#Patangeer The Wandering Kites

  • 01 Dec - 07 Dec, 2018
  • Eman Saleem
  • Interview

What do you get when two individuals come together to share a vision? A power couple, right? That is what Patangeer is… with a new-age drive of smashing stereotypes, challenging social stigmas and taboos.

On a sunny morning, as I sat with the two passionate beings at Mocca, the one thing I wanted to know was how the two twenty-something vloggers are making it big with a camera, a few lenses, laptop and cell phones. And it did not take too long to get an answer i.e. determination, and a little bit of stubbornness to become an identity-based brand, profoundly called Patangeer.

More than an Instagram page, Patangeer is about the thirst to do something substantial, and quenching the thirst with a continuous effort to stop the recurring question thrown at every Pakistani vacationing abroad, “Is your country safe?”

Let me reveal the details of a friendly chat I had with the two who are going extra miles to show the world the positive image of their home country, Pakistan.

How did you come up with Patangeer?

Fahad: We both loved travelling and had been doing it solo. We weren’t fancy hotel-ing it; more like backing, trekking and couch-surfing. I was in U.S., exploring the country and Amtul being in LUMS was doing the same in Northern Pakistan. One day, I got my hands on GoPro and started documenting my travels and Amtul was already travel blogging. We both wanted to do something together. So, in 2016, we decided to collaborate and materialise our passion and skills and soon, came Patangeer. We studied social media and travel blogging, and as a test run, also released a video of our road trip across the States that got overwhelming response. That was when we decided to showcase Pakistan in a different and more positive light.

Does Patangeer have a big picture?

Amtul: We want to branch out into different territories. One is our adventure and travel related content and the second is workshops. Under these workshops we cater to content creation that we’ve learned through videos, research and observation. We also want to produce content for other clients, something we have already started. Lastly, the aim is to project a positive image of Pakistan. We don’t want to just set a lifestyle but rather do things that matter; collaborate with artists, craftsmen, local start-ups and spread the word.

How do you come up with the concepts/ideas for content?

Fahad: We want to produce content as per international standards. To achieve this, we research a lot about what is happening abroad and what has not been introduced in Pakistan. We are always on the go, challenging ourselves, coming up with crazy ideas and looking for ways how to execute those. But in the process, we make sure that we do not lose our individuality, that is most important.

In the age of social media, everyone seems to have realised the true significance of life, and travel has become a big part of it. But not everyone can afford it. Do you have any tips on how to make it work on a tight budget?

Amtul: That is one niche of our travels since we are usually tight on budget. To start with, you need to sort out your priorities. Like, we keep a big chunk of money for activities and save up on accommodation. Our go-to mantra is staying at hostels or otherwise, couch-surfing. The latter is lesser known here but we depended a lot on that in Russia. We always recommend people to do their homework before they pick a host based on verification and reviews. Another alternative is camping whenever and wherever possible. Also, we make it a point to not shop.

How do you juggle a full-time job, theatre, workshops plus a digital enterprise?

Amtul: Basically, what we do is divide our roles. I manage all the PR, social media, correspondence with clients, marketing, direction and logistics. Fahad has responsibility of the technical side and the post-production work.

Best experience to date.

Fahad: I think that would be Havasu Waterfalls, a Native American village, 10 miles inside the Grand Canyon. We could either trek there or get a helicopter ride. The trek took about eight hours but the whole journey was worth all our physical efforts to get there to experence red stones and turquoise blue waters.

Amtul: It’s actually a funny story. We did our research and found out that we would need a permit to visit so we decided to get it upon arrival. As we got there, there was a huge queue and a waiting list according to which it could take like six months to get the visa approved. Getting to this place was literally a dream and we ended up begging the gatekeeper. We went up to her thrice to plead our case and then in the end, she finally let us in. Definitely one of our favourite spots.

Launching Patangeer had you opening up to the public eye; what challenges and fears did you have to face before you decided to share your journey on social media?

Fahad: Oh yes, we were the first couple who was going out there and all that came with a lot of nervousness. When we uploaded our first video, we were super anxious but we got a lot of love and support. We try to keep our content positive and engaging and that result in a huge number of followers.

You both started your own thing which is a millennial dream and a nightmare. What advice would you give opportunists on how to start their own digital venture and stay motivated.

Fahad: The most important thing is to understand that there will never be a better time, just start.

Amtul: Second thing is giving it time. You will miss out on a lot, in terms of social life but if you want to do your own thing then dedicating a lot of time to it is one thing you have to do.

The whole idea of Patangeer looks fun and exciting but what challenges do you face behind the camera and the aesthetically pleasing social media images?

Fahad: The biggest struggle we often face is balancing work and actually enjoying the vacation when we are away. Hence, we allocate time accordingly, for shooting and for when the camera needs to be put away. We still have some trouble convincing ourselves when to shoot. It’s a struggle but we are working on it.

How supportive are your families about this venture?

Amtul: We made sure we maintain a balance. We transitioned into this slowly, juggling full-time jobs alongside. Once we started monetising from it by producing content and holding workshops, only then they consider it’s more than just a travel page. A long-term plan and a bigger vision was evident and they started appreciating it more.

Do you see yourself living the nomad life?

Fahad: We see it as a balance. We would love to be on the road but we also know it is important to be grounded. So, not totally nomadic but somewhere in between and Karachi has to be our base.

Do you see yourself moving elsewhere?

Fahad: No, our roots are here and we love Karachi. Everything we want to do is here. We have been through our options and I came back from the States, so we’d always pick Pakistan over any other country.

Is there one thing you love to do?

Amtul: We love to do something adventurous, something outdoorsy that would be an experience of a lifetime.

Fahad: And of course, try local food. At least, give it a shot.

What is the most creative thing you have done to save money?

Amtul: Oh, the food we have had. In America, we decided to have a cheap meal and a decent one but then by the end, it was only cheap meal we had been having [laughs].

Describe each other in three words.

Amtul: Creative, supportive and stubborn [laughs].

Fahad: I’ll start with stubborn, relentless and her energy cannot be described in one adjective.

Do you think your stubbornness as a common trait is what keeps you going?

Amtul: Yes! 100 per cent. We don’t give up easily and when we hit a wall, we both get stubborn and then we just collectively push limits to prove ourselves.

One cultural or social norm that you wish you could’ve brought back home?

Amtul: I think more freedom for women to be able to own the streets and feel more safe in our own city.

Fahad: For me, it would be national responsibility.

What does Pakistan mean to you?

Amtul: Home, opportunity, identity and it’s a huge canvas that has not been explored to its full strength.•