Interview: Rachel Taylor of Another Escape Magazine
Utilising their rich sense of visual story telling, Another Escape magazine explores outdoor lifestyle, creative culture and sustainable living. We caught up with co-founder and editor Rachel Taylor as the team launches Vol 9: The Wilderness Volume, having undergone a complete re-design.
Rachel, what does it mean to be Wild?
…For me, to be wild is to embrace our natural tendencies and live in harmony with the natural world.
Is technology helping us to forge a new relationship with the Wild?
Interesting question! It seems counterintuitive but I think the answer is probably yes. More than any other reason, I think it’s because social media allows us to find a tribe of likeminded people and to feel part of a community, as well as offer us exposure to activities, events and places we may never have otherwise known about or felt compelled to explore.
“Special moments become hijacked by the need to Instagram it, or capture it for others to gratify through likes and general applause.”
Instagram is especially powerful, with city folk finding inspiration to head out into the wilds on a weekend or everyday people gaining the confidence to adventure further. The downside of course is that special moments become hijacked by the need to Instagram it, or capture it for others to gratify through likes and general applause.
I was also recently told that adventure-inspired social media content of this kind is actually causing environmental degradation in some places because people aren’t concerned by their impact on the local nature, but only with capturing the perfect image which is extremely sad to hear. So I guess there are positives and negatives as with most things.
What has been your most memorable moment in the Wild?
Gah, this is a tricky one. Most recently it would have to be this crazy hike in Romania when we ended up trudging through waist deep snow for 14 hours, until finally reaching a cabin set in the middle of a remote wilderness. It was an unexpectedly hard day and we were exhausted by the end of it; but without the snow we wouldn’t have got to see all the bear, wolf, deer, chamois and other wildlife tracks. The large carnivores were particularly incredible. When we woke the next morning in the cabin, there was a fresh set of wolf tracks only a few metres from the door! Such a buzz to be within an ecosystem like that.
What’s your favourite way to travel?
I love the adventure of all travel but the responsibility is equally as important as the pleasure. I always try and travel as responsibly as possible, with consideration for both my environmental and social impacts. The impacts of air travel for example are no secret, but if I have to travel by plane I try to opt for an airline that allows me to make my flight carbon neutral.
“It’s great to support local entrepreneurs who are positively contributing to their community and the surrounding environment”
There’s also the local impact. It’s great to support local entrepreneurs who are positively contributing to their community and the surrounding environment, so thinking about where I stay and the food I eat is a biggy.
Then there’s my impact on the local environment; even a modest amount of research and common sense can go a long way and we try to follow the usual stuff we’d do at home; like always keeping a reusable water bottle on us or even our Keep Cups.
Patagonia are your publishing partner and are well known champions of sustainable culture in business – what did you learn by working with them?
They taught us that sustainable business practice is an ever-ongoing process and that there’s always more to do and improve upon. It’s only in recent years that Patagonia have begun creating Fair Trade apparel and through this they are attempting to shift an industry paradigm. They prove that the power of business can be used for social and environmental change and that’s incredible if you think about it. They’ve also shown us to lead by example, and to do what you can to create a better world. Patagonia are incredibly inspiring and it’s amazing to get to work with them.
Why did you begin Another Escape?
Another Escape began as a bit of a passion project for Jody and I and it soon became clear that our stories resonated with likeminded people. Although our niche has tightened over the years, we’ve always aimed to be a source of inspiration by telling stories of passionate people. As we gained more interest and readers the more the publication evolved. We are constantly considering how we can create a better product and a more thoughtful reading experience, and how we can create the most interesting and engaging stories.
What makes it so important for these stories to be shared?
Our stories focus on the triumphs of everyday people who have followed their passion and fostered a personal relationship with the natural world in some way. These lesser told stories tend to be more inspiring and insightful than those typically found in the press, it’s great to offer insight into other people’s way of living and so our readers can take away something they can apply to their own lives. A large part of that is challenging people’s perceptions and featuring the unexpected.
“We want to gain insight into other people’s way of living and to take away something they can apply to their own lives”
In the latest volume we have a conservationist discuss the problems and necessities of separation between humans and wilderness; we have a palaeoecologist broaden our understanding on what ‘wilderness’ actually means; we have a feature on mule packing in the Montana outback; and we have a story on rewilding the European bison in Romania. Each very different, but equally insightful and informative.
Has there been a story that particularly resonates with you?
Many of them have been meaningful to us in many different ways. We learn so much from the people we meet and it’s incredible to gain new perspectives on life through these encounters. It has influenced both my lifestyle and worldview, which is incredible.
The trick is then bottling that meaningful moment and translating it on the page for others to enjoy and be impacted by too. Hopefully our readers feel as though we do this successfully.
For me personally, people whose stories have resonated most with me would have to be: Charlie Ryan who we worked with in The Natural World Volume last year and his incredible journey and set of personal ethics that he’s translated into setting up Sticky Rice Travel; Jasmine Dale who we featured in The Great Outdoors Volume as part of a wider feature on Lammas Ecovillage in West Wales, whose general approach to life and design was incredibly inspiring; and Stef Roberts who is featured in The Wilderness Volume, who challenged the concept of home through living in a hammock out in the woods. But really, everyone we feature is incredible in some way.
You can buy a copy of the latest and greatest volume of Another Escape here.