8 Miles From Home: A Unique Cinematic of a Real Life of a Man, Woman & Dog on Their Travels in Northern Thailand.

Reading Time: 14 minutes

Photo from facebook.com/8milesfromhome


If you are a fan of travelling and living in Northern Thailand, especially Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, you probably have seen the below video before, or have seen some of videos from this YouTube channel before. Last 2 weeks this video went viral among Thai viewers and attract 100,000 viewers within a week.  The video has a title as 6771 PHOTOS OF CHIANG MAI & NORTH THAILAND IN 2K HD.

Created by Sacha & Jmayel El-Haj, British couple who travel in the Northern part of Thailand, the video is the running as stop-motion of 6,771 photos taken in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Nothern Thailand, moving a small step each time, and strung them together into a 2k resolution video and present it beautifully. This video received positive feedback from the viewers. Within a week the fan page and YouTube subscribers increase significantly Also the video was also featured in Voice TV news in early April 2015.

Or view it in YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mhg7_F0q9Rw

This video is just one among 100 videos of a YouTube channel called “8 Miles From Home“. 8 Miles From Home is a travel blog (including Vlog) about a couple Sacha & Jmayel El-Haj, and their dog Eden who traveled from United Kingdom to live in the northern Thailand city of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. They travel in Thailand by a 42-year-old classic Ford Escort Mk 1 that they bought in Bangkok to create Cinematic Travel Videos about their experiences and to digitally capture the world in their own unique style. Once you watch their videos, you will notice how good they are at photos and videos. Yes, they are professional photographers/videographers. This is what they do for a living while they were in UK.

“8 Miles From Home” doesn’t means they are 8 miles away from home now, but come from a flash memory of their experience back home. It started several years back in English. After they met as kids in school, the got married after a 10 year relationship. With boring normal lives in London, they decided to do something different. They sough out for a different experience by moving to North Thailand in April 2012. From that day on, they began a new life as ‘Cinematic Travel Bloggers’.

The creators of this video has sent videos like this one to TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) a few times aiming to help promote Thailand tourism. Interestingly, TAT doesn’t seem to be interested to work with them. Update: Since the latest video, TAT actually invited Sacha & Jmayel to work on future projects.


image: 8milesfromhome.com


New home in Northern Thailand.
In the first night in Chiang Mai with Eden the dog they bought along from UK, they knew Thailand is their new home for at least next few years. Sitting in an old Thai Teak wood house they rent in middle of Chiang Mai city, discussing what should  be the name of their blog. They settled on ‘8 Miles From Home’ because of an iconic experience where their car broke down just 8 miles from their home in London. Aiming to attract 1 million YouTube subscribers, they create a cinematic travel web series about their adventures that they feature on their blog.

Once settled in Chiang Mai they began to photograph and film many place in Chiang Mai –  streets, temples, department store, country side scenery and coffee shops.

This is not the first time in Thailand for Sacha and Jmayel. They had been here when they were younger, and they learned that Thailand offered the highest standard of life for the lowest cost in Southeast Asia. They have thought of several country but they knew that Thailand is a great place to lower the expenses and work on building an online income.

Northern Thailand is relatively slow-paced part of the country. Lives here is generally not too exciting. Through these mini films, they are using their creativity to sustain a life that they could never have imagined possible in UK, even very hard to experience by normal Thais. Watch how a simple VLog of their travels in Northern Thailand slowly becomes an inspirational tale of two young souls that were convinced there could be more to life than paths well trodden.

The Locations
First 2 years Sacha and Jmayel stayed in Chiang Mai and shot videos in various places for the series. While staying in Chiang Mai, they also traveled to a few places such as Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Hong Son, Hua Hin and Chiang Rai. Especially Chiang Rai where they’d been to several time, mainly for visa run in Mae Sai and for visits with friends who came to visit them from UK.

In the beginning they didn’t have much interest in Chiang Rai as they thought it was only a small sleepy town – a place to stop off for the night before continuing with a visa run the next day. Besides the White Temple and a few tourist-crowded places, there was nothing special to do for the vlogging.

