TODAY article - The rebirth of the travel mag
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by xiaostar » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:58 pm
Afterglobe magazine - http://afterglobemag.com/
Singapore’s first indie travel mag the latest title to revive the joy of reading — on print
Who says print is dead?
Don’t look now, but something quietly monumental is taking place in the world of magazines: An avalanche of new, niche and independent rags steadily gaining momentum, awareness and yes, readership.
Remember sitting down with a tangible, beautifully produced thing made of paper? Well, titles like Kinfolk, Cherry Bombe and Gather are bringing back that much-missed habit. This trend has seeped into the niche sphere of travel magazines — and it includes one of our own.
Put together by five young Singaporeans, Afterglobe is the country’s first indie travel magazine. Bucking the doomsday aphorism that print is headed the way of the dodo, it’s filled with articles, anecdotes, illustrations, poems and photography crowdsourced from voyagers who call this island home. More than that, it is determined to avoid being the typical travel periodical that only tells you where to go and what to do,
“After spending my first two years of college abroad, I realised that Singaporeans really prioritise travel,” shared Afterglobe Editor-in-Chief Andrea Lim.
“There seem to be more and more Singaporeans venturing off the beaten track and they’re found in just about any part of the world. I also realised that despite a growing market and receptiveness for well-curated magazines in Singapore, there was no local magazine solely dedicated to the Singaporean experience of travel.”
Inspired by her love for travel literature such as the Lonely Planet anthologies, Lim was keen to create a platform where similar stories can be curated, showcasing the works of “amazing artists, photographers, writers”. But it was only when the third-year student at the United States’ Reed College returned to Singapore last August that she managed to get things rolling.
“My plans to study abroad in Cairo were derailed due to the political situation, and I found myself heading home. I immediately started getting a team together and seriously working on bringing the dream to fruition.”
The Afterglobe team is made up of friends who share the same vision (three of them are in National University of Singapore and another is a full-time designer). Young and digitally savvy, they chose good old paper over producing a website or e-zine.
Why? “Everyone in the team is a huge lover of print and books. There’s something significantly different about the experience of reading a book compared to scrolling through a page on the Internet, where many other pages are also bombarding you for attention. There are many travel websites nowadays, so we deliberately wanted to avoid being yet another website,” Lim added.
There was another not-so-secret motive in doing Afterglobe: To engage and interest Singaporeans in local art and literature. Calls were made for submissions for the first issue based on the theme of Pilot, and established names — including novelist Wena Poon and art collective Holy Crap (the family of President’s Design Award winner Pann Lim) — were also approached. More than 120 contributions poured in, and it took a total of four months to put the first issue together.
Lim declined to reveal the cost of the operations, although she shared the initial print was funded through personal savings as the team wanted full ownership and control.
The labour of love has been worth it as feedback has been great. Submissions for the second issue, which will be published in July, are currently underway. Although challenges remain, such as getting bigger bookstores to carry the title and getting the word out, Lim and her team remain enthusiastic. “The most heartening response has been from our contributors. We feel that Afterglobe is as much theirs as it is ours, and it has been extremely gratifying that they have loved how it turned out.”
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