Do you have a social media page - doesn’t everyone?
Opening up an Instagram page or YouTube channel usually translates into people thinking that photos of their feet in the sand or a video of their last sandwich is going to have the world following to see what they do next. Hell, even #grandmabetty33, known for a lot of photos with her tongue out, has close to 350K followers.
It’s hard not to image attainable internet success when it seems like everyone is following someone. Like that feeling you get when you buy a lottery ticket, mentally noting what you’ll do when you hit it big. Well, in the online world of social media influencers Alex Chacón hit the lottery!
Compiling over 200-million YouTube views with close to 300k subscribers. He’s been featured on Fox News, Time Magazine and CNN. Ranked as the #1 and most followed motorcycle adventure rider on all social media combined. He works with brands like Kawasaki, GoPro, Android, Alpinestars, Sena Bluetooth, Harley-Davidson, SW-Motech, and Progressive. As well has been featured on live television with CBS Newsroom, Fox America, CNN/HLN, Huffington Post, and Good Morning America. I mean, not that anyone’s keeping track, but he’s got a tsunami of media recognition.
We tracked down Alex when he was in populous India where he was preparing to set out on another motorcycle adventure, in the hopes of getting some tips on what it takes to garner this much online attention. He was happy to provide some insight for MotorcycleNerd.com readers about who he is and how he got to this prestigious point of recognition in his life.
Where are you right now & what are you working on?
“Right now I’m in India preparing to ride a beautiful Royal Enfield Himalayan edition across the North West part of the country, across the Ladakh region of the Himalayas. It’s similar to driving from The United States to Alaska, and to me, it's like a pilgrimage that should be pretty awesome and unique.”
Everyone’s got a GoPro, but what cameras are you shooting with & why?
“…Yes, everyone has a GoPro & I have a few. It all depends on the purpose of the journey and what I’m trying to achieve. I’ve got a Phantom Pro Drone, a Sony A7RII, Sony RX100, and Canon, along with a variety of lenses and adaptors… (It all depends), sometimes I go for cinematic productions, and sometimes I go (shooting) just for personal fun.”
Not everywhere or everyone likes or allows photos and videos to be taken. Have you ever run into any conflict having your cameras out?
“Defiantly carrying cameras around the world presents its certain set of issues. Sometimes I’ve had cultural tribes in different parts of the world who don’t like to have pictures taken, they run away from the camera. Sometimes in national monuments, they don't allow you to bring cameras in. Sometimes authorities and people are a bit of a challenge in foreign countries, but its part of the adventure going where people don’t usually go.”
There are main-stream music videos with entire teams of superstar talent working on them that don’t get as many views as some of your videos. The 3-Year Epic Selfie, for example, has over 14-million views. That’s incredible, seriously Alex, tell us your secret?
“I’ve been very fortunate to have a few viral videos which is great, as I am able to connect with the world in a very unique and incredible way… There are these big productions with great crews and incredible teams behind them that make a lot of production value. But I think that in today’s world it’s great you can make a human connection through the digital medium where people can connect to others that are doing great and incredible things… My secret is to simply create content that people can connect with.”
You did the North and South America journey on a KLR650, Morocco on a Honda C90 Scooter, The Middle East & India on a Royal Enfield, Oman on a KTM990, Nepal on a 200cc Bajaj Pulsar, Iceland on a BMW, would you sound like a motorcycle slut! Did one of those particular two-wheeled rides prove more challenging to film from than any of the others?
“I see it more as a motorcycle connoisseur. I like to tell people it’s not about the bike, it’s about the adventure. And it’s not about the destinations, it’s about the journey.”
“When I travel the world I need to think about cost-effectiveness, and how to get different motorcycles by different means around the world. It’s my sacrifice to be able to do what I do. Traveling around like I do is not always cheap, and not a lot of motorcycle brands are able to support such journey’s. You need to get creative about how to do it financially, and mine is to rent, buy or ship the motorcycle to achieve such an epic journey.”
In some of your shots, your helmet looks like the camera bubbles on top of a Google Maps mapping car, with three cameras and even a drone following the action. Why so many different shots and does it ever feel like it’s too much?
"In my videos, you certainly see a lot of different cameras and camera angles in my editing and post-production. I find it really fun and engaging to use so many different angels because sometimes so many different angles and perspectives work, and sometimes they don’t. It’s my adventurous journey to find out which ones are great, and which ones are not.”
“Also the evolution of film making has changed over the years as drones have entered the market. So my film making from four years ago is no longer the same.”
You were going to school to be a Doctor before the Americas motorcycle trip, what happened to that dream and how does your mother feel about your choices?
“It’s true I was in medical school and finished my studies before I started traveling the world. It was a very difficult concept for my parents to accept in the very beginning, and in fact, they were my biggest challenge when departing on a round-the-world trip. However, once they saw me succeed safely, along with (my personal) success, they became my biggest fans.”
“I don’t have any plans to go back at the moment, but I consider it a plan B. I realize I’ve been able to touch and change more lives now than I ever could have as a medical practitioner.
You have another website titled, ConquerTheWorld.com, it looks like it‘s geared towards a younger crowd with a focus on taking action on dreams and goals. Why the two websites?
“I have the two different websites, but most importantly the YouTube channel that fuels them both. The reason for the two websites is because one is a motorcycle action sports orientated, and the other is travel/lifestyle orientated. I realized that the general public does not always relate to motorcycles and extreme travel. So I wanted to try and grab a different, more general audience to my content. I think that we can all enjoy in a great adventure without the extremes of motorcycle reaction sports.”
“The idea is that everyone and anyone can do something fun and adventures or even life-changing at any point in your life.”
You’ve been featured on some of the most well-known channels and media platforms in the world; CBS, FOX, Huffing Post, TIME, Lonely Planet, Google, MotorcycleNerd.com and more. For the millions of entrepreneurial hopefuls out there working with even one of those would be life-changing, how did things escalate to this level to work with these companies?
“I’ve been fortunate to work with some really big brands and come out with some really important publications. Also, live interviews on live and international television, and I’d have to say the secret was the viral videos. It was those life-changing and inspiring digital masterpieces that connected with people around the world, and those are what peaked the interests of producers and brands. (It was because) the human story I was able to tell through video was received so well internationally.”
Paris Hilton said her and Brittney took and invented the first ever selfie, but you note that a selfie didn’t exist before you started shooting them. Have you talked to Paris or Britt to settle the issue?
On a personal level, I actually emailed you two-years ago for some advice before heading out on my KLR650 from Canada to Ushuaia, Argentina. Do a lot of people ask you for free advice and do you mind answering their questions?
“I can only hope I was able to reply to your email two years ago because I do receive a lot of emails and questions on social media and it's almost impossible for me to respond and engage with everyone. That’s why I have a few different websites and a few different means of communication. Most importantly for people who want to copy or duplicate what I do, I have a wonderful website called YourExpeditionSouth.com, that allows people to connect with me directly regarding their adventures journeys around the world through overland travel.
What’s the definition of a “successful” life to you?
“A successful life to me is when you are able to provide something to the world and society that it may have otherwise not have had… If you think you’ve made a positive impact in something or in someone’s life, then I think you’re successful.”
Any advice for motorcycle traveling videographer-hopefuls, looking to get noticed or go viral?
If you want to keep a social media eye on what Alex is up to, you can see his work and follow him on several different platforms.
His YouTube page HERE
“500 days…” 3.4 million views HERE
“3-year epic selfie” 14 million views video HERE