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April 3, 2011

March/April 2011 issue of AFAR

AFAR is the best travel magazine I’ve ever read. This is even in comparison to my all time favorite, the great National Geographic. AFAR takes the reader on a ride more personal and intimate than the NatGeo or any other current travel magazine does. In their own words, “AFAR is devoted to experiential travel, which connects you with the authentic essence of a place and it’s people, deepening your understanding of the world, it’s cultures, and yourself”.

In under a 100 pages, AFAR manages to pack in a richly woven tapestry filled with interesting stories, eye-catching photographs and useful recommendations for travelers, about different countries, various cultures, and delicious cuisines. The first issue of AFAR I read took my breath away just by the sheer variety of stories each page had managed to pack in. With a single flip of the page I could go from discovering the hidden, secret places in Paris to attending a wedding ceremony in India. Another flip of the page invited me to accompany the writer in sampling the locally produced delicious organic meals (rabbit stew, anyone?) from a family’s backyard farm, accompanied by wine in Tuscany and the next page introduced me to the mystical, mesmerizing music of Thailand – morlam. Their March/April 2011 issue has stories, photos and tidbits from twenty six destinations/countries. Yes, that’s right – twenty six.

The writing and photographs in AFAR are distinctively different from other travel magazines. The writing  really makes me feel like I am there. I am the one experiencing what has been written. This is the kind of writing that makes armchair travel enjoyable. The real litmus test is when you realize you’ve become emotionally involved  in what you’re reading. You’re invested in this person/event/story/food/city/what-have-you now. You care. That uncomfortable nugget rising in your throat, or that involuntary laugh that surprises you – that’s the true power of the written word and AFAR adheres to a standard of writing that is capable of evoking these emotions.

The photographs published in AFAR are high quality and always accompanied by short descriptions that summarize the essence of the moment. The Nov/Dec 2010 issue had a photograph of a couple, tango dancing. I stared at it, mesmerized for I don’t recall how long. The photograph was amazing. It was from a perspective I’d never seen before, it impeccably captured the sensuousness, the beauty and intimacy of two people wrapped around each other, in sync with the music, in sync with each other, eyes closed, transporting themselves and the viewer to another moment in time.

One of my favorite sections in AFAR is called “Mix” – A collection of photographs of things/people/scenes from all over the world. The latest issue puts together a collection of bridges from all over the world, it’s surprising how much you can learn about a country just by seeing their bridges. I can go on and on about all the articles I’ve read these past few months and how much they’ve meant to me, but I will control my impulse and leave you with a link where you can order a risk-free issue of AFAR and find out more for yourself – Risk-Free issue!


From → General, Photography

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