To educate and inspire all people to experience, enjoy and protect wilderness.
The Outdoor Journal is a print magazine, with true stories from adventurers and travellers all over the world. It is a website, with news from unreported regions and stories not told. It is videos, of adventures, and expeditions to places that still have room for first descents and ascents. It is events, bringing together communities of enthusiasts and believers. It is a reviews platform, enabling travellers to make better decisions about their next adventure. It is a global network of individuals who believe in something greater than their selves.
The Outdoor Journal is a call to action. We believe in clean air and blue skies. We believe in unpolluted rivers and plastic-free oceans, in pristine rainforests, clean beaches, green hills and open grasslands. We believe in living sustainable, ethical lives, in respect of the planet that has always provided for us. We believe in one Earth, with no nationalities and invented borders. We believe in saving whales and sharks, tigers and orangutans, bears, bees, baobabs and blackwoods. We believe in saving forests and wilderness areas now when we still can.
We hope to achieve it by glamorizing and enabling a better lifestyle choice for billions of people across the planet. We believe we can do it by building a highly successful, massively scalable 21st-century startup business around a global, growing community of enlightened adventure travelers and outdoor sports enthusiasts, and leveraging that force when the time is right.
THE OUTDOOR JOURNAL: OUR BACKSTORY
The Outdoor Journal was created out of a sense of frustration with the mainstream outdoors media which covered only stories that were skewed towards white, American athletes and travelers and remained fundamentally ethnocentric and practically colonialist in nature, despite the outdoors being an open, liberal and international space. Launching in India made sense, its economy was booming yet it was the only G-20 country to not have any outdoors magazine or media brand, while the founder was intimately connected to both the region’s core network of outdoors enthusiasts as well as the mainstream media industry. Our launch led to immediate deals with brands such as Taj Hotels and Taj Safaris, Porsche, Ford Motor Co, Gujarat Tourism, Reliance (for our Run the Rann event), Chattisgarh Tourism, Oman Tourism, and local distributors for gear brands such as Petzl and Salomon. However it was clear that the Indian outdoors market wasn’t big enough to sustain (economically), a core outdoors media – a recent 2016 estimate put the market at approximately $500M – a fraction of the USA market at over $800B. The overall turmoil in media, in general, did not help either. The only thing that worked for us was our inventive content creation business model, similar to Vice or Monocle, which was new to the outdoors media industry; as well as being the only authoritative source of information for the outdoors and adventure sports in the region. This authority was cemented when our editorial work was linked, cited and covered by global press from the New York Times, Quartz, Washington Post and others multiple times. We have been linked to by NASA (for our coverage of a landslide in the Himalayas that blocked a popular winter trekking route) to the Times of India for being the first source of information on a record-breaking Indian mountaineer who died in the Andes.
Media partnerships included the first Indian media and a rare English-language media to have the partnership with the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, coverage of many surfing championships in the region apart from other events including cycling, climbing and more. In 2016 we were also media partners with the ISA SUP World Championships in Fiji.
The All-India Kayak Expedition, a project we produced in 2014 with a young group of sponsored pro kayakers from the UK and a few of India’s top kayakers, was an early example of how to garner influence and win friends internationally while making money as a media startup. One of our young editorial contributors pitched us the idea, we took it to Ford’s India division to act as lead sponsor. Three months of very tough negotiations later, we had a deal for an 8 episode Youtube video series. The project resulted in hundreds of hours of never-been-seen-before footage, multiple first descents on rivers across India, organic links and pickups from specialist media across the world including Outside TV and Kayak Session and inquiries from the BBC. This experience also led to a co-production agreement with National Geographic; organising the India tour of the Banff Mountain Film Festival and much more.
A rare adventure-related brand to be present in India was Red Bull. After over a year of discussions, we signed a contract for content production for their website’s “Adventure” channel, subsequently producing over 50 stories for them that at one point completely filled the Red Bull India website.
Determined to pivot to an international base, we passed approvals and signed a distribution agreement with Ingram Content in the US to sell The Outdoor Journal across nearly 500 locations including many Barnes&Noble bookstores, making it the first magazine of Indian origin to be available in North America. In 2016 we finally acquired the domain name outdoorjournal.com from its original owner in California after pursuing it for many years; relocated the company to Europe, and built The Outdoor Voyage platform as the solution to the ultimate problem in the adventure industry.