Exploring: Addendums for the Tibetan Plateau, Sri Lanka & Marseille Videos

My original plan was to set up blogs alongside the videos I was producing, but I think I came up with this idea before realizing how much time editing just one video takes. Probably also because I’m #livingmybestlife (just kidding, but maybe not really) in the meantime, each video is barely finished the day I set to upload them, no matter how much prep I feel I’m doing beforehand.

So consider this a three-parter! First off, I am incredibly excited that I actually managed to finish shooting and editing three whole videos on cool places I’ve been. In fact, I’m pretty excited that I didn’t just give up after my interview with Kim, considering how frustrated I got trying to make our conversations flow naturally without all my stupid “like you know uhm”s getting in the way.

But anyway, I feel like I’m off to a good start, I’m revving up for more polished video editing, and now I’m going to add in what I would’ve written about these three places if they had all gotten their own blog.

Exploring Amdo ++: The Giant Pandas of Sichuan

Sichuan Food.jpg

So the journey my friends and I took through Western China made a detour through central Sichuan to kick it off. I was coming from Qinghai (by overnight train!) and they were coming from Hong Kong, and we met in Chengdu to eat some bomb Sichuanese cuisine before getting on the minivan out.

Part of the reason we went this route was because some of the friends with us had never been to China before, and it seemed like if we were going to take them to THIS part of China, they ought to get some Panda magic in.

Now, a couple years ago, I had actually already gone to a Panda Reserve, but one located much closer to the Chengdu city center: Chengdu Panda Base. I’ve heard that this place gets unbearably crowded during the summertime, but in late Fall, when I went, it was nearly empty. So empty that I could sit next to a panda cage and hang out until the Panda decided to look my way.


This time around, we went to the one that's several hours away from the city: The Woolong Panda Reserve. Honestly, both are pretty good. The Woolong one is slightly bigger and - during the summertime - had just about as many people as the Chengdu Panda Base in mid-October. Also, it had more baby pandas.

Unfortunately, you can no longer just spur of the moment decide to pay their exorbitant fees to hold them. Instead, you have to book ahead of time to become a Panda Volunteer, go through a bit of Panda Training, and ONLY THEN you can cuddle with The Beast That Beat Evolution By Being So Damn Cute.

To watch the non-Panda parts of the Tibetan Plateau, check out the video I did: Elaine is Exploring Amdo

Exploring Sri Lanka ++: Just some thoughts on Travel Vids

I went to Sri Lanka on a layover to get to Bangalore. In fact, I do have some Bangalore Exploring videos planned, but I'm trying to space out travel videos with other content that I want to try. I'm not thinking super hard about Branding right now, but I do know that I don't want to be branded as a Travel Youtuber, despite that being a very decent percentage of the content I'm currently pushing out.

Maybe I'll call myself a Global Youtuber That Talks Real Ish? Is that a category?

In any case, not to sound snooty about it, but I'm hoping that all my travel videos can rise above the boring "Here is what I did" slideshows that I see from other popular Youtube channels and hopefully teach someone either about the history and customs of an overlooked region, or something any viewer can try out.

This Sri Lanka vid slides a little close to the slideshow territory, maybe, but it's also a walking one-day itinerary and highlighting a travel tip that I don't think (from a cursory Google search) many people know about: you can snack on Sri Lanka while flying somewhere else, their policies encourage it, and it's totally worthwhile to do so.

See the Sri Lanka on a Layover video here:

Exploring Marseille ++: On a Miniscule Budget!

As I mention in the video, I wasn't super excited about shooting any of the European cities that I was visiting. I figured they were already well tread territories by some of the majors in the Actual Travel Video Making business. And I don't have the team or the budget to do something as of quality, but different, from them. But a few days into hanging with my friend Carrie-Anne in Marseille (by the way, I interviewed her! She's great! You can watch it here), I realized that it could be possible to have a really cheap French vacation there. And an idea for how I'd structure the video was born.

I've since learned that Marseille is kind of considered an underrated find. Anthony Bourdain apparently spoke up for it, but for the most part tourists are still dazzled away by the rest of the French Riviera. And as far as I could tell, very few people who wrote about Marseille had tried to do it on a budget. I scrambled like mad to find things that would fit into the very sparse 100 euro guideline I gave myself. But I worked something out.

Did I actually only spend 100 euros on this trip? No. I have money and I am being (maybe a little too) free with it. But I am confident I gave a packed itinerary that lets people see and enjoy the city for just 100 euros. What's on the face of a 100 euro bill anyway? You know how we call 100 dollar bills Benjamins? I wonder what they call their currency across Europe.

Anyway, here's that one:

In Conclusion

I don't know who reads this, but I would love feedback! How do you like my travel videos so far?

What would you want me to change?

Do you look forward to more?

Somebody? Anybody? I want to improve! HELP!