A full day of reading ahead. Photo by Boris Ebzeev.
We may be a digital media company, but all of us at Fathom love a well-made magazine. There's no mistaking the tactile quality of heavy paper, the lusciousness of a full-bleed photo spread, the neat-and-tidy packaging of an otherwise impalpable theme.
We have our reading rituals (back page first!) and our storing rituals (stacked in a tower on the bedside table). And, for the first time, we're announcing our heavily researched list of the 24 Best Indie Mags for Travelers.
What we love: Published twice a year, the Singapore-based zine takes on travel primarily from a Singaporean’s perspective. Flip through a carefully curated set of crowd-sourced stories, ranging from a summer in the South of France to a college thesis on couch-surfing.
Last seen: Hosting a travel photography workshop with Lomography Singapore.
What we love: A celebration of those who turn inspirations into aspirations. From modern day charcoal makers living in the woodlands of Devon, UK, to perfumers sourcing ingredients along the wild roads of Oakland, California. You’ll be inspired to get up, get out, and start living.
What we love: Travel stories told through the lens of design, with additional features on entertaining and culture. See how creatives live around the world, enjoy dispatches from urban dwellers, and learn how to entertain with global recipes.
What we love: Each issue is devoted to one city — the music scene; the locals, both famous and unknown; the way its chefs are interpreting traditional dishes. The magazine's crew of writers, editors, and designers pick up and move to each locale for a few weeks to fully immerse themselves in the local culture and scene.
What we love: Every issue of the Bristol-based quarterly magazine showcases three or four destinations through short stories, photo essays, and local highlights. An "Interlude" section highlights non-location-specific topics like the making of honey or the layers of Le Labo perfume scent. They also have a set of nicely curated online travel guides.
What we love: At it's core, Darling is about all aspects of the modern woman: the dreamer, the hostess, the intellectual, the achiever. But we are partial to that which falls under The Explorer section, which includes stories focusing on how to explore the world. Their city guides are pretty great, too.
Last seen: Eating their way through San Francisco; shopping for a good cause.
What we love: A quarterly magazine dedicated to artists, writers, designers, chefs, and anyone else who has an interest in making and doing cool things. Issues explore a single theme illustrated through a collection of lyrical essays, inspiring recipes, and awe-inspiring photographs that take you around the world, and most recently the salt flats of South America, the coast of Western Australia, and a villa in Polignano a Mare, Italy.
What we love: Momofuku chef David Chang's quarterly food publication combines writing, illustration, and photographs to chronicle the history, culture, and taste of ingredients and dishes — from the humble Japanese ramen to New England oysters — and chronicles culinary adventures around the globe.
Last seen: Eating pot pie in Pennsylvania, crashing weddings in the Republic of Georgia, and picking huckleberries in Montana.
What we love: They cover travel so adventurous that their stories fall into two categories: Explore and Survive. Save yourself the anxiety and live vicariously through stunning photographs and inspiring tales.
Last seen: Kayaking through the Alps; biking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal; dodging black piranhas in Guyana's Rewa River.
What we love: It's a gritty, graphic, and undeniably cool quarterly covering adventure travel and the people who crave an adrenaline high. Pages are filled with lots of motorcycling, surfing, skiing, camping, cycling, and other heart-palpitating moments caught on film.
Last seen: Night-surfing in Waikiki; trailing hyenas in Southern Africa.
What we love: Every painstakingly thorough issue is dedicated to a country or a city or a neighborhood and the cuisines of that particular region of the world. But unlike the food porn genre so popular these days, the focus is not only on that which is appetizing, but that which is provacative, from Trans-Siberia to Norway to NYC's East Village (coming out this winter). There are interviews, photo spreads, and profiles on adventurous chefs (or eaters). A recurring feature, Supermarket Sweeps, makes beautiful still-life images from packaged food items.
Last seen: Scratching and sniffing their way through Mexico City.
What we love: Based in Beirut, Lebanon, this thoughtful mag serves as an indie voice from and for the Arab world. Each issue is centered around a different "possibility" — exploring Arab's changing political, economic, and cultural landscape beyond the headlines we read, or celebrating locals and creatives that are influencing and impacting the community.
Last seen: Re-visiting the ancient Arab art of Hakawati storytelling.
What we love: A bike magazine filled with almost 200 pages of love letters to cycling in the form of personal stories, poetry, illustrations, and photographs from around the world. It’s not just for serious or professional bikers. Anyone can appreciate a vignette on cycle-themed propaganda matchboxes from Czechoslovakia between 1950 and 1970, or a pictorial ode to the art of trail-naming in North America. Also, all profits from the magazine are donated to charities, and past issues are available to download for free.
What we love: Instead of keeping her location production information and call sheets secret, photographer and founder Emily Nathan devised a way to share inspiring imagery from the far-flung destinations she and her creative friends visit for work. A collection of stunning photographs accented with beautiful graphics, first-person stories, and travel resources grace the pages of this annual magazine. The equally inspiring website editions will hold you over until next year.
Last seen: Backcountry sledding on Spray Lake in the Canadian Rockies.
What we love: Bold-faced names in the art and design world (David Lynch, Ryan McGinley, David Chipperfield, Harmony Korine, Juergen Teller) explore landscapes from their different perspectives. The front of the book is dedicated to interviews; sections at the back include "Psychological Sightseeing," and, "Souvenirs." In the middle are pastel pages that describe twelve new boutique hotels in Europe or a dozen ryokans in Japan.
Last seen: Talking with Gia Coppola about Palo Alto, and sketching the churches of Rome.
What we love: Lauren Ladoceour and Ali Zeigler took their desire to extend that weekend feeling and turned it into a magazine celebrating all things Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. A grown-up pizza party. A crash course on the art scene in Hudson, New York. Weekend bags to take along for the ride. And a forecast for a year's worth of three-day weekends.
Last seen: Shucking oysters at a secret beach on Northern California's Tomales Bay.
What we love: A narrative take on travel through personal essays and pictorials. Topics range from the types of people you meet on a direct flight from New York to Egypt to shifting style trends in Pyongyang. Slotted at the end of long-form, destination-based stories are quick lists of to-dos while you’re there. The layout, like the editorial approach, breaks away from the norm, playing with different styles and type.
Last seen: Chatting with Arabic calligraphy artist, eL Seed, about painting on a minaret of the Jara Mosque in Gabes, Tunisia.
What we love: A perfect example of exploring your own backyard — from a botanical perspective. The bi-annual publication brings readers through North America's horticultural scene through interviews, recipes, and photo essays. We like how Wilder encourages readers to appreciate all the details — be they desert blooms of the American Southwest or art mushrooms in Oregon.