Update – steps towards Asia

We are in the process of preparing for a (semi) permanent relocating from Australia to somewhere in Asia. (So many great places, can’t pin it down any further at this stage). All of our big decisions are made with this goal in mind. A few things led to this situation. Here’s a quick summary…

In 2014, we both took leave without pay from our jobs for 12 months and moved to Hoi An, Vietnam for a year. It was the most fun year of our lives. While we were gone, we rented our Toowong townhouse to some awesome family members. When we came back, they wanted to stay a bit longer, so we took a rental apartment in Taringa. Fast forward a year or so. We took a month-long holiday in Myanmar, returned to Australia, and moved back into our Toowong place with the intention of fixing it up and putting it on the market. It was a solid 3 months of work getting the place ready to sell, but we worked hard, listed it for what we thought was a silly price, and sold it for said silly price in a few days. The next step was moving into a rental apartment in Indooroopilly. We stayed there for a year and I spent a lot of time on realestate.com.au to make sure we didn’t miss the perfect property. The hours spent trawling new listings weren’t completely wasted as I was able to wrangle a rental into a sale (long story).

In April, we bought the Fairfield Tiny House, aka the Petite Palace. It’s a small one bedroom apartment with nothing that we don’t need, and we couldn’t be happier. We painted the walls, changed the lights, sold heaps more stuff, and  we are on track to having the place exactly as we want it. It fits into the bigger plan because we can easily rent it out as it’s close to the city, university, and hospitals, about 200m to the train station, and two minutes walk from a great shopping centre. This should mean we are not without a tenant for long. We wanted to keep our toes in the Brisbane market, and buying a small place at the bottom of the market seemed to make sense.

For now, it looks like we’ll kick along this way for another year or two. Jeremy is happier in his new job, our loved ones are healthy. Life is good.

Top 5 Asia vloggers we follow and why

Or maybe that should read top 6, more on that below.

We spend many evenings ‘researching’ our Asian Dream. So much so that we don’t watch free to air TV these days. Jeremy watches Netflix when I’m not around, but when we are home together, we watch A LOT of YouTube via Chromecast to our TV. Hours spent on The Tube have taught us that there is a massive spectrum of quality out there when it comes to content about Asia.

What makes us love a You Tube video? Great content, obviously. Interesting places or an interesting topic are key. We also rate strong narration and solid camera work. I really like videos that give me an insight into something – some aspect of living in Asia – that I couldn’t get from reading a guide book. Personal experience that comes from living in a place for a while seems to deliver consistently awesome content.

Technically, things that put us off are narration that you can’t hear well enough to understand, no narration at all, camera panning that is so fast it makes you dizzy, really annoying music and/or strange choices of music. Death metal accompanying exploration of a Buddhist temple just doesn’t fit. I get juxtaposition and irony, but in this context it just doesn’t work.

Another thing that don’t interest me in a video is a lot of self content. By this I mean the young and beautiful people making videos that show them looking young and beautiful in exotic locations, often with no narration and a music overlay. There’s clearly a market for this, and it’s great that they get lots of subscribers, it’s just not for me.

With these points in mind, here are our top 5. Our go-to vloggers. The ones we subscribe to and get excited about when they have new content.

1. Serpentza and C-Milk – this could count as two, or even three

Serpentza, aka Winston Sterzel; and C-Milk, aka Matthew Tye, are the first and last word in China vlogging. Together they have quite a few channels (Serpentza, Laowhy86, ADV China along with others) and a massive archive if you are just starting out watching them. They even have two longer documentaries that are great viewing. The quality of their work is unsurpassed and we really enjoy their content. While we watch all of their channels, ADV China is by far our favourite.

Here is the first ADV China video that I watched. It’s about nail houses and maintenance in China. The format of a talk show on motorbikes is great because the scenery is always changing, and they are able to point out examples of the things they are talking about as they ride.

Here is another ADV favourite about China’s ghost cities:

From Laowhy86:

Serpentza, from his China vs series:

2. This is Taiwan

Nathan’s work is much appreciated. Vlogging under the name This is Taiwan, he shows aspects of life in Taiwan in a  thorough and interesting way. The first video I watched was this one about 7-11s in Taiwan. I was hooked. This is one of Nathan’s older videos, and we have started a GoFundMe campaign to bring back the ‘fro.

3. Taiwan Everything

This guy deserves praise for his video quality, maps of the locations visited, fun camera work, and generally being a great guy. If there is an interesting corner of Taiwan, you can bet that he’s been there and made a video. Such a great resource for Taiwan Everything.

4. Mark Weins

The delicious face. What more to say? Mark’s Migrationology channel combines a love of travel and food that results in great watching. He has nearly 2 million subscribers – watch his videos and you’ll understand why. Based in Bangkok, he’s never far away from inspiration for new content.

I’m featuring the video below because in it, he goes to Kapitan, an amazing 24 hour tandoori restaurant that we visit at least once a day whenever we are in Penang.

5. Mike Chen

Mike is another food guy, and his coverage of the breakfast buffet at the Shangri-La in Tainan is the reason we are staying two nights there when we visit in November this year. His buffet game is impressive. Here’s the video…

Mike has at least three channels, maybe more. His enthusiasm for food and travel, and generally positive attitude keep us checking regularly for new content.

So there they are, our top five go-to You Tube channels that feature Asian life and/or travel, and/or food. We are visiting Taiwan in November. Because it’s a new country for us, we are watching a lot of Taiwan content at the moment, and our top 5 reflects that. We watch heaps of other vloggers as well, but these the ones we keep coming back to. Jeremy would like to give Prozzie an honorable mention.