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Off Piste: Yonder Journal

Our interview with founder Emiliano Granado about the exploration-based publication

by Graham Hiemstra in Travel on 21 January 2014

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Driven by a primal instinct to explore, observe and theorize, Yonder Journal exists to document largely unknown areas of the Americas through the unfiltered lens of wide-eyed, self-taught anthropologists. Founded by writer Daniel Wakefield Pasley and photographer Emiliano Granado (perhaps known best for his brand work with Outlier and Manual for Speed) Yonder Journal tells tales of varied length and consequence through three unique avenues—reports, briefs and guides. Though print is definitely in its DNA, Yonder lives primarily online. The editorial voice and style change like a chameleon, adapting to each new adventure as it comes. And, as one would expect, the photography is nothing short of impressive across the board.

Rather than attempt to pin down the spirit of the ever-evolving project, CH went straight to the source. The following is a brief, but insightful look at just what Yonder Journal is, and what it might become down the line, as told with a tinge of humor and sharp wit by founder Emiliano Granado.

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When did Yonder Journal launch?

Yonder Journal semi-launched in January of 2013 and fully launched on July 4th, which is—as you know—American Independence Day. We intentionally did that because we're patriotic and because this is an American project—for now. Side note: While the site is relatively new, we've been working on this project for about four years, refining the concept, creating content and trying to get it published. Regardless of whether or not it's obvious, we really care about publishing standards. And, as it turns out, publishing is difficult and tedious. All that is to say: We have so much to say, but it takes so long to say it. It's like, a conundrum.

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Describe the attitude of Yonder Journal in one sentence.

Yonder Journal is bona fide curious about all things "other" and "marginal" and "there vs here," and we're inclined to document it.

Describe the goal of YJ in one sentence.

Exploring frontiers and wilderness. But like, not just physical frontiers and wilderness; we're talking metaphysical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, conceptual, attitudinal, atmospheric, etc. We like to get western, which is obviously a type of geography and geographical reality, but western is also an adjective meant to describe shit that's a bit rugged and hyper-real.

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Do you have a favorite guide?

Our favorite guide is Hot Springs, Swimming Holes and Fire Towers. I know that's technically three favorite guides, but A) they fit together so well. B) the moment we realized we wanted to publish a series of guides (not just literal, factual guides, but guides that were as impressionistic and inspirational as they were functional) we talked about a collection of outdoor activities and/or pursuits that were both immersive and wondrous in terms of natural beauty and accessibility. And, C) seriously, they kinda go together, right?

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Each editorial product is told in a different manner, be it first person narrative or an academic overview. What dictates the way each assignment is approached?

Eventually we will print physical actual objects; for example, books, magazines, printed guides, postcards, etc. However, in the immediate Yonder is 95% online, which is in many ways extremely flexible in terms of format and layout. But that's not important right now, what's important is that we publish people, places and things with intrinsic value—shit that matters, shit that needs to be recorded and documented. We're not sure where we were going with that, but we like to let the content and the story and the vibe inform the medium. Some shit wants to be smart and serious and indexed and spell-checked; some shit wants to be irreverent and grammatically flexible and/or flippant. A lot of publications eventually become rigid in terms of style and vernacular and voice, we'd like to avoid that if at all possible.

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Any last words?

Dear CH fans, please fully enjoy, read and subscribe to Yonder Journal. We've got mountain men, mule deer net-gunning, naked men and women swimming in geothermal activity zones, bona fide fire towers and various other pursuits. And Brovet, a guide to self-supported cycling routes that, upon completion, results in a patch. And for 2014, we are concentrating our efforts on a coast-to-coast "Guide to American Recreation" to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the US Wilderness Act. Oh yeah, and you should buy a hat.

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Earlier today, Yonder Journal released their first piece of collaboration apparel—an American-made wool hat produced by FairEnds. Available in two colors, the official YJ Field Cap sells for $50. Visit Yonder Journal online to snag one of the limited edition hats and to find further adventure inspiration.

Images courtesy of Emiliano Granado

Off Piste encourages exploration. With each feature we'll introduce the people, products and places that make life outside the city possible and life in the city more down to earth.

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