I was just thinking about how my magazine subscriptions have changed or evolved over the years, decades really. It starts with some young sports-minded kid magazines like Sports Illustrated (before they even had a swimsuit issue), and later perhaps Playboy, (though I never subscribed myself). Then soon after college graduation came “Money” magazine, as I learned to invest via both printed material and night classes at Fresno City College.
The financial magazines were a priority during the early years of raising a family, and saving for my children’s college. I rapidly expanded into both the Wall Street Journal, obviously not a magazine, Forbes, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
Then as hobbies and sports grew in interest, both as a family, and as an individual, the Ski, Tennis and Golf magazines, several of each I might add, filled the mailbox. Also along the way, a myriad of professional trade journals in the health care field were both required and helpful to one’s career and profession.
Along the way, there were a few weirdo magazines. One such periodical was Mother Jones. I was talked into a subscription by my ski buddies in Colorado. First of all, it is a terrible name for a magazine. Second, the articles are/were rather eclectic in nature. The current issue features articles like, “Do Sex Traffickers Really Target the Super Bowl”, and “Conservatives Don’t Want You to Eat Pro-Abortion Girl Scout Cookies”. I don’t know what I was thinking at the time!
As the years have gone by, my interest turned to travel. I started with the basics, like Budget Travel from Art Frommer. Over the years, I have or still subscribe to:
Conde’ Nast Traveler
Lonely Planet Traveller (sic)
National Geographic Traveler
Sunset (not really a true travel magazine)
Travel and Leisure
My personal favorite is National Geographic Traveler. The others have generally been subscribed to on a trial basis, particularly when they offer cheap introductory subscriptions, like 6 issues for $6. The problem with most of them, as you can imagine, is the plethora of advertisements, and the dearth of real travel information. They, like Money magazine, tend to recycle the same places or articles each year or two. Much of this information comes free, online.
However, the problem with online travel information is the thematic limitation. In other words, the emails tend to focus on a particular type of trip (cruises, or islands), or a specific region. My preferences, since I am mostly in search of ideas and inspiