Initially, this was to be a short honeymoon for me and my wife. We got married in mid-2018 and wanted to travel somewhere far away together. As it happened 2018 was quite an eventful year, my partner's father sadly passed away from cancer, it was a very stressful and sad time. We postponed our wedding to be with him during his last days. Something that I'm grateful I could do and glad I was able to support her and her family. Safe to say, we were emotionally drained from the year and wanted a complete change of scene. The idea came to us that we should live abroad for a year. Recconect with ourselves. A cliché perhaps but one that is so incredibly compelling when has had a large emotional upheaval. Moving to another country is also appealing as the idea of not having to live out of a backpack and really embedding myself in an area better fits my personality, I do like having a routine.
Not every job has the ability to up sticks and move. I am lucky in the fact that I can work remotely and so it seems silly not to take advantage of that. Currently, I'm creating quite a lot of animation for my clients as well as working on editing projects. My plan was to focus on animation and editing and still manage any filming that needed to be done in the UK through our London based colleague Micka and other freelancers.
If that's not an impressive illustration of the global economy in which we live in, then you should take a look at the other half of our business.
Co-currently with my living in Vietnam, my co-founder Olly Burton is cycling around the world capturing interviews with the people he meets and recording music. Not only this but he also finds the time to work on our client's projects and call into meetings with me, I do not know how he does it.
When Olly and I founded Recording Earth we did so on the same set of values. Our independent projects focus on cultural and music exploration and so there are no arguments when we pitch ideas that pursue these aims (only realistic budgetary ones). It's hard to think of another environment which would be okay with taking the profit margin from the year and reinvesting it into documentary film and I'm very grateful for this.
There were several reasons why we chose Vietnam as our country of residence despite never having travelled there before. Firstly, the cuisine is one of my favourites. There's something incredibly warming and reassuring about a bowl of hot steaming phở. Which is good because sometimes I'm eating it for breakfast lunch and dinner.
Secondly, the cost of living is lower affording me a slightly better quality of life while I'm here. My rent is cheaper than in the UK, I can afford to eat out every day (traditional Vietnamese dishes can often cost as little as £1) and as boring as it sounds I've been able to save more money and even pay into a pension for the first time.
Finally, but not least importantly, Vietnam has a rich cultural history and stunning landscapes. It's a very patriotic country formed out of its socialist past and it comes out as a passion for sharing all things Vietnamese, with great enthusiasm toward foreigners like me, and it is certainly not defined by the US, Vietnam war which can be the only point of reference for people from the West.
This is how I find myself living in Hanoi, the bustling capital city of Vietnam. I'm excited about the opportunities it will present me in 2019 and the adventures that lie ahead.
If you are looking for high-quality filming in Vietnam and East Asia drop me a message. I would love to hear from fellow creatives looking to collaborate and if you're ever in the Hanoi then we can meet up and have an egg coffee.