One day after finished their business in Chiang Rai, they took a chance to explore more about Chiang Rai by a motorbike. Then they discovered that there are many places they never know existed. They said Chiang Rai it seems only reveals its true beauty to those that want to see it. Before end of 2014, after finished everything they wanted to do in Chiang Mai, they decided to move to Chiang Rai. Now they along with Eden live in a middle of isolate beautiful farm in Mae Lao where they called “The Farm”

Visit this link of a map of places they went to in Chiang Rai: http://bit.ly/ChiangRaiMap

What can we learn from 8 Miles From Home?
First thing
we learn is the power of video presentation. This is one of many example to demonstrate that social video sites like YouTube have given people much more ability to express themselves in a whole new way so called vblogging. In Vlog, people can shoot a video or sit down in front of their video or web cameras and talk about anything, from politics to pop culture, upload their videos to YouTube and share their opinions with the world. Instead of just adding narration to videos, Sacha & Jmayel choose to present different ways. They don’t just shoot whatever they and post to YouTube randomly. It seems they set a concise plan for all the videos. What they do is they separate videos into 2 sets.

Set one is to represent their daily lives such as what they do, where they go and what they eat in particular areas. They present in the way they are having conversations with friends. They call this series as “A Day In The Life” (ADITL), which also consists of 3 types of shooting – Behind the Lens (BTL), Sights & Sounds and Real Time. Another set is video series to represent their real lives in cinematic style. As the name implies, it’s like viewers are seeing a movie trailer or a presentation work. Quite often they present time lapse videos. They call this series “8MFH EPXX”, we XX is the running number representing episode they are shooting. For example, the 6771 PHOTOS OF CHIANG MAI & NORTH THAILAND IN 2K HD is the 25th episode of the series, so the video is marked as 8MFH EP25. 

Second thing we learn is “taking the steps”. Sacha and Jmayel are just ordinary people who once lived normal lives in UK. One day they realized that if they continue doing the same thing over and over again, nothing new can happen. Then they decided to get out there and do something different. Now the results are beyond what they imagined. We can see from their fan’s responses, each week thousand of fans are waiting for the new cool videos to come. They really create some impact on the fans. Medias like TV 5, Voice TV start to recognize them. Also there are more and more blogs and news report mentioning about their work too.

8 Miles From Home is a good example of people who seek new life in strange new land. This couple actually left the certainty and go for the lives in the unknown. The result or what thy find after taking this step is just astonishing. For those who want to visit or stay in Thailand, it’s good to check out their series of videos that show real life behind the scenes. It’s a real glimpse into the weird and wonderful world that opens up to you when you take a chance and follow your dreams. See how beautiful and what kind of variety Northern Thailand has to offer that the couple have presented in a very interesting way.

Great production & awesome idea but still new to many viewers
The production by Sacha & Jmayel is probably one of best travel vblogs about Thailand on the Internet right now but not everyone is ready for it. Remember 10 plus years ago when blogging came to existence. It started in some small projects by a few individuals. Very first reaction to blogging was the questions like “who would want to read somebody else’s personal story” or “why bother reading something written somebody never heard of”.  Look at it now. Blogging has grown into a massive communication tool used by casual hobbyists, business from all sizes, including medias all around the world. We don’t know if the same can happen to Vblogging or not. With the reduction of 3G/4G bandwidth cost, it might get the same level as blogging now one day.

Not everybody likes or be ready for vblogs
Most people like visual presentations but some people don’t particularly enjoy to see other people are having a good time than they are and some people only want to see what they want to see, not what vbloggers are trying to show. Let’s see this in detail. Based on feedbacks via discussion boards and a few Facebook groups I’ve involved in, the videos received mostly positive responses. People said the videos are fresh and energizing. However, still not every viewer like to become a fan of Vlog like this one, especially for those who get used to a conventional presentation style, like documentary or TV program, because this style of vlogs usually involve a lot of self portrait and a lot of activities from the persons who shoot the videos. Also a lot of talking about many little thing in the soundings which these type of viewers have no interest in. The viewers in this category generally don’t know Vlogs look like. They only like to see what the person who shoot the video is seeing. These viewers normally feel like they are seeing other people having a good time and they gain nothing much. There are always people who feel depressed when seeing other people having good time than themselves – being jealous if we can call it. We all know that YouTube is the place where most internet trolls live in. So far there is almost no internet troll in their channel .

