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A Review of One Year of AFAR Magazine

AFAR Magazine

Today’s mail included a copy of AFAR Magazine with one of those “THIS IS YOUR LAST ISSUE!” flyers attached to the cover. These days, with more of my reading material arriving digitally, I almost always let the print subscription lapse — but I’m renewing this one.

If you like to read more about the people and the culture of the places you go, then AFAR is probably the magazine you’ve been looking for all these years.

One Year of AFAR Magazine

In a happy moment of travel-related serendipity, I found out about AFAR while on a trip last summer. We were staying at a place in Dubai’s Bastakiya neighborhood and, while walking around, a nearby Hotel / Gallery caught our eye.1

The manager, an American named Harrison, was kind enough to show us around and invited us to enjoy some cool beverages in the shade afterwards. We all talked about our travels and, at some point, Harrison asked us “Have you ever heard of AFAR Magazine?”. One of its founders had just been a guest and he described it as a magazine geared toward people interested in a more engaged style of exploring the world.

It piqued my interest, and so I subscribed when we returned to New York a couple of months later.

Traveling With Your Brain Turned On

AFAR is about international, intentional travel and, with every issue that’s arrived since I subscribed, I’ve been impressed by its quality. The features, the photography, the layout, and the writing are consistently enjoyable2.

This isn’t more of the same “Aspirational Lifestyle Porn” that is often passed off as travel journalism these days (you won’t likely see “The AFAR Top 100 List of Über-Luxe Resorts / Objets Inaccessible” anytime soon). Instead, it focuses on having experiences which can help you understand a place better — irrespective of price.

You’ll find articles about people and the work they do, useful tips about how local people live, about the art and the food cultures which often give a region its unique textures and flavors, stories about volunteering and ways to get more deeply involved in the places you visit…. and, of course, plenty of photos to get you day-dreaming!

Best of Both Worlds

Even though it’s a difficult time for traditional publishing, there are still a few magazines that deliver a quality product which actually takes advantage of the strengths of the printed page. Monocle, The Economist, National Geographic, and the New York Review Of Books will always have an audience because each gives a tactile, visceral reading experience that isn’t the same as a website or an eBook. In the same way, AFAR Magazine is a pleasure to read and I’m already looking forward to thumbing through another year’s worth of issues!

But AFAR also has a digital presence… and it’s not a web-based rehash of the magazine. AFAR Connect is an online community that lets members reach out to one another, ask questions of locals, post photos, and trade travel tips and must-see places (As part of my upcoming “Tech for Travelers” Series, I’ll give you a closer look at AFAR Connect).

Both in print and digital forms, AFAR puts people and their stories at the center of their content. I think it’s a smart, engaging approach and well-worth checking out!

  1. Traveling to Dubai? Be sure to check out Bastakiya! It’s hard to grasp how much things have changed for this city without walking around this traditional neighborhood and along the nearby Dubai Creek. []
  2. I was very pleased to discover that writers like Matt Gross and Rachel Shukert were contributors []

We recently took a tour of Tom Bihn’s new Seattle factory and talked with him about making a product (and a business) that reflects your values.

Tom Bihn Tour

Tom and Lauren Discuss The Art Of Bag Construction

Lauren and I were traveling in the Pacific Northwest last week and decided to drop by Tom Bihn’s new factory / showroom to thank them in person for supporting the “Help In Your Own Way Giveaway”. We expected a quick visit but, instead, we received a full tour of the new place — personally led by Tom and by Darcy Gray, the Vice President of Tom Bihn.

[Read more…]

It’s been a week since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and, while that situation continues to develop, it’s time to press ahead and conclude the “Help In Your Own Giveaway” — with one final prize added to the list.

The Ultimate Tech Guide For TravelersIt’s been a week since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and, although that situation continues to develop, it’s time to press ahead and conclude the “Help In Your Own Way” Giveaway — with one final prize added to the list.


If you are a frequent traveler and love technology, you’re probably already familiar with ANIL POLAT. Anil, who studied anthropology and worked as professional computer security consultant, has joined these interests in his latest venture — traveling full-time while publishing his travel blogs, most notably the tech/travel site foXnoMad.

Taking his work at foXnoMad further, he recently published an eBook called The Ultimate Tech Guide For Travelers. Available directly from his website or from Amazon for your Kindle, “The Ultimate Tech Guide For Travelers” is a compendium of Anil’s experiences and tips for living as a “digital nomad”.

However, the book is only part of the story: For a full 6 months after purchasing his eBook, Anil provides one-on-one technical support for anything you read about inside! For the $37 price tag, that is both remarkable and pretty much an unbeatable deal for tech support!1

When I told Anil about the “Help In Your Own Way” Giveaway, he did just that — and very generously donated a few copies of the book (not to mention his time supporting it) to the prize pool!

Helping In Your Own Way

Take a few moments to read about what The Language Project and Village Science are doing… I bet that there’s something you can offer that will help! Maybe you could:


Have your own ideas? Just click here to reach out and share them!

Be sure to follow the Twitter Feed for more announcements!

  1. Not to mention that it takes the idea of an author standing behind his work to a whole other level!!! []
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