An Interview with Another Escape
We caught up with Rachel Taylor and Jody Daunton from outdoor lifestyle journal, Another Escape for a chat about their publication and getting closer to nature.
Founded in 2012, Another Escape is a high-quality outdoor publication with a sense of purpose. Printed on ecologically friendly stock, it’s full of immersive storytelling and stunning images that inspire its readers to get more connected to nature. Covering things like considered ways of living, environmental stewardship, and finding fulfilment, each volume explores the people and places at the heart of the stories and it makes for truly inspiring reading.
Another Escape is our kind of publication and founders, Rachel Taylor and Jody Daunton are our kind of people. So, for our latest instalment in this series of conversations with interesting people, we thought we’d grab them for a chat to find out more about their magazine, their motivations, the challenges they’ve faced in becoming more sustainable, and the themes behind each issue.
Hi Rachel and Jody. Thanks for dropping by. Let’s start at the beginning. How did you meet and why were you inspired to start the publication together?
Hey. Oh, we go way back and met before our university years. What inspired us to start a publication together was our shared love of storytelling. The printed page allows such an interesting dynamic between different elements – photography, copy, graphic design, and the combination of all three – and we love how it can be used to deliver impactful messages and share meaningful and immersive narratives. So storytelling was our first love.
But we also felt that there was an absence of the types of stories we wanted to read – the positive stories about passionate people and their lives. When we launched Another Escape there just wasn’t the plethora of independent publications that there are now, and we wanted to make something different to what you could get on the newsstand at the time.
We wanted to create content that we cared about and we knew many of our peers cared about too. So we were naturally drawn to the themes of the outdoors and nature, our innate creativity, and environmentalism and sustainability. The more volumes we produced, the more prominent these themes became.
It seems nature and environmentalism are much bigger issues than they were in 2012. Since it started, how has that core idea – to connect people to nature – developed?
With the current cultural shift around the climate and ecological crises, we feel that our content is resonating with more and more people. And our publication has definitely evolved over the years, and perhaps now, we have more confidence to talk about issues relating to those topics in more depth. But we’ve never wanted to be preachy, and we’ve always wanted our stories to be inspirational, and it’s really important to us that that continues to be the case. For people newly moving into this way of thinking and seeing the world, we hope that we can offer a small touchpoint for them on their journey to being more eco-conscious and more connected to nature.
“…We must reconnect and remember that we are nature too and that we live in a world of symbiosis and reciprocity.”
It’s good to point out that we are still evolving, and earlier this year, we tightened up our mission statement: Another Escape is a lifestyle journal for those who love the outdoors, telling stories of passionate people inspired by nature. We encourage people to connect with the natural world in meaningful ways so they may become active stewards of our planet.
We believe that the flaw in our exploitative culture is rooted in our disconnection with nature, and for us to remedy the crises we’ve caused, we must reconnect and remember that we are nature too and that we live in a world of symbiosis and reciprocity – that our actions have impacts. Getting outdoors is the first step in doing that. We believe that true environmentalism needs to come from the heart, and when we fall in love with the beautiful world around us, we feel driven to protect it.
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Yeah, that’s a good philosophy. I read that you’re continually evaluating your production processes so they have less of an impact on the environment. What challenges have you faced as a print publication in that respect?
Changing printers was a big one for us. For a number of years now, we’ve worked with Park Communications who are committed to minimising their environmental impact and over the years have won awards for their efforts. Every time we speak with them, there’s something new they’ve done to honour their commitment.
Things we are currently looking into are our cover’s laminate and our paper stock. Laminates are traditionally a plastic coating added to the paper, and when we first started publishing, we asked ourselves whether our cover should be laminated or not. We decided to go for a laminated cover because it made the publication more durable, which is important for a product that we want people to cherish, keep and share. There were some alternatives touted as being “greener”, but we were advised that these degraded quickly, went brittle and flaked off, and generally weren’t all they were cracked up to be – not great. But now, as we understand it, there’s a new type of cellulose laminate, so we are exploring if that could work for Another Escape.
Paper is another thing. So there’s the assumption that recycled is always better. We certainly thought so. But, like everything, the more you dig, the more you realise that it’s not as simple as you first thought. Recycling certainly makes sense from a repurposing resources perspective. But the part that is often overlooked is getting that waste material back to something usable, and this often takes huge amounts of processing and bleaching and water consumption and produces nasty waste chemicals. So we weren’t sold on that and opted instead to use an FSC and EU Eco-label paper stock. But we want to see if there are better options available now, with technology improving all the time and there being more transparency in supply chains.
That’s interesting. I definitely would have assumed that recycled paper would be the best choice. While we’re talking paper, what do you think it is that keeps us coming back to printed magazines?
