Business colleagues, with whom I recently worked, evolved the four-letter name of a new travel magazine -- AFAR. As much as I like the all-caps title, I also like the magazine, which is two-issues-old.
The magazine is such a bold experiment in publishing that maybe they should have chosen a five-letter word for the masthead instead: BALLS! Because that’s what it must have taken magazine founder and CEO Greg Sullivan to start a magazine venture at a time when many popular magazines are folding in the economic swamp – Gourmet, Metropolitan Home, Modern Bride among them last year, and Mcgraw-Hill just sold its money-draining BusinessWeek to Bloomberg.
What makes Sullivan’s move to start a new travel magazine even more preposterous are these two realities:
1. The editorial offices are in San Francisco, not media-saturated New York.
2. The editorially elegant magazine, filled with snazzy photos and alluring layouts, only features destinations OUTSIDE the U.S.
So you will never see a story written by napaman about Napa Valley in AFAR, or a story written by others about Mt Rushmore, Disneyland, or the Badlands of North Dakota, either.
But since other magazines look after these themes, Sullivan’s efforts may attract a xeno-keen audience. (If someone ‘xenophobic’ fears strangers, then someone who is ‘xeno-keen’ would have a love for -- and attraction to -- that which is foreign and exotic, to my way of thinking, and my way of wordsmithing.)
The stories are largely functional, certainly make you want to go to the destinations featured and they tell you how to get there.
You have to applaud AFAR’s editorial idealism: No one on the team—no writer, editorial member or photographer – accepts free trips, free lodging or free meals.
On top of which, to offset the carbon emissions generated by flights taken to the places written about, or photo’d, in the magazine, AFAR donates to the Gold Standard Portfolio of Sustainable Travel International. For example, to generate all the stories for Issue Two, AFAR offset 21.62 metric tons of carbon emissions. Them’s a lot of emissions, but how else are you going to get to Russia, Sweden, Burma, Ireland, Netherlands, Ecuador, India, the Seychelles and Spain?
At this point, AFAR is published bi-monthly (6 x/yr). A subscription is $19.95 for one year, $34.95 for two years and $49.95 for three years. If interested, call 888-403-9001.