Alex Hunter’s vlogging channel, Attache, saw him crowned as the winner of our new Vlogger of the Year category. Alex has filmed in exciting destinations including Shanghai, Los Angeles and Amsterdam. Here, we sit down for a quick chat with the winner
What makes a destination a great place to film?
Anywhere where there’s a story to be discovered and told. We often arrive in a city with an idea of what we want to capture and the narrative we want to build — but almost without exception the city grabs us by the hand and leads us off in a totally different, unexpected and wonderful new direction. Serendipity is the mother of all tour guides so we spend a lot of time wandering around the city we’re in — we often clock up 25-30 miles of walking during a shoot — and in doing that the city unfolds before us. The diners, dive bars and distractions that define a destination are the ones that we’ll never unearth in our pre-trip research, so we try to let serendipity lead us on an adventure. And those discoveries, those moments of stumbling across a hidden gem, are what we love to capture in our show. Beyond that, wherever there’s great food and people who love to eat, we can find great content and conversation. There’s nothing quite as compelling, at least for us, as sitting down with someone who’s passionate about their city and its food, and just talking with them. The stories, the inspiration, the flavours that come out of those moments are what fuel our entire show.
Which country would you go back to over and over again, and why?
I was totally unprepared for what Japan would do to me as a traveller and as a human being. I’d heard people gush platitudes about Japan for years and I was, to say the least, sceptical that such a country could possibly live up to the hype that surrounded it. But from the moment I stepped into Tokyo for the first time, that country grabbed me and hasn’t let go since. Nothing can prepare you for Japan, no book, no documentary, no film. They all pale in comparison to the reality. I’ve travelled the length of the country, explored the urban warrens of hypermodern Tokyo, bathed in the volcanic onsens of Kurokawa and scuba-dived in the warm, impossibly blue waters of Ishigaki — and I want more. It’s in my blood and I crave it constantly. No amount of hyperbole can do that country justice. As a traveller, you’re defined by ‘before’ and ‘after’ Japan, and every place you visit subsequently, you find yourself comparing — fairly or unfairly — to Japan.
If you could travel back in time to anywhere, when and where would you choose to go?
Shanghai in the 1920s. It was possibly the coolest place on the planet at the time, the global nexus of fashion, architecture, music and food. There was a huge Western influence on the city at the time, the legacy of which can still be seen today in places like the French Concession and the Bund. But it was that comfortable fusion of east and west, plus the rolling tide of traders from all over Asia that made Shanghai such a fascinating and alluring place in the 1920s. Decadent, hedonistic and just a little bit dangerous — all the necessary ingredients for time-travelling adventure.
What’s on your travel wishlist for 2018?
I’d like to spend more time in the Middle East and Africa. We’ve filmed episodes in Dubai, Beirut and Cape Town, and they were some of the most satisfying and enlightening projects we’ve done to date. Both regions are going through such rapid change and I’d love to capture a few of the stories that are being churned up as part of this growth.
To watch Alex’s travel vlogs, head to his YouTube channel, Attache.