Welcome to Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel‘s long awaited LOST, our fifth issue, which we are dedicating to the great traveller, Anthony Bourdain, whose recent passing has affected us all. We offer this issue in celebration of his storytelling. The word lost originates from the Old English losian, meaning to perish. While this collection features many narratives of loss, it also illuminates the journey to being found. We hope Bourdain is finding his way home.
With each issue of Panorama, we strive to bring something new to the travel genre. This time, forty-seven writers have gifted their best work to shed light on the way they experience place, light, weather, shadow, birth, grief, streets, maps, stars, sex, love, and grace, all through the lens of travel. We’re delighted to introduce several new sections: VONATravels focuses exclusively on emerging voices of color; Psychogeography asks us to take a different kind of journey; and Books explores travel through the perspective of the world’s great travel writers. We’ve also chosen three literary ambassadors for the year to write letters from their respective cities of Hong Kong, Nairobi, and Panjim.
LOST has so many gorgeous works, it’s hard to know where to begin. Richard Ali comes of age with a voyage inspired by the lack of Nigerians and Nigerian places in the magazines of his boyhood in his commentary, Nigerians Travel: Travel Beyond National Geographic. Madhushree Ghosh considers the impact of Bourdain on the way we view difference, food, and travel in The Essence of Bourdain. Lola Akimade Akerstrom sets out to Greenland to follow in the footsteps of the great African explorer Tété-Michel Kpomassie, but ends up making her own trail in Going the Way of the Qivittoq.
We give you LOST: one world, not one narrative.
‘We loved his essence, the heady high he gave us by being original, by being truthful, by being vulnerable. He morphed into a travel writer with food as his vehicle. It was only natural for an essayist who was honest about his past as a hardcore drug user in the eighties, his failures in his twenties, his smoking addiction, his need to be on the edge of self-destruction, and his love for all things unknown. That was exciting to him. So it was exciting to us.’
Ernest White II
National Geographic travel writer and explorer Andrew Evans on his book The Black Penguin, why he travels, gender and identity, the need for multiple narratives, and taking the bus all the way to Antarctica.
‘When you think about travel, the way most people do it now is to try and control the experience, and I like the opposite. That was the whole point of this, to throw myself into whatever and be open to whatever. And sometimes that’s painful. Sometimes that means sleeping in a ditch overnight, or sitting next to a crazy felon, or whatever. But when you’re open to that, for me, that’s when the magic happens. That what this story is about.’
Orhan Pamuk’s The White Castle is his fictional travelogue masterpiece, starring a young Italian scholar who ends up in Istanbul, first as a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire, then as a slave, his fate coming to a surprising conclusion.
‘A tale of confused identity, self-reflection, and a world caught between two versions of itself. More than that, it’s a meditation on modern Turkish culture and its complex relation to the West, a cultural and psychological deliberation written in a way that evaded the censors of the day.’
A book to inspire your own imaginary journey.
Why we need to champion travelogues by writers of colour.
Lola Akimade Akerstrom
‘The tail end of April found me in Greenland because of a book by the first African ever to set foot on the world’s largest island in the sixties. Years before, I’d poured through Togo-born Tété-Michel Kpomassie’s book, An African in Greenland. Fascinated by his journey, I vowed to follow some of his footsteps and see those very icebergs that had captivated him over 50 years ago. I had automatically assumed we shared the same lure of the unfamiliar, but as the squall wailed and groaned outside, reminding me who was boss, I realized what drew both Teté and I to Greenland weren’t one and the same.’
Russian photographer Max Sher talks about photographing archetypes of the post-Soviet built environment and recrafting the image of places in an effort to unexoticize them in his new book, Pamlipsests, a project that took him to five countries over seven years. A reflective conversation that invites us to see differently.
“My project is a critique of representation, rather than a critique of the Soviet project or of the new post-Soviet reality that emerged in its place. What I mean is, I would even dare calling it a decolonizing project but in the sense of decolonizing my own thinking and perception of the built environment I live in.”
The life of an opera diva encourages a dreamer to see the world.
Richard Oduor Oduku
‘And the anonymity of travel is a risk—the risk of feeling extreme loneliness, of feeling minuscule, of feeling not an expansion but a breakdown of identity. This is especially true when we venture into territory where the language is not our own and we are standing, bewildered, in train stations wondering whether we will ever get out, wanting someone to take us by the hand and lead us to our car, our seat. Furthermore, our “adventures” are apt not to be the stuff of Homer, but rather the more mundane events worthy of a postcard or of a journal entry—or of the Ulysses whom James Joyce portrayed, an average man struggling through the epic of a single day.’
Inspired by the story of pirate Anne Bonny, a young mother sets out to learn to sail with her young son, choosing a life of adventure for them both. ‘I wondered why I hadn’t heard stories like hers about single moms, ones that show our heroic strain. Somewhere deep in side a glimmer of possibility stirred where before I’d only felt despair. I imagined the adventures Tobin and I could experience, and for the first time in a long while, I allowed myself to daydream about creating a bold, watery life for Tobin and me. A month later, I enrolled in sailing classes in Anne’s hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.’
Sometimes the road itself is the destination.