Three years ago I was living in South Korea teaching English at an elementary public school in Daejeon saving like a fiend for my next backpacking adventure. Aside from studying photography, one of my tactics for saving money & becoming a cheapskate extraordinaire, was to do a lot of research at home on destinations in South America and Asia that I was planning on visiting. In particular, I’ve always been fascinated by Komodo Island in Indonesia – home of the dragons. I surfed around the web and was quite underwhelmed with the information I was finding; however, when my search extended to youtube videos I quickly found something that grabbed my attention. After watching the video I was prompted to watch another and I quickly discovered that an entire series on Indonesia existed from this guy called Monkeetime.
Needless to say, it wasn’t too long before I became totally hooked on this guy’s channel. Emil Kaminski (aka Monkeetime) has been living abroad for nearly a decade teaching English in places such as China, Taiwan and Hong Kong (SAR) in tandem with being a scuba-diving instructor on Koh Tao (island), Thailand. His backpacking expeditions have taken him all over the world but he’s especially fond of Asia and has been documenting his experiences for several years on his popular youtube channel, which as of September 24, 2011 has 1,184,046 views and 2,201 subscribers.
Backpacking India Part 1 (Intro & Delhi)
To view the rest of his backpacking India series click here.
Monkeetime, as one of the most talented digital nomads in my less than humble opinion, has hands down the most fascinating travel videos I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. The videos are what I would describe as info-taining (a combination of informative travel information and flat out entertainment) that are typically humorous and at times completely outrageous – one never knows what is going to happen next. What makes his videos unique is that he captures footage that others simply don’t obtain and interacts with locals in a manner that I’ve yet to see anywhere else. His channel can be quite edgy at times and he’s certainly not afraid to voice his opinion over certain matters; nor does he shy away from showing the less than stellar moments of backpacking. His storytelling ability is uncanny and when you’re watching one of his series it feels as though you’re backpacking right along with him and his travel companions.
Backpacking India (Part 4 – Varanasi)
To view the rest of his backpacking India series click click here.
What separates quality videos from amateur ones (such as my lousy channel) often comes down to high quality editing, selection of music and engaging narrative. Emil really keys in on all of these three areas and I’ve watched his channel and body of work evolve over the years from a high standard to a league of its own.
North Korea (Part 4)
To view the rest of his North Korea series click here.
Last spring we both found ourselves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – on a stopover en route to different destinations – and I had a chance to preview his North Korea series at a dingy hostel in Chinatown before he released it on youtube. While we viewed it together he’d often pause it to discus something or tinker with the sound, text and slide transitions. The level of fine tuning and attention given to every minute aspect of each video was phenomenal. It was neat watching him do his thing the same way one might be fascinated with a photographer meticulously taking to his/her craft in the darkroom.
Bad Karma Trailer (The anti-guide to Backpacking in India)
To view his Bad Karma ‘movie’ click here.
A Monkeetime Preview (Future Projects)
Some of Monkeetime’s future projects include series on Mongolia, the Philippines, Brunei and China.