Image: Atlantic Forest, Brazil © Thomas Berg
Welcome to Panorama: The Journal of Travel, Place, and Nature’s BORDERS issue. In this issue we have work from India, Nigeria, Philippines, Israel, Netherlands, UK (England & Scotland), USA, Brazil, South Korea, Thailand, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Japan, with references and stories from many more. In many ways, this is Panorama’s most diverse publication to date and completes a year in which we’ve published as many essays as the previous six years combined.
As always, I’m delighted to share writing from leading names such as Leslie Carol Roberts with her piece “Night Farmers” alongside other established authors as well as those making their first forays into publishing. Whilst we see many physical borders in the world—and the barriers that follow—we’re committed to at least making Panorama a space in which people feel welcome.
Eaten—our section which combines food with travel writing—returns with many thanks to Senior Editors Paula Lee and Leslie Hsu Oh. Here, Sarah Pazur’s “Bloody Mary” takes us on a journey of drinks, airport bars, and chance encounters. Anna Nguyen goes in search of elusive bánh mì. Streetview—a section that focuses on stories close to home—is also back with Ryder Blair’s “A Rose Hill Bench” and “Sauntering Through The Holy Land” by Jason Irwin, with thanks to Anis Ibrahim for reading submissions. Introduced too is a new Education section which focuses on learning moments with an essay from Meera B that recounts a class on Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Boundary.”
Previously, our Ecology & Conservation Editor, Dr Julia Knights, delved into the plight of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil in an interview with botanist, Ghillean Prance. In this issue, Knights interviews Brazilian evolutionary biologist, Alexandre Antonelli, Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, to discuss a biome more threatened than the Amazon—that of the tropical Atlantic rainforest, his childhood home of which just 8% remains and about his own personal journey to try to save it.
Our focus on Filipino authors continues with The Snake—from Danton Remoto’s latest collection “The Heart of Summer”—a short story about neighbours in a multicultural neighbourhood in Singapore. Och Gonzalez returns with “Hail Mary.” Ferdinand Pisigan’s “Six Saturdays of Beyblade” follows a family’s eviction, separation, and the borders of the village and city. Rachel Meller’s poignant story also see families uprooted as she traces her aunt’s escape from Vienna to Shanghai in the heat of WWII. In Arina Kole’s “World on Fire” we feel the helplessness when one’s home country is laid siege and being away means not knowing if your family is alive or dead, missing, or safe.
A conversation on borders would not be complete without a discussion about the ability or not to cross borders. Whilst DJ Nono muses on her freedom to cross borders seamlessly on a slow journey from Germany to Morocco—with an accompanying playlist—we also hear from Matteo Moretti on the plight of refugees and how his project Design for Migration shares a number of practical ways designers are trying to build awareness around refugees stories, and create products that make their journeys less hazardous such as a coat that also turns into a sleeping bag.
Feted filmmaker Thida Nathalie also contributes two short documentaries for this issue. In “Tribe” we meet the Konyaks, whose warrior headhunting past is now ceding to a more contemporary life, receiving tourists, and taking the grandchildren to school. We also hear how “Mr Tashi” charted a new life as a tourist guide for this one-time refugee.
With much appreciation to all contributors and the entire Panorama team, not least the Editors—Faith Adiele, Nicolas Sampson, Kevan Manwaring, Vimi Bajaj, Marie Baleo, Aswin Prasanth, Sarge Lacuesta, David Ishaya Osu, Kerry Neville, Joelle Renstrom, Tanya Goodman, and those already mentioned above—as well as the wider masthead who contribute each issue. I give you BORDERS.
— Matthew Webb, Director, Panorama
ECOLOGY & CONSERVATION
In conversation with Alexandre Antonelli.
The tropical Atlantic Forest of South America is one of the most biodiverse biomes on Earth, encompassing mangrove forests, tropical and subtropical shrublands, grasslands, seasonal moist and dry broad-leaf tropical forests. Extending along the Atlantic Coast of parts of eastern Brazil, eastern Paraguay and north-eastern Argentina, it is home to many endemic species found nowhere else on earth. And yet just 8% remains.
To my great sadness, I have no memory at all of my mother’s voice. By the time I was three months old, Ilse had taken her own life. At some level, my mother’s death is always with me. Knowing so little about her means the least expected of triggers can conjure up tears. Like the moment a character in a soap opera heard a message that his dead mother recorded years earlier.