that riding a motorcycle is like meditation for him.
On his visit to Mumbai, we met with Alex to understand the story behind his adventures and how he inspires lakhs of people around the world to travel.
THE STORY OF THE EPIC SELFIE VIDEOS
After graduating from college, Alex decided to sell everything he had and start traveling. His first big trip was from Alaska to Argentina on a motorcycle. He had no idea back then what was going to work in his favor and what would not. So he started experimenting with his GoPro camera and tried to shoot his adventure in various ways and angles. The one that worked for him was obviously the selfie shots he took at different locations. The fun fact about the epic selfie video is that selfie sticks did not even exist in 2012. Alex’s creative brains were at work and he dismantled the legs of his tripod to actually make a 5kg selfie stick by tying up his camera on one end. Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTlXttQL_Yk&t=84s to watch the video. After he uploaded this video on the internet, it immediately caught people’s attention and went viral making him a famous traveler across the world.
A DAY IN ALEX CHACON’S LIFE
No matter how glamorous and adventurous Alex’s life looks on the internet, but the effort required to put all this together is way higher than a 9-5 corporate job. He has not taken a day off for the past 7 years and is working 24 hours around the planning and execution of his travel. Even after returning back home his day is tied-up with changing his camera gears, buying the stuff he requires for the next trip and selling the ones not required, organizing and planning the next trip and the challenge. But the good part about his job is that it brings new surprises and experiences every day. One such surprise he recollects is randomly meeting a traveler in the southern part of a country and seeing her again after eight months in the northern part of the country without any communications. Such experiences he says make you realize that the world is actually a small place.
ABOUT HIS TRIP TO INDIA AND ADVICE TO RIDERS
As people say, “Once you visit India, it keeps calling you back”. This was Chacon’s 5th trip to India and he was busy meeting his fans in different cities and collaborating with fellow YouTubers and Influencers to inspire a lot more people. After a series on meet-ups in Mumbai, he headed to Ladakh- the mecca of motorcyclists across the world. His advice to riders going to Ladakh this year is very simple. He believes that more than the physical strength it’s the mental conditioning of the rider that matters in Ladakh and other high altitude places. If a rider is determined to reach his destination than he can any motorcycle with any gear to any place in the world. He says that if you are riding for the first time in Ladkah you need to go slow as it is not similar to the style of riding in the cities.
CHALLENGES OF RIDING ACROSS BORDERS AND DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
Alex has traveled to over 50 countries on a motorcycle, backpacking using local transport and has also enjoyed some luxurious trips after being invited by governments of different countries to promote tourism. He affirms that every country comes with a new set of challenge. But all the travel plans can be simplified, if we do a little bit of research and plan everything ahead. One of the best ways to do that is to thoroughly go through the government’s websites. “I never show up to a border unprepared. I make sure that I have all my documents, visas and all other local formalities sorted before arriving”, says Alex.
RURAL VILLAGES MAKE A COUNTRY REAL
After years of traveling, one thing that Alex has realized is that the deeper you go in some country the better it gets. The further you go from the big cities you meet genuine people who look a lot happier and simpler than most of us. He has one great story when he was in a village an hour away from Chandigarh. There was a school having a class in the outdoors and all the kids were just so happy to see a western foreigner in their village. Within minutes he was surrounded by over 100-150 children all trying to get in one frame for a picture. They followed his motorcycle in enthusiasm for a few kilometers until he was out of the village. Luckily, Alex Chacon has found this one thing very common in all parts of the world.