Around the world in a selfie

Jun 02, 2014, 08:39 IST | Soma Das

Adventure rider Alex Chacón completed a 600-day trip around the world. He documented it via a trending selfie video, titled Around the World in 360 Degrees. Soma Das speaks with the explorer

During his stay in India

Q. What made you sell all your possessions to embark on this journey?
A. As a kid, I would always look at the map, and be curious about what the world looked like and were we all different or similar. After I graduated from college, I sold everything I had, including my TV, car, clothes and video games, and set off not knowing if I would ever return. I was inspired by my curiosity to understand different people, countries and cultures.

In Bolivia

Q. What were the highlights, and your most memorable experiences?
A. It spanned 600 days, 2,00,000 km, 36 countries, and 75-plus borders. The Northern Lights in Alaska, Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia, Iguazu Falls in Brazil, the Himalayas and driving to Leh from Manali were the most memorable.

Selfie shot in India

Q. Tell us a bit about about yourself.
A. I was born in the USA, but I have a Mexican background. I speak Spanish and English. I graduated college to be a doctor. My dad put me on a motorcycle when I was two years old; since then, I was hooked. I have ridden motorcycles since I was 14 years old.

During his trip to Oman

Q. How did the idea for the selfie video come about?
A. I began filming this three years ago, when the selfie didn’t exist. I was trying to capture the world in a unique way, on video to share with everyone, to show the beautiful and positive energy and places everyone should see around the world!

Alex Chacon in Europe 

Q. Did you expect it to become such a rage online?
A. I knew my expeditions are unique but I never expected the outreach from the entire world. I’m fortunate to be able to share my experiences on a global scale.

Natural wonders of Mexico 

Q. What were the challenges of shooting it?
A. Holding the GoPro camera steady (on a stick) was difficult. I would spend a few hours at the same location to get the right shot. I also had to ensure there were fewer people in the frame.

During the trip to Chile  

Q. Till date, what has been your most memorable trip?
A. Alaska to Argentina was very amazing, and my trip through India was unique and extreme as well. I drove a Royal Enfield Bullet 500cc through India for a month. I passed through New Delhi, Jaipur, Goa, up the trans-Himalaya route to Leh and the Roghtang Pass. The people were fantastic. But I also saw the difficult lives people in India lead just to survive everyday.

The bike parked on a scenic spot in Argentina 

Q. Tell us about the cause you are involved with; will all the funds be directed towards the cause?
A. Yes. People are welcome to contribute to the charity Children of Uganda (which helps educate children, offers microfinance to women and helps rehabilitate children through music). During my trip, I volunteered at charities in 22 countries with the hope of inspiring people back home to contribute and help out in their own community.

Camping in Alaska

Q. What were the major challenges?
A. While navigating the roads and countries; sometimes, there are no indicators. Signs are in a different language. The worst experience was driving through landmine fields in Chile, getting a parasite in India, being stranded in Patagonia for four days without food or help, and being lost in the desert for six days in Bolivia/Chile. I travel solo; I would like to share the experience with someone but it’s difficult to find partners to travel with because not everyone has the time or funds.

During his sojourn in Nepal 

Q. Does your family worry about your journeys?
A. They were scared at the beginning, like any family, but now they are very proud.

A Trip to Peru

Q. What is the message you hope to convey through your travels?
A. The world would be a better place if we all travelled and introduced ourselves to different cultures, people and places. I wish everyone could do it the way I did. But the next best thing is watching my video.


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