In a digital world, it’s perhaps the space and silence that draws us to print media. You can put down your digital devices and disappear into a story or article, uninterrupted. Reading feels quite zen today, almost a protest to the noise of the internet and our constant communications.
We chose to make a print publication for two reasons: the control and creativity with the storytelling; and also the sheer tactility of the printed artefact, that feeling of thumbing paper and ink, and the shareability of a physical object, which we want people to pass around or keep to dip into time and time again. That’s also why we make all content as evergreen and timeless as possible.
…And that shareability aspect I suppose links up again with the need for a magazine that’s durable. Are you subscribed to many other publications?
Perhaps this is a strange thing to admit but we don’t tend to read a lot of other publications. In one way, it’s quite a conscious decision so that we can stay true to ourselves and focus on creating content that’s in line with our mission. But it’s also because we love to consume all types of media and content.
That said, there are some awesome publications out there that we love: Smith Journal (RIP) for their approach to storytelling; Positive News for, yep, their positivity; Mondial for their fresh take on cycle content and use of narrative; and Ernest Journal for their originality in content and fun stories and concepts.
Moving on, let’s talk about the themes. How do you go about selecting the theme for each volume and how do you then work with writers and photographers to develop relevant features?
So we come up with the theme a loooong time in advance – sometimes a couple of years. In that time, we collect a bunch of theme-related ideas and build up a healthy list before we begin exploring which ideas have legs and which support our core message and mission, and the angles that could make an idea most successful.
These days, we tend to work with the same cohort of contributors from volume to volume – people we love working with and really get Another Escape. This also provides consistency across volumes. Because we come up with the ideas, we tend not to take that many – and sometimes, not any – submissions. But, that said, most of the people we work with today came to us through a submission email.
Naturally within each volume, outdoor sports and activities feature quite frequently. Do you think those kinds of outdoor activities play an important part in bringing us closer to nature?
Certainly! It gets us out in those spaces and really interacting with the natural world. That said though, not everyone who spends time outdoors feels close to nature – some treat it simply as a playground (you only need to look at the empty drink bottles and energy bar wrappers strewn along some trails to see this).
But to reconnect with nature, you really need to spend time outdoors, in whatever way makes sense to you – it doesn’t need to be gnarly activities like kayaking and trail running, it could be spending more time in the garden. Our modern lives demand that many of us spend so much time indoors that it’s no wonder we feel removed from the natural world. In our centrally heated homes, our strip-lit offices, our concrete cities, it’s so easy to forget that we, humans, are nature too. Spending time outdoors makes us feel more wild and in tune with the natural rhythms of the world.
It’s been outdoor brands that have linked up with you for sponsored content features within the publication too, hasn’t it? Predominantly, these appear to be brands that really share your values, like Patagonia and Klättermusen. Has this been a conscious effort on your part?
Yep, totally. This boils down to editorial (and personal) integrity. We like to think (and our reader survey responses confirm this) that our readers trust us to only work with and present brands with values aligned to our own. We are authentic in the messages we tell, and if we were to work with brands that weren’t aligned, this would totally undermine this.
Yes, that authenticity comes across when you read the sponsored features. Let’s talk about the global appeal of Another Escape. You’re stocked all over the world. Do you have to make an effort to maintain a global appeal or is that something that’s just happened?
People the world over are getting burnt out, feeling stuck in the rat race, spending too much time in the office or at their computer. We create stories that are really immersive and take you out of that state, so it’s no wonder they have universal appeal. Within an instance, you can be in the Norweigan fjords, or have your hands in the soil with a pioneering food producer, or crafting your own wooden surfboard.
In truth, there’s little business thinking around this. When we started, we just hoped that our content would resonate with a global tribe of likeminded folk… and luckily it did. The only thing we try to ensure is that we feature stories from different places on the planet.
We’re almost out of time, but can you quickly tell us what’s coming up for Another Escape?
So on top of tightening up our mission statement, we are changing up our editorial format slightly, which should be pretty exciting. We can tell you that the next volume will be The Nourishment Volume – nourishing ourselves, our communities, the land, the ecosystems of which we are a part, etc. So it’ll be quite conceptual and will follow on well from The Belonging Volume.
In addition to making Another Escape, this year we are working with like-minded companies with their brand storytelling and content strategies and uncovering the stories that lie at the heart of their business. So it’s an exciting year.
Sounds fantastic. Thanks so much for stopping by and letting us ask you a couple of questions. We can’t wait to escape with The Nourishment Volume.
If you want to find out more about the publication, head to Another Escape’s website where you can find information on stockists, buy back issues, and read some awesome online features too.