Twelve Travel Questions with Eight Miles from Home


Name: Jmayel & Sacha El-haj (Eight Miles from Home)
Home Base: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Last Trip: Mae Salong, North Thailand
Next Trip: Sailing the Mergui Islands in Myanmar on a beautiful yacht
Twitter: @8milesfromhome

1. What are three things you take on every trip? 

Canon SLR cameras, a 24-year-old mascot soft toy seal, and a very heavy backpack with all our equipment in it.

2. What is your best remedy for jet lag?

Staying awake on the plane, or sleeping on the plane depending on which way around the world we are traveling.

3. What is the first thing you do when you get to a new place?

Find a taxi :-) Get to our hotel and take pictures and video of the room before we put our bags down! Otherwise the room looks all messy in our videos 😉

4. What place has the best food? The worst food?

The street markets of Pai in North Thailand have some great stall food. We love to walk to each vendor and try to buy a small sample of everything that takes our fancy.

The worst food would have to be China, we went to all kinds of different restaurants, cheap, local, expensive or otherwise and everything was really bad. That was eight years ago though, maybe things have changed since then :-) 

5. What is one place that changed your outlook on life?

Delhi India. It was the first destination on our first voyage around the world and oh my god, we got hit hard with culture shock. We were too afraid to leave the hotel for a whole day so when we got hungry we ate chewing gums that we had brought from England. 😀 It was a steep learning/adjustment curve but the travel bug soon kicked in after that and since then one country is never enough for too long.

6. What is your favorite travel quote?

Ask not what life has in store for you, but what you have in store for life.


7. Is there any music that inspires you to travel?

Cinematic music always inspires us to travel. We make cinematic travel videos so when we hear a beautiful score by Hans Zimmer or Two Steps from Hell it really makes us want to get out there with our cameras and film our next adventure.

8. What is your craziest true travel story?

The one time when we were going through a bit of a financial struggle in Australia. A shady man came to Jmayel and offered him $100 AUD to buy his urine. No questions were asked, a pot was provided and urine was delivered for cash. We never saw that man again.

9. How do you think that travel videos can be useful to travelers, even if they aren’t filmmakers themselves?

I honestly think that a travel video can make or break a destination. It depends on how it is filmed. I find that some videographers can butcher a beautiful landscape or scene by using the wrong exposure settings or uncomfortable movements. On the flip side, I usually find that Documentary filmmakers really know how to compose a scene in exactly the right way to capture its appeal. Travel videos show travelers much more than a photo or article ever could and because of that, the filmmakers’ perspective is a strong influencing factor.

10. What is the goal/philosophy of your videos? 

To show that absolutely anything can be beautiful if you know what to look for. We like to promote lesser-known areas and invite new visitors to follow in our footsteps. There are so many great things to see in the world within a few miles of you wherever you are. You just need to believe that, and then you can see it. Our goal is to show others exactly that.

11. What advice do you have for someone who wants to make travel videos?

Buy a tripod :-) Then watch other filmmakers to see what inspires you the most. After that it is up to you to put your own stamp of creativity onto your work and create something unique and special. Most importantly, if you are passionate about what you do, it will show in your work and eventually you will get noticed.

12. What is your best travel tip?

Document the things that you do when you travel, keep a diary, a blog, a photo library or video. It might not seem that important at the time, but you’ll regret it afterwards when your memories begin to fade.

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