I've decided to broaden the scope of my regular J'adore series. All too often I have found myself wanting to do an expanded post on something I really like. Also, there are more entrepreneurial women with small businesses selling fantastic products that I want to spotlight and I think this is the way I am going to do it.
I already have three fantastic women in mind and I can't wait to start bringing them to your attention.
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However, for today I wanted to share something that has been near and dear to my heart for a while: AFAR magazine.
As a traveler, I am in a constant and perpetual state of reminiscing about a previous trip, planning an impending trip, or fantasizing about a future trip. Reading hundreds of travel blogs helps fuel the fires, but my real guilty pleasure is travel magazines. I subscribe to a dozen of them.
I love to curl up on my couch on a Sunday with a cup of coffee and dive into the physical, tangible pages of a travel magazine. And while I read them all, these days there is only one that I look forward to in my mailbox and that is AFAR.
AFAR launched in the autumn of 2009 and it was shortly afterward that I picked up my first issue. My husband and I are big movie fans so many weekends we head to our local cinema to see a film. Our normal routine is to head out for dimsum and then catch a matinee. Sometimes we may have an hour gap where we need to kill time and we always end up doing that inside the Barnes & Noble located right next door to our movie theater.
I love browsing the books, but rarely check out the magazine section, I get so many travel and food magazines that if I subscribed to another Mr. Misadventures might kill me. But for some reason that day I ended up in that section and zeroed in on AFAR. I was amused to see that there was a travel mag I didn't know about and I snatched it up right away.
After the movie, I took it home and dived in, completely enthralled with the stories. This magazine was different. I know the term “experience” tends to be an overused word, but it is the best way to subscribe to the essence of AFAR. It is about the travel experience, how it makes you feel and what emotions it evokes.
It is also about being different, finding the extraordinary in the ordinary as well as introducing new places that may not catch the attention of the “majors.” There is something so down-to-earth and unpretentious about the content and style, it's like having a conversation with a friend who is as passionate about travel as you are.
Mr. Misadventures reads a lot of business and finance publications and although he is passionate about food and travel, he rarely reads those types of magazines. In fact, AFAR is the only travel magazine he reads and he reads it from cover to cover. It is a serious fight in our house the day it arrives to see who gets it first.
Funnily enough, it usually arrives right before Mr. Misadventures is leaving on a business trip and I always make him swear on his life he will not forget our copy on the plane or hotel, that he has strict instructions not to tear any pages out, and bring it home intact (don't laugh, we had a huge argument about this one time!). Sometimes I can't wait and I secretly buy my own copy!
One of my favorite monthly articles is “Spin the Globe” where someone in the AFAR office does literally that, spin a globe and send a journalist off to wherever the finger landed! There have been some very interesting spots. I think my favorite was Malta from the January/February 2011 issue (which you can now find online here).
But my absolute favorite is the “Wandering Chef” series because it combines two of my passions: food and travel. I am secretly green with envy at AFAR Editor Jen Murphy who authors most of these articles, what an assignment!
As with most magazine publications these days, AFAR has an online magazine. I knew of its existence, but have only recently started spending a lot more time there. The reason is that it's different (there is that word again). It is not just articles and posts, it's their highlights and Wanderlists (which I totally dig) and the site is collaborative, in fact, that is what it says in its header: “the collaborative travel guide.” I love that!
So I have started building Wanderlists with Highlights that I created, I also add Highlights that other travelers or local experts (like the very familiar Lindsey of Lost in Cheeseland) write as well, and I have to tell you it is addicting!
So much so that they actually made me an ambassador (shhh, I don't think they knew what they were getting themselves into!) Don't worry, it doesn't change anything about me!
But guess what? Anyone can join their community and upload Highlights and create Wanderlists (hint, if you highlight something that you may have blogged about on your own blog, you can add a link to it…instant link juice!). You don't have to be a world traveler, you can be passionate about your hometown and share local hints and tips on places to visit, eat, and things to do and share that passion and experience with others.
Wow, that actually sort of turned into something like an open love letter to the magazine! That's the thing about j'adore…I adore it and when I adore something I am passionate! What can I say?!
How about you? Is there a magazine out there that you are passionate about?