Most people love what the couple are doing
For the majority of viewers, they seem to like the way the couple present themselves. It’s trendy way of viewing media today. Even many Thai viewers who have no idea what the couple are talking about, feel there is a lot of energy going on in the videos. They enjoy seeing this couple enjoying the day, having a good time, while present it to the world way they like – not like seeing another National Geographic Channel. To many people, seeing other people actually doing it is the great way to inspire and convince ourselves that we can the live we want.


image: 8milesfromhome.com


What about other famous travel Vbloggers out there?
With 36 million YouTube subscribers, PewDiePie – a Swedish producer of video gaming channel on YouTube, is the world’s most famous vloggers at this moment. Also there are plenty of beauty and cosmetics and comedy vlogers. When it comes to travel vloggers, there are a few that we can identify. The below is the list of the most famous vbloggers on YouTube. There could be more but the below are the most recognized names right now.
EPIC World Adventure (1.3 million subscribers)
Mr Ben Brown (580,000 subscribers)
emmymadeinjapan (405,000 subscribers)
Hey Nadine (186,000 subscribers)
NO REGRETS (186,000 subscribers)
Mark Wiens (170,000 subscribers)
soniastravels (114,000 subscribers)
Kristen Sarah (35,000 subscribers)
watchbbbtv (35,000 subscribers)
Gone with the Wynns (27,000 subscribers)
Graham Hughes (16,000 subscribers)

Visited them all and found that videos from 8 Miles From Home has nothing inferior the the ones above. Besides that,  8 Miles From Home is far superior to some of famous vlogs above in the aspects of video quality and the visual concept.

Not just for entertaining but it’s also informative
Besides stunning pictures and fun adventure, 8 Miles From Home also features a lot of videos a about how normal people like themselves spend daily life in cities and country side of Northern Thailand. How they go from place to place. What they see on the way. There are plenty of tips on cost of living, travels, coffee shops, food, and many things related to living in a different country. This is very informative for people who want to live abroad. Also so they provide cost break-down for living in Thailand and Northern Thailand.

As for food, it seems not to be their specialty or they just don’t enjoy eating like some of vbloggers. Don’t see them reviewed or gave viewers details about food in town that much. If you’re looking for a detailed local food vlog, you can probably head to Mark Wiens’ channel. If you love coffee, you are going to like their channels because they just drive miles and miles just to have a cup of coffee. Bet they’ve been to all coffee shop in town.

Pet Travel
Everybody loves Eden. She stole the show a few times. We probably almost forget to wonder how Sacha & Jmayel deal with all hassle of bringing Eden along in their travels. I bet some viewers even think Eden in a dog the couple adopt in Thailand. The fact is they spend almost $1800 to bring Eden from UK to Thailand. If you think it is that easy to travel with pets, think again. Think about the transportation, activities, where to stay, what to eat and how to keep the pets calm and happy. What about you pet’s health and safety? What kind of restaurant will allow your pet in? You may have a nice cozy hotel room, but it will not give you much comfort until you know your pet have a safe space to sleep. However, the couple make it look so easy to take Eden along with their journeys and we forgot all these troubles. Thai people love pets, but when it comes to travel, they tend to leave their pets at home or with relatives. There are not many pet-friendly accommodations available. Travelling with pets is very challenging in Thailand.

Before arrived in Thailand, the couple struggled to find a good source of dog friendly accommodation. The information online in English was difficult to find. A lot of hotels in Thailand didn’t respond their emails and the ones that did respond didn’t like the idea of bringing pets in the rooms. Instead they would be permitted to be leashed outside in a car park or grassy area. Almost all long-term accommodation were also against pets. After struggling for a few months, they finally found pet friendly hotels In Thailand, in fact they found hundreds of pet friendly hotels across the country. In many videos, we see they went to places that are not suitable for a dog. When they faced those situations, they let Eden resting in the hotel. They also share valuable tips about keeping pets in Thailand too. This is a very good source for those who plan to travel around with their pets.

