The Traveler You Wish You Were: Alex Chacon
4 years, 41+ countries and still counting
Alex Chacon, half American — half Mexican, has been traveling the world for the last 4 years, riding his motorcycle through 41+ countries, covering 200,000+ kms through 5 continents and his journey is far from over.
Selling everything that he had, including his clothes, TV, game consoles and even his car, Alex set out to fulfill his desire to explore the world — a dream most of us cherish but rarely have the courage to realize. Having graduated from the University of Texas as a medical student, and giving it all up for his passion, Alex now has much more to boast of than a mere degree. He is a social media influencer, Video Producer, Professional Photographer & Inspirational Speaker apart from being an international traveller and blogger.
The best part about traveling according to Chacon is getting a window into a different life and into possibly inspiring others, into motivating and showing others a part of the world or himself through the ‘magic of videos’ or ‘social media’. While initially Alex started documenting his travels through a blog, he hit success on the social media through his videos on YouTube. He went through a lot of failures and experimentation until he discovered the 360 degrees selfie and dronie (selfie+drone) which lent a special flavor to his adventures.
As a photographer Alex was constantly trying to find ways to capture places in a unique way. He started filming his experiences 3 years back when the word ‘selfie’ didn’t even exist. He had to engineer his own monopod pole. When he would arrive at a destination, he’d hunt for the best spot, wait hours on end for the best light and perform various weird, unique and crazy methods of filming in each of these places. It wasn’t until weeks later and a long creative process of seeing what worked and what didn’t that he decided to stick with the 360 degree spin and epic selfie concept that has now swept the internet and world over with 10.5 million views and has been covered by almost every major news network in the USA and abroad.
And When Did He Start?
At a young age of 17, Alex traveled all through the United States from Texas to California to New York, covering some 3, 00, 000 kilometres. However, he didn’t start traveling internationally until he was 23. In between he was in school for 5–6 years when he didn’t travel at all. This according to him made him ‘almost cage crazy’. Two months after college got over, he decided to fulfil his dormant desire to travel the world. Back in college, Alex would make lists of all the places he wanted to see — Machu Pichu, the world’s largest saltland in Bolivia, the Patagonian desert and many more.
“I didn’t know how I was going to get there, and that was what the adventure was all about — getting to these places.”
And the journey brought in its fair share of twists and turns.
“There was a point where I thought I wasn’t going to make it out alive.”
“A deep feeling of disparity and loneliness had crept in. But, by then, I had already travelled 19,000 miles in 300 days and was only 900 miles from my goal of reaching the tip of South America. I was deliriously happy, the physical exhaustion notwithstanding.” Alex was lost in the Patagonian desert for 4 days without food or help. This however, wasn’t the only time when he had pushed his luck too far. On another occasion he had lost his way in the Bolivian desert for 6 days.
However, the challenges haven’t been able to deter Alex from pursuing his passion.
Some of the most memorable experiences that he has had were — watching the great northern lights in Alaska — the aurora borealis or the single out of body experience he has ever had which was while sitting in the middle of the world’s largest salt flat (in Bolivia) during the wet season.
“It became the world’s largest mirror, because the water doesn’t move. I felt that I was on a different planet for a few hours and it was very blissful…”
Considering he started with so little, Alex was amazed by the kindness of the people he met on his way — those who had so little, but were willing to give everything they had in order to ensure that he made it through.
So what are you waiting for?
To all those who wish to travel and explore the world like he did, Alex has some real advice, “Out of a 100 people who say they are going to travel, maybe 10 percent go. You have to ask yourself — are you going to be the 10 percent or are you going to be the 90 percent? Then you have to realise that when you choose to be the 10 percent or not, you’re going to face challenges you never thought and difficulties that require you to go through a rite of passage to do this which is going to be a sacrifice. So you’re going to have to figure out what you have to sacrifice in order to get what you want … Once you leave your house and go somewhere else, that motivation and that urge will find you. You don’t need to look any further for passion or excuses not to travel.”
“So you’re going to have to figure out what you have to sacrifice in order to get what you want..”
Originally published at fervorish.com on March 12, 2016.