"Namaskaram Guys, this is Sanjay and Riya here..." is how their videos begin. And then, they go on to describe the places in USA in Malayalam. Intrigued? So were we when we first stumbled upon Sanjay and Riya's 'Trip Couple' channel on YouTube. And their Facebook page called 'Kantha, Njaanum Varam (My love, I'll come with you) had us hooked.
In a chat with Onmanorama, for our series on people and travel called Travel Tuesday, Riya took time off to tell us about their travels and their vlog.
Sanjay and I have always loved to travel. After I came to the States, we used to take off almost every weekend to some place or other. And like everyone, we used to put up our photos on social media. A lot of people - family and friends started liking these photos. Their encouragement is what made us take our trips seriously. Gradually, we decided to start taking videos of our trips. That was the beginning. Trip Couple was born
Take a look at one of their first videos that hit YouTube
Kantha Njaanum Varam
Our bags are always ready. And I have never said no when Sanjay plans a trip. We made a list of names for our channel and Facebook page. We both loved the name 'Kantha, Njaanum Varam', because it was us. It defined us. The channel is over 100 days old now and it has been a fun ride. We have learned much on the way.
A trick here – the learning process
When we started off, we did not know much about making videos or editing them. We used a Handycam then. Now we use Sony Alpha 6300 and Rode VideoMic Go in the videos. We have a Gopro Hero 4, a tripod and lenses. We use the GoPro for mostly wide-angle shots. So yes, we have learned on the job. And we keep on improving and getting new cameras – anything that will enhance our videos. You can see it in our channel.
Sanjay has an eye for detail and mostly it is he who handles the camera. I do too. But he puts in a lot of effort. He has been learning how to edit and make better videos with e-tutorials. From filming to editing, we do everything together.
Making a video
We live in New York. Sanjay is a Software Developer and I am a student. For our first couple of videos, we picked places that were nearby. After that, family and friends started suggesting places. Once we decide where we are going, we do a lot of research.
We try to add interesting tidbits of information about the place we are off to. The first thing we check is the timing – there are fixed timings when you can visit a monument. Or say a park, for instance. We also find out if there are any restrictions for filming the place. Then we look for places nearby that we could add to the trip. Once that is set we decide on the route. We love to go off the main roads – see the scenery. We make the hotel reservations if needed and take off mostly on Saturdays. Mondays are meant for rest. We go to office and college as usual. From Tuesdays to Thursdays we find time in the evening to edit the videos, put together more information and the videos are normally out by Friday and we are off on another trip by Saturday!
Family – our strength
Sanjay's family has been in the USA for a long time. My family is in Kerala. And they have been our pillar of strength at all times. They support our wanderlust and suggest places that they feel will strike a chord with the Indian community, here and in Kerala. We have made a video of our trip with our family and you will see what we mean.
Videos in Malayalam
We will continue doing our videos in Malayalam. It is slowly gathering a fan base from across the world. It is not just people in the States who follow us. We want to go to other places and make travel vlogs. That is the plan for the days to come.
The most unforgettable trip?
Is not on the vlog. We went trekking once and on our return, it got a bit dark sooner than we expected. We had the necessary lights and gear, but at one turn we came face to face with a rattlesnake. We were so scared that we just stayed put for some time and then we ran off. It is something I 'll never forget.
We are waiting for more cameras. And then we will take off – to more places and we will make videos. We want to make it more entertaining. Add a bit of a movie clip here, a joke there - elements that will connect with the public. But yes, we will be traveling to a lot more places.