Perhaps more than any other time in recent history, how we see places and one another will determine what happens next to our human family.
Panorama: the Journal of Intelligent Travel proudly offers up our latest collection, ‘Seen,’ in the spirit of sequi, to follow. Alongside this fifth quarterly issue, our editorial vision has expanded on cue, following the lead of our readers, and this time we bring you more than forty travelogues on the edge, from around the world: lingering in memoir, in experimental, in lyricism, in poetry, in story, in image, all in celebration of how we see—and how we are seen. For example, our Photo Essay for this issue, a collection of film stills by Ugandan filmmaker Dilman Dila, objectifies you, the viewer, not the person in the photograph.
In Seen, we have several new additions, beginning with our new Editorial Commentary feature with an essay about travelogues and travel within the framework of Southeast Asian literature by Madhushree Ghosh. This issue also launches our new Outdoor Literature section full swing, with four nonfiction pieces about adventure travel through landscapes, all written by women of colour, in keeping with our revolutionary vision of changing the game in areas we feel are lacking in mainstream travel writing. And finally, a section we have wanted to create since we all first came together, Footsteps, begins: a series about following the footsteps of another traveller.
We invite you to read this special issue, and suggest you begin with a few of our favourites: Robin Hemley’s hybrid work about travelling as a refugee, No One Will See Me Again Forever; Nahida Esmail’s climb of Kilimanjaro in a hijab, Everlasting; Jasmine Gui’s yearn and ebb poem, Three Cups of Tea; and Nicolas Sampson’s fictional exploration of love and self in Cyprus, Flames and Shadows.
Thank you for supporting our panoramic vision: one world, not one narrative.
Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel has been a landmark literary magazine asking the age-old question: What does it mean to travel? What is ‘the journey’? Can it be one inside our hearts? In our minds? From our armchairs? Or trekking through mountains in Peru? Or through rain forests in Guatemala? Is it a combination of all these? In literature, especially South Asian literature, travel for decades, centuries even, was not a journey of choice.
By the third night, they had no idea where they were, and water covered everything. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t eat, and he couldn’t sleep. He just kept thinking, how will I die? How will I die?”, this track wearing a groove into his mind so deep his terror would never be able to scale the canyon walls and leave him.
My eyes remained on the bear, as it dropped from boxing-prepared stance, twisted its upper torso, and landed facing in the same direction that I was heading. The hump below its neck, a prominent silhouette against the distant glaciated mountains, proclaimed that my new companion was a grizzly bear.
It started along its own trail, matching my pace.
One place, three ways: London
What if she never went back? What if she remained in Paris, had her own small apartment in the centre of everything? What if she could do all the things she wanted to do and had read about? She lets the thought go.
The street is impassable. Vidya gets out and stands outside an Asian eatery. The man behind the glass is handling a fish. It is still writhing and flipping in its private death throes. Suddenly hungry, she goes inside, led by the smoky yellow lights.
I closed my eyes and let the tears come. La Parroquia could handle it. Her sanctuary withstood the clomping footsteps of children who pushed past black-clad widows. The wooden pews withstood the heavy, denim-covered bottoms of tourists seeking shelter. She welcomed the Hail Marys of all who sought the church’s protection. Life and death were an eternal party here.
A few hours ago, in the middle of doing the laundry, I get a call from my friend Damien. He’s on the edge of death again and needs help getting to a methadone clinic in Wilmington. Since I prefer not to have dead people on my conscience I decide to hop on a bus to his apartment in Long Beach and help him. Besides, I’m curious to see what a methadone clinic looks like.
We each travel for our own reasons.
Some aim to escape, others to explore.
I often don’t know why I visit a place until I leave it and it leaves something with me.
My journey to Alaska is less about checking the fiftieth state off my list and more about asking questions.