Welcome to Panorama: The Journal of Travel, Place, and Nature’s SPACE issue. From the very small to the enormity of our imaginations, essays grow from the furtive earth-bed of mushroom forests to the stars. Granville Carroll’s afro-futuristic cover artwork “Becoming” places us in space. John Angerson provides the obligatory rocket-propelled photos. Matilde Gattoni reminds us that one’s freedom to explore space can suddenly be taken away. The connection with space doesn’t stop there. Melissa Tuckman’s aptly titled poem “Space Junk” connects space debris to modern living. A new section on New Nature Writing probes the world beyond our urban confines. In the second outing for Decolonising Travel, there are excruciating, painful stories, sexual imaginings in the steam room, and personal reflections on historical ties to oppression; all whilst giving writers who have come through VONA/Faith Adiele’s writing programme space to share their work. We finish the issue with a stroll through London — the most ethnically diverse world capital — through the lens of Books Editor Nicolas D. Sampson.
From the peaks of the Rocky Mountains in Montana, you immediately understand why this American state has earned itself the nickname of “Big Sky” country. At 7-12,000 feet above sea level, all you can see above you is space, occupied only by a spectrum of blue, wisps of clouds, and cartwheeling birds of prey. Far below you, the landscape unrolls like a variety of foam mats, as if you’re viewing a yoga class from the ceiling. But to arrive at that breathtaking expanse, you have to move counterintuitively through the opposite of space. Hiking isn’t a straightforward climb. Ascent is just as much about the descent, even when you’re heading up. Trails are narrow, switch-backing footpaths carved through shoulder-high underbrush. Dangers, ranging from jutting tree roots to foraging bears, can trip you up at any turn. And even if you achieve the summit, you might not be in a position to appreciate that kind of space, as I was not, in this piece that follows.