Whenever you walk into the newsstand at an airport, you’re faced with countless magazine choices: walls and walls of the latest editions of everything from Vogue to Fortune to National Geographic. For me, though, there’s only one magazine that inspires me to keep traveling. There’s only one magazine that aims to find your connection to travel, not just spew out pretty pictures or hotel reviews. That magazine is AFAR. Just the name itself is enough to stir the wanderlust. Eventually, it overwhelms you.
I’m sure it’s no secret that I’m an aviation geek. I love to fly. There was a period of time a few years ago when I just wanted to visit places so that I could get on a plane. While there still may be some of that left in me, I’ve realized that the journey isn’t what makes the experience. It’s the people you meet, the places you see, and the adventures you have that make a trip memorable. AFAR captures all of these things and winds it up in a beautifully designed package.
There are a stack of AFAR magazines in my room, purchased at airports around the country: Baltimore, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami. I could just get a subscription, but that seems like it’ll take the fun out of it. There’s something exhilarating about buying one of these magazines at an airport newsstand before starting my next adventure.
AFAR isn’t a compilation of hotel and airline reviews. In a Jetsetter sort-of way, it showcases everything great about travel; the people, the inspiration, the feelings that travel evokes. A sampling of recent front-page taglines reveals exactly what the magazine is all about: Make travel personal, Travel deeper, Travel in a new way, Unexpected travel, Travel differently. They’re all reflective of the magazine’s mantra: Where travel can take you.
The different sections of AFAR are perhaps most indicative of “the AFAR way.” Wander, see, connect. The Wander section profiles a handful of destinations worldwide – where to eat, where to stay, and what the best things to do in said city are. Then comes See, featuring postcards from around the world, as well as one of our favorite features, the Mix (see below). The Connect section goes further, profiling people and top spots in subsections labeled resident, nomad, feast, stay, find. It’s all a very civilized, very inspiring organization.
It’s evident that AFAR contributors feel the same way we do about travel. Travel itself is a journey. It can be gritty, dirty, loud, and, sometimes a trying experience. However, it’s the good experiences – the ones like those profiled in the magazine – that makes all the fifteen-hour flights bearable, even enjoyable. The magazine’s perspective is so refreshing. It conveys an idea that there is no such thing as an “idyllic” vacation. They’re all idyllic, if you make them that.
The magazine also features an iPhone app which allows you to view photos and descriptions from around the world, submitted by members of the AFAR community. You can search by destination or topic, then view photos, descriptions, and location information to help you either plan your next trip or find destinations along your way. The app is still in its fledgling stages, but the functionality is definitely there, and it has the potential to grow into something much bigger.
All in All
AFAR is a gem. It relays travel beautifully, with pictures and words. It is almost impossible to explain the emotions when you read AFAR – it’s truly a thought-provoking experience. AFAR hits all the right notes, and makes the experience of travel sound like an art, the way it should be.