Just visit their website for more information, here: http://8milesfromhome.com/Pet-Friendly-Hotels-Travel-Thailand 

Sacha & Jmayel usually visit pet friendly restaurants. [email protected] Dog Cafe, Chiang Mai (photo:8milesfromhome.com)

Location independence
Location independence is one of the top and the hardest goals for travelers/expats. Location independence means utilizing new technology to design a lifestyle that allows one to live and work wherever he/she wants. Nowadays there are more and more traveler/bloggers can achieve location independence, but the percentage is still low compared to actual travel bloggers. After spent almost 3 years in Thailand, it seems that they have achieve some level of location independence. Few people whom I introduced this Channel to in forums that this couple must be wealthy in order to live the lives as we see in the videos. No surprise there are people who doubt their living costs. The fact is they already expose all details about their expenses for the readers.

For most travelers, budgeting is a bible. How much they spend will determines how long they can sustain the lifestyle they live. Some bloggers do not wish to share detail of their expenses. We can understand that some people see this kind of information as personal thing. Some even keep this detail in secret position aiming to put it in some sort of ebook or membership area to charge readers who want to know. 8 Miles From Home seems to be very transparent about this subject. They have cost break-down per month published in their website to show how much it really costs in 1 month for one couple and a dog in Chiang Rai. The break-down is very detailed which give readers a good estimation what amount they are looking to spend to live the same lifestyle as this couple. Visit this links
For the cost break-down in Chiang Rai, here: http://8milesfromhome.com/post/100580034592/cost-of-living-in-chiang-rai-thailand
For cost of living in Thailand, here: http://8milesfromhome.com/post/26267409648/real-costs-of-living-in-thailand-500gbp-per-month

So far there is no information about how they earn a living while travelling, but it is not relevant here. Judging from their production, it is not hard to imagine they probably have a mixed online income selling stock photography & video clips, being hotel affiliates, sponsored trips & partnerships, creating YouTube videos and recommending Pet Friendly Hotels and accommodation through their blog.


image: 8milesfromhome.com


Real Life and Life in a Lens
Please remember this couple are professional photographers – very good photographers. To the viewers, everything in the videos and photos is stunning and too beautiful. Also videos about their live behind the scenes show wonderful world they live everybody is jealous. In reality, lives in Northern Thailand can be either too boring or overly exciting, everything you see can be dull or beautiful. What you experience may not be the same as they experienced. This really depends on how you look at them and in total what appear to you are the reflection of how you choose to live. This couple choose to live and see everyday world in energetic, optimistic view. This makes everything around them beautiful. Maybe you can too.

Work with 8 Miles From Home
If have seen some of their videos, you have probably seen the quality of their work. Now imagine if you are able to present your business to the world with the same quality as their production. Sacha & Jmayel are available to work with business owners in several ways. Sponsored Trips & Partnerships – to work in partnership with you in order to promote business, hotel, destination, tour or any business that is relevant to their audience.  Video & Photo Product Reviews – since cinematography & photographic accessories are they specialty, it’s a great opportunity for product owners to expose their products in the videos they made. Professional videography services – let the professional like them produce quality videos for your business presentations. Contact [email protected] to discuss partnership options. Do it fast before they get too famous.

8 Miles From Home already have many loyal fans, and it keeps attracting more and more fans since the time-lapse video 6771 PHOTOS. If they still keep doing what they’re doing, it’s only a matter of time before their YouTube channel reaches 1 Million subscribers.

Don’t forget to subscribe to their YouTube channel. They add the new cool videos every week.

Visit 8 Miles From Home on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOnj7dA6j1iTFtudrackMag
Website: http://www.8milesfromhome.com/
Facebook Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/8milesfromhome


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