Q&A With Haircut Harry

In this Q&A with Haircut Harry, I answer some more of your frequently asked questions! I discuss the origins of the Haircut Harry YouTube channel, how I started getting haircuts around the world, how we find barbershops, and a few of the barbershop experiences that stand out to me.

We also made this Q&A with Haircut Harry into a YouTube video!

How Do You Afford To Travel?

Great question!  I’ve been traveling way before the existence of YouTube and the rise of digital nomads!  There are no magic ways when it comes to affording to travel.  Irrespective of my job or income level, over the 20+ years that I have been traveling, the principles behind how I afford to travel have never changed.

This is one of my most frequently asked questions and it just so happens that I recently did a video about it. 

What Made You Start Your Channel? How Did You Start Getting Haircuts Around The World?

How it all began!!  Oh boy, there is no quick easy answer to that one!  

The origins of my channel go way back to my days of solo budget traveling. I’ve always had a love for travel and seeing what is out there in the world.  A couple of my earliest and longest trips were in Africa and Southeast Asia during the nineties. I was traveling for several months at a time.

As my travels grew longer, I needed to get haircuts while I was on the road. So I’ve actually been visiting barbers and getting my hair cut around the world for many years now.

Haircut Harry getting a haircut at OKID Barbershop in Busan, South Korea
Visiting Jimmy at OKID Barbershop in Busan, South Korea 🇰🇷

I would always find a local barber and found the experiences within the barbershop a more genuine interaction with the local community.  Keep in mind I was always trying to escape the tourist traps while traveling.

Escaping The Tourist Traps While Traveling

So the barbershop was a place I wasn’t seen solely as a tourist.  Barbers treated me the same as everyone else in the barbershop.  I also just loved to see what life was like in these community barbershops.

Mr. Paddy working on a customer at Wag's Barbershop in Antigua.
Wag’s Barbershop is inside a small traditional Antiguan house that used to be the home of Paddy’s grandma.

One of the community barbershops we loved visiting was Wag’s Barbershop in Antigua! Padmore Jeremiah, known locally as Paddy, has a barbershop set amongst lush tropical plants.  Step inside his backyard and immediately feel the nice cool air from the surrounding plants.  Sit back and relax with the gentle sounds of wind chimes and chatter of his two parakeets. 

All the customers we spoke with said there is nowhere else on the island with a barbershop like this! 

More than just a barbershop, Wag’s is where the locals go to hangout.  A community space to catch-up on conversations and happenings.  The kind of place where a grandmother takes her grandson for a haircut and customers bring fresh produce from their garden to share.

Our First Video Was Filmed In 1999!

It wasn’t until 1999 that we filmed an Indian barbershop experience which later became our very first video uploaded to YouTube in 2006.  YouTube was a way to share this experience with a wider audience beyond family and friends. 

We love that some of you still remember the first version of this video with the music!  Later, I re-edited this video and uploaded the current version in 2012 and rebranded the channel as Haircut Harry.  The second video we filmed was in 2010 at a barbershop in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.

Then gradually, we began adding more videos of barbershop experiences from around the world.  It was a slow process as we were both working full-time jobs and had limited time to travel.

How Do You Find The Barbers And Barbershops? What Makes You Choose Them And Film There?

I’m always looking for the shops full of history, stories, and collections built up over time.  Many are like little museums and typically owned by an equally interesting barber.

A portrait of Cliff inside Cliff's Barber Corral in Las Vegas, Nevada.  His western themed barbershop is like a little museum.
Cliff’s western themed barbershop is like a little museum.

We often research and choose shops ahead of time.  However, many of the old school shops are harder to find therefore, we rely on local knowledge and searching on location.

Mr. Chicken standing by his red barber chair inside his old school barbershop in the Azores.  In the background he has many collections and photographs from over the years.
Inside Mr. Chicken’s barbershop you will find many collections and photographs he took over the years in the Azores.

Since so many of the old traditional shops are disappearing fast, I have a particular interest in capturing as many of these old school shops as possible.  We have already filmed at a few shops that are sadly no longer with us.  So our videos have become a documentation of what these shops and barbers were like.

Throughout the year, we also receive many suggestions from you guys. So thank you so much for recommending barbershops to us!  We add the shops to a Google Map that we refer to while on the road traveling.

Calen sitting on a chair inside his barbershop - Electric Barbering in Williams, Arizona.
Huge thanks to Bobby who recommended Calen and Electric Barbering to us!

What Was Your Favorite Barbershop Experience And What Was It That Made It Special To You?

I like them all for different reasons!  

It is really hard to pick a single favorite!   Each place has been different, but while spending time filming with all the barbers around the world we have made some great memories and connections with local communities.  

Some that stick out are Angel on Route 66.  He is such an amazing and fun old school gentleman!!  Shimomae in Koyoto, and Mr. Chicken in the Azores.  And Mr. Lee from the historic Seongu Barbershop in Seoul, South Korea.

Mr. Lee is in his early 70s and is a third-generation barber.  He was born in the family home where his grandfather opened the barbershop in 1927.

Haircut Harry and Mr. Lee inside Seongu Barbershop in Seoul, South Korea

Mr. Lee is a little over 5’ tall so uses a rickety wooden footstool to stand on while working on his customers.  He still lathers up his shaving soap on the side of a hot water pot heated on a charcoal stove and uses potato starch in the hair as a visual aid.  In the past, barbers used powders that contained asbestos so Mr. Lee switched to potato starch as it is not harmful.  He uses watering cans to wash your hair and does a vinegar rinse.

Not too long after we filmed, a typhoon caused serious damage to his barbershop.  So the shop had to be remodeled and it looks very different now.  We’re happy we had the opportunity to visit the old shop and film with Mr. Lee.

Of course, Ramesh will always have a special place in our hearts since he is the barber we filmed our original video with over 20 years ago!  We found Ramesh again after 18 years when we traveled to India in 2017 so this experience will always have a special meaning to us. 

After 18 years revisiting Ramesh, the barber featured in our first YouTube video!
After 18 years revisiting Ramesh, the barber featured in our first YouTube video!

What Are Your Favorite Places To Travel?

I am definitely warm blooded!  I enjoy a warm tropical climate, but also places with a lot of history and culture.  

Indonesia is a country that I have traveled to many times over the years and have always loved!  I also enjoyed travelling in Algeria and Nepal.  

In 2019, it was my first time travelling to Hong Kong and Japan, and I found both to be easy going for travel and lots to do and see.

If you would like to watch some of my travel vlogs, please check out this YouTube playlist.

Q&A With Haircut Harry.  Spending the evening exploring Osaka, Japan.

What Countries/Places Do You Want To Travel To That You Have Not Been To Yet?

My bucket list??  All of them!  Central Asia as I’ve not been there yet.  The list of countries would be too long to share, but Central Asia is high on my list.

Also, Bali as I have traveled a lot in Indonesia but have never visited Bali. I have flown into Denpasar many times over the years, but have never left the airport.

When Are You Coming To Film In Germany, Spain, Indonesia, Brazil, Or My Country?

So far I’ve traveled to almost 50 countries, but haven’t filmed in every country I’ve been to.  Over the years I have travelled to Spain, Germany, and Indonesia and many years ago I was traveling in Africa. I went to Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Mali, Senegal, and The Gambia.

I did have several haircuts along the way, but unfortunately I didn’t have a camera to film my barbershop experiences on those trips.  Hopefully going forward, we will film in every country we visit!

What Is Your Favorite Part About Getting A Haircut? The Feeling, The Look, Going To A Different Place In The World Or Something Else?

My favorite part? It has to be meeting all these great barbers and seeing their shops.  For me personally, this is not about getting the best haircut in the world.  Of course, I love getting an amazing haircut and I love experiencing a relaxing hot towel shave while on the road!

Matt smiling as he stands ready at his work station for a hot towel shave at Matt's Barber Parlor in Phoenix, Arizona.
It’s always fun to catch up with Matt at Matt’s Barber Parlor in Phoenix, Arizona!

However, it is more about hearing the stories from the barbers, the community, and learning about the history of the shop.

Portrait of The Guardian Angel of Route66

Have you already watched the Q&A With Haircut Harry video? You can watch it here: 

Where Do You Live?

Currently, I am in the US.  Over the years, I’ve lived in a few different states.  I used to live in Seattle, Washington for many years.

What Kind Of Hobbies Do You Enjoy Doing When You Are Not Working On Videos?

Thanks to Matt, one of our Patreon supporters, for asking this question.

So outside of travel and making videos, I enjoy photography, hiking, growing vegetables, cooking, and I’m also a fan of documentaries.

Do You Have A Translator With You Ahead Of Time To Explain The Filming To The Barbers Who Do Not Speak English?

A great question asked by Monique who is one of our Patreon supporters.

On occasion, we have worked with a local guide or the tourist office to help us.  We did this in Peru, Romania, as well as in India and Morocco to communicate with a few shops.  A couple of times the barbers we’ve met have helped us out especially with finding those hidden gems!

Thanks For Joining Us For This Q&A With Haircut Harry!

Thank you so much for stopping by the blog 🙏🏼 We hope you enjoyed this Q&A with Haircut Harry!

If you would like to hear more stories and behind the scenes, please connect with us on social media @haircutharry.