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Editor's Letters

Mar 14, 2016

Editors Letter. Issue 10. Spring 2016

"The mountains are calling and I must go." John Muir

WRITTEN BY

Apoorva Prasad

You can subscribe to the Outdoor Journal here.

I write this while sitting in the foothills of the Himalaya. In front is the massive Trisul, 7120m, pink-tipped in morning light. Yet it is rendered faint by a haze in the winter sky that I’d never seen in my childhood, when we spent vacations driving days-deep into the Himalaya. These lands have lost much in “development”. Like Doug Tompkins, I feel the single most important goal we have today is to preserve these wilds, through whatever means necessary, when the concrete zombie-cities of the south expand uncontrollably into nature, hacking away at forests, streams and meadows.

I became a climber, apart from other things, because of the sense of community and belonging it fostered almost instantaneously. Your nationality, color, gender and all other separators became secondary. I traveled the world staying with friends of friends who knew nothing of me, save that of being a climber. However, today’s fractious politics, news-cycle-driven fear and media hype around anything that pushes eyeballs, and the sense of otherness that the hunt of sponsors fosters, that community seems to be breaking apart. In today’s hyper frenetic YouTube era, I wonder if that meaning is being lost in the hunt for mindless clicks. Are FFAs and FKTs really that important? Do we always need to be something better or bigger or faster? Or can we be simply content in communion with nature? This is the message I share when I travel, looking for partners, from athletes to brands, journalists to NGOs. Perhaps I am naive. But there was an era when the sense of spiritual unity told us what this search actually meant.

We at the The Outdoor Journal are as guilty, sometimes, of promoting the most visible ‘actors’ to attract advertisers. However, we also try to highlight the best adventures around the globe that represent the lifestyle we seek to promote. Our goal is to try and seek a return to the simple joys of life, that have always existed in the real world outside. We know, despite my naivety, the only way to succeed is by creating a successful, profitable commercial enterprise, which then has the power to make a difference.

The question I always sought to answer, through the outdoors, was the meaning of life. Having lived and travelled in many countries, I wanted to know, what was the most important thing I could do? What was it that gave my existence purpose, and meaning? When would I stop feeling that unknown terror gnawing at my soul?

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Editor's Letters

Aug 14, 2018

Welcome to the new OutdoorJournal.com

A reflection of our new team and iterative process of regular updates to our design, editorial content, business model and much more.

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WRITTEN BY

Apoorva Prasad

In order to achieve our long-term goals, we’ve had to learn some hard lessons, undertake pivots and become more of a tech startup than “just a magazine”. I’ve personally had to go from being “just a journalist” to being the CEO of a tech startup, raise outside funding and relearn software development, nearly 20 years after I quit engineering school in Maryland to climb in the Himalayas, travel and become a storyteller.

You’ll start to see a brand new look to our website and other properties, as well as be able to undertake trips on The Outdoor Voyage (www.outdoorvoyage.com), which we’re also launching via trip pages on The Outdoor Journal itself.

Call us what you will, but The Outdoor Journal & Voyage stands for one thing: to educate, inspire and enable all peoples to enjoy, experience and protect wilderness.

This is also an acknowledgement of the reality that the media industry as we knew it for the last hundred years is essentially dead, that nearly all advertising dollars are scooped up by Facebook and Google today, not independent media businesses like ours; as well as the fact that our readers have constantly asked us who the best travel companies are, globally, and how they could book with them. Our business model is henceforth evolving into a hybrid travel + media model, where a sales commission from a scalable travel booking business is what (we hope) will fund our honest, authentic and independent editorial journalism. Importantly, our marketplace side seeks to promote ethical travel and sustainable development in local communities globally – a mission that received a boost when Booking.com awarded us their second-highest startup grant award last December. Some links you follow may earn us a commission, and we will continue to have some sponsored content or advertising on our channels, but we will always strive to be transparent and explicit about what’s honest, genuine journalism, and what’s not – a rarity in most travel and outdoor media.

We’ve remained a family & friends-funded startup, but sometimes we pitch ourselves to investors calling it a future “Wirecutter for adventure travel” and other times, a potential “NatGeo + Expedia for Adventure”. Call us what you will, but The Outdoor Journal & Voyage stands for one thing: to educate, inspire and enable all peoples to enjoy and experience wilderness. That is our purpose, and we will continue to build and grow towards goals that help us achieve it.

It’s been a long journey, and I invite you to retrace my steps by reading all of the previous Editor’s Letters, which can be found under The Journal.

Finally, should you wish to support our journalism, and everything we stand for, please subscribe to our print magazine here.

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