Stuck On An Island With Stephen Ibar, Jamaican Food & Travel YouTuber


Digital Jamaica Podcast with Stephen-Phillip Ibar

My dad is a super nerd whose obsessed with all things tech (now you see where I get it from), so for him YouTube has been an outlet to indulge his tech fetish. In fact his favourite YouTubers are all the major tech personalities on the platform to include Marques Brownlee, Your Average Consumer and Unbox Therapy.  

Digital Jamaica Podcast with Stephen Phillip Ibar
Stephen Phillip Ibar – Stuck On An Island (SOAI) Vlog

It’s a given that every video he sends me (and he’s always sending videos) will be from one of these guys. So I was surprised when he started sending videos with this guy who was running around catching and cooking food on the riverside.

What’s that about dad? It is so kool, you should check him out. I love his videos, his channel should be bigger. You know what? What dad? You should interview him for one of your thingies.

So I went and checked out the channel and I was immediately impressed.

The Stuck On An Island Vlog (SOAI for short) is a unique take on travel and food vlogging,  mostly focused on Stephen and his explorer friends traversing the island’s waterways diving, fishing, catching food, outdoor cooking and holing a reason (reasoning).

The channel is part island adventuring, part exploration all underpinned by food and according to Stephen is his way of documenting the journey. 

I wanted to learn more about my country and other places as well. So, you know, I started watching a couple vlogs that persons are doing and it was very intriguing and I was like, Okay, well, it’s a great way to document your life, you know, because sometimes you take these trips and you forget them, or maybe you only have snippets or just a few photos. So it was a great way to kind of document my life for my own personal self and to educate persons … 

Why stuck?

The name of the vlog Stuck On An Island is also very intriguing. Why, if he lives in this paradise would he feel stuck?  The provocative name he says is both physical and metaphorical in that:

“I think a lot of Jamaicans do feel as if they’re stuck on an island in the sense that, you know, they’re trying to get out green card are probably can’t get to it or feel that they don’t have enough money to travel, but they don’t quite realise that they’re actually living in Paradise, you know, so stuck on an island just means, you know, physically and also metaphorically…”

They come for the nostalgia

It’s also about the nostalgia he says for Jamaicans living abroad who may long for the comforts of home but who are, for whatever reason, unable to travel.

… some of my viewers who are living in the US and they can’t quite return home because it might be expensive, or they might not have the free time. So the channel’s name is a metaphoric sense where, you know, you can come to the channel watch videos, and you can feel as if you are travelling …

A wide and diverse audience

His stories are so well told and beautifully presented that it resonates with a wide cross section of people. His over 74k subscribership is made up of a more mature but varied crowd.

It’s  wider and I prefer having a more mature audience to be quite honest. I do see where there of course there are teens but not so much. Late 20s 30s 40s. I mean, it’s a wide range and I enjoy that …

Perhaps too it’s because Stephen have overtime come to really understand his audience and crafts his videos in such a way where he makes them feel included.

A wide and diverse audience

A subscriber myself, I think the biggest contributor to the channels success is that overtime Stephen  has really come to know and understand his audience. So his videos are crafted in such a way where everyone feels included.

“… persons really enjoy watching the videos, and on YouTube you really are creating your own following and when it says your following, it means like minded people, you know, persons who either do exactly what you do want to do what you do, or can’t do what you do, but they’re living vicariously through you.”

Well crafted strategy or serendipity aside, it’s really working because to date his videos have racked up a whopping 10+ million video views. Working so well in fact that his subscribers have become super fans who regularly gift him things like equipment, and friends who welcome him into their homes. 

It helps the videos are top quality

But the content is not the only thing that makes the vlog such a standout, it’s most definitely too the quality of the output. Stephens immersive storytelling style beautifully centres the landscape. So whether it’s a beach or river and on a boat somewhere the shots are done in such a way where you almost feel as if you’re there.

“… cuz what I do you know, every time I watch a video, I try to be the viewer because I’m the very first viewer to all my videos … So it’s my job to make sure that you know, I try to rectify whatever problem it is. So if I’m going to the beach, and I realise that there’s a lot of wind noise, it’s kind of annoying, you know, so I try to find a way that I can cancel all that noise. So the viewership is, you know, it’s a lot more comfortable …”

Indeed, his videos are a joy to watch and for me a place to discover other Jamaican explorers in the YouTube space. So, if you’re looking to rediscover local watering holes or find hidden gems with a side of fantastic fooding? Then this channel is for you.

SOAI links

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