By Mariam Nihal
If you are all about exploring and living life to the fullest, globetrotter Peyman Parham Al Awadhi is your man. Along with his brother, Peyman was able to create the first traveling show from the Middle East called ‘Peeta Planet’ back in 2009 on social media which not just became an instant hit, but helped inspire thousands to do the same. His new series called Rahaalah was recently picked up by Etihad airways for inflight entertainment. With big plans on the horizon, Peyman is in no mood to slow down.
“I am an Emirati who was brought up in Dubai. Both my grandfathers and my father were entrepreneurs who travelled frequently, and instilled in me and my siblings the appreciation for various cultures around the world. This is probably the reason I speak 5 languages, have been to 42 countries and have become a travel storyteller,” Peyman told Saudi Gazette. We caught up with him for an exclusive interview that manifests the ambitions of many young Arabs living their dreams.
SG: Tell us about Peeta Planet- why you chose the name, its journey and success. Is Rahaalah the end product or a new beginning?
Peyman: Peeta Planet was one of the first travel shows in the world that saw the convergence of travel, filming and social media; we called it ‘Social Travel’. It was created by two Arabs, (me and my brother Mohamed) in 2009 and has since become the standard of content creation. Google believed in the idea so much that they supported the show when it was just an idea.
Peeta Planet was commissioned and broadcast on Dubai One TV, then distributed online via Rahaalah and has recently been picked up by Etihad Airlines to be broadcast inflight across the entire network.
Rahaalah the website is one of many spin-off ideas of Peeta Planet. We continue to produce social travel content, but exclusively in the Arabic language and for a GCC audience. You will see many other spin-offs soon.
SG: How important is social media and what role does it play in your life?
Peyman: Social Media has given us the opportunity to share our stories with the biggest possible global audience, at a fraction of the cost of traditional distribution mediums. Peeta Planet was always using social media creatively and we even won an award for “Outstanding Social Media Project” at the Broadcast Pro Awards in 2013.
Today creating content is a lot easier, however reaching audiences is no longer simple, and requires much more time, effort and creativity. I love that challenge and recently produced, directed and co-filmed a travel series called Makshaat, about two friends going on a 1,200km TukTuk ride across India. The series was completed on a shoestring budget along with some favors and the six part series has reached over 600,000 views online with just a little investment from our partner Tajawal and a just good amount of effort from the team.
SG: What are your future plans and what are you currently working on?
Peyman: I am currently developing a new online travel show with a unique format and fresh stories. Also I have been inspired by my little brother (DJ Bliss aka Marwan Al Awadhi) and will be launching a new VLOG series shortly.
SG: During an earlier interview you said one of the dreams was moving away from the nine-to-five work life and opening a shawerma shop. How did that go?
Peyman: We actually did open Wild Peeta Shawarma Kitchen in 2008 and so privileged to have been voted Best Emirati Restaurant in 2011 by the Time Out Awards. We put this on hold temporarily after pivoting into film production, in partnership with Twofour54 in Abu Dhabi and focusing on the 2 initial seasons of Peeta Planet.
Follow them on Youtube, Instagram and Facebook @Rahaalah @peymanalawadhi