Hey guys! My name is Josh Stockdale (@joshstockdalee). I’m a former musician, travel enthusiast and fitness fanatic. Thanks for letting me introduce you to the magical Sumba Island of Indonesia! I grew up in a sleepy village of North Yorkshire. My life started moving pretty fast from the age of 15 when I was flown off to Los Angeles with my band by Johnny Depp’s record label. This kickstarted my band’s musical journey.
Fast forward many years and UK tours later, we ended up supporting the Vamps on a UK Arena Tour playing to 120,000 people across three weeks. The music industry was so fast-paced. I loved every moment but being unsigned we simply had no money. Everything was entirely self-funded and being between the ages of 12 and 18, this became impossible to fund.
This meant myself and drummer/co-founder of Dream Beach Media, Alex Boulton had to front all the creative productions for the band. Alex had been shooting videos of mountain biking and parkour stunts since the age of 10. He was always handy with a camera! We would shoot all of the press packs and music videos for the band and I would plan out the shoots with him. This was the foundation for our love of documenting and filmmaking.
The Founding of Dream Beach Media
During a slight slip up in the band’s journey, I flew to Bali on a one-way flight to chase that wanderlust feeling I was craving since Los Angeles. We made a travel documentary of our adventures that later got picked up by Lumix UK and we were then made Travel Ambassadors of Lumix UK.
This led to the formation of Dream Beach Media: a creative and production agency specializing in the travel, lifestyle and wellness markets. Four more years on and we have won numerous awards including a Gold Award at the 2018 Travel Marketing Awards for content team of the year. We have now produced campaigns in more than 30 countries for the likes of MTV UK, Sea Legacy, Visit Malta, Tourism Western Australia, STA Travel and more.
7-Day Motorbike Trip Around Sumba Island
I was inspired to visit Sumba after doing some research with the team on popular Indonesia travel pages. We saw an incredible series of photos by Emmett Sparling – an awesome Canadian photographer. Our team of seven flew out from Bali to Sumba and hired motorbikes from a contact we made on Facebook. Motorbikes are extremely difficult to hire on the island, so I highly recommend booking this in advance if you plan on visiting.
The trip consisted of seven days of intense sunrise to sunset days, road tripping between hotspots and hidden gems, visiting crystal clear lagoons to endless rolling “chocolate hills”. We averaged around three to fours on the bikes each day and traveled through torrential downpours, 40 degree heat and strong winds. Sumba Island is certainly a tropical destination.
Our road trip felt like a Top Gear or Grand Tour episode. We went from Tambolaka in the northeast down the east coast to Sumba Surf Camp and then north to Watumbaka. We then cut through the central section of the island to our final city Waingapu where we eventually flew back from.
The best memory I have from this trip isn’t a single place, but rather the journey between and the sense of freedom when we were riding through rainforests for hours on end. It made me fall in love with not just the nature but also the lifestyle of this island. Sumba is still in the earliest stages of development, so the roads aren’t great. But when you have the sunshine on your arms and you are banking around corners, it’s the best feeling!
Why Sumba Island Should be on your Bucket List
Sumba was magical, untouched and enchanting. On every traveler’s bucket list should be a destination that epitomizes the quote “the road less traveled” – and that for me sums up Sumba. Only a short two hour flight from the overcrowded beaches of Bali and you find yourself in the enchanting lands of Sumba. You will learn a lot of life lessons here and meet some fascinating tribal villagers once you venture out of the cities.
I’m a sucker for a picture-perfect postcard beach and so my favorite place to explore, shoot and relax in Sumba was Pantai Mandora. This beach is like a movie set – perfection! I am lucky to travel and work with a handful of experienced filmmakers and photographers, which makes my work life so enjoyable. We all travel, work and live together. Shout out to Alex, Jan and Jodie for capturing special moments with me in Sumba.
Where to Stay on the Island
There are not many accommodation options on the island since it’s still developing. We tried and tested quite a few homestays and hotels and made a few mistakes along the way! Drop us a DM on Instagram and we will happily share our list of the best hotels. But as a starting point, I can definitely recommend both Sumba Surf Camp and Villa Amidala. The staff at these places are fantastic and the natural settings are breathtaking!
Future Plans with Sumba Films
Having three or four hours a day on a bike is the best way to clear your mind and think of new concepts – being surrounded by fellow creative and entrepreneurial minds from We Do Creative Films, other freelancer friends and Dream Beach Media initiates an endless stream of creative ideas!
Sumba Films was a vision between all of us. We will be a Sumba Island based, high-end production, logistics and private luxury travel company. It will be made up of a team of experienced filmmakers, directors, producers, videographers and expert project managers. Our multidisciplinary skill sets will cater for series, film, documentary and commercial productions as well as tailoring magical odyssey’s in Sumba for private clients and families.
Our vision is to be the one-stop company that caters for all things Sumba. You think of Sumba and you also think of Sumba Films. Having noticed that there are no production companies on the island, combined with the fact there is an international airport being built, I see a gap in the market.
Our long-term plan is to set up a cool beachfront production house and editing studio in the south of the island. Think Red Bull or Billabong house on Hawaii’s pipeline. Of course this is the bigger picture and a wild dream right now, but we will be developing the company in the coming months with a big release in the fourth quarter of 2021 or first quarter of 2022.
This won’t be our Indonesia base but a unique environment to invite our clients to also experience the magic of Sumba. This large and crazy idea will hopefully spark more brands, documentary makers and musicians to use Sumba as their backdrop for their next commercial shoot or music video, therefore stimulating the market and introducing Sumba to the world.
Once this is up and running, I would then love to develop a film school here for local people – giving them an opportunity to use our equipment and learn about the industry and process. This will hopefully inspire the next generation of creators in Indonesia. In the meantime, if you plan on visiting Sumba and want more tips about things to do, feel free to send me a DM!