Thursday, August 13, 2009

AFAR Magazine - The Launch of a Road Hopefully More Traveled

This past Tuesday I attended the launch party for AFAR Magazine, the newest (and I believe best) travel magazine out there.

Launch parties tend try to wow you with flash.  This one didn't; rather it was just cool.  I wanted to bottle the "feel".  It was held in a three story home in Greenwich Village which was filled with the owner's artifacts and collections from her travels around the world. In one room there was a restaurateur serving its Basque foods and wine, in another Tang Dynasty musicians (they were young, the instruments old), yet another had a Moroccan food on one side and French baguette inspired foods on the other...and, importantly, incredible chocolates in between.  Indian music in another room and digeridoo playing in the roof garden.  Owners, editors, publishers, writers and many different languages were all heard. 

In other words, it captured what "travel" does for many:  Inspiration.


Media Life's article:  Making the Case for AFAR Magazine is quite interesting if you want get into the nitty gritty of the magazine's approach.

Now, substantively, I have had a chance to start reading the premiere issue of AFAR and am very excited that the substance has lived up to the pre-publication hype.  This is like a magazine of old:  You have to actually read the articles.  It will take you time and thought.  It is not a Conde Nast list of the 1,000,000 top restaurants in the Caribbean.  It is a journey discovering, in part, why and how bread is such an important part of French daily life.  It is about living in a lodge that you can only reach via zip line. 

Ad Age wrote:  "there are a few articles that seem to clock in at 4,000 words. WORDS! Remember when magazines used to use words, rather than shiny pictures, charticles and infographics?! "

Of course, the point of the magazine - and my post today - is not to encourage everyone to zip line to a tree top lodge in the middle of a jungle, but rather to start to think about some simple things as you travel...as you cruise...such as not only that you want to have pasta in Italy, but what kind of pasta and why; to feel and taste the difference between it and the boxed stuff you eat at home.  To taste the earth in the tomatoes and to envision the farmers picking them only hours earlier. 

And, hopefully, from that pasta your thoughts will transform from checking off X when you are in Naples, to (for me personally) being excited to return to Capri to that litle restaurant overlooking the harbor where in 2003 we had a just incredible pizza we watched being crafted in a brick oven with flames flying everywhere.

And from that to exploring, in more depth, the people of a place you have "been to" before.  On our upcoming cruise on the Celebrity Equinox we stop in Kusadasi yet again.  But are going back to Sirince, Turkey -just us- to more explore the local people, wines and foods...which we touched on when on our 2008 Food & Wine Cruise.  Raise your hands:  How many of you would have said, "I have been to Ephesus before and I don't want to shop in the bazaar, so I will just stay on the ship."?

I so believe in AFAR magazine and its importance to developing travel as inspiration rather than as a trophy or (so we are being realistic...philiophy only goes so far!) as a compliment thereto, Goldring Travel not only is supporting the effort as an advertiser, starting today I am going to provide a complimentary subscription to AFAR Magazine to every booking for cruise or land tour with Goldring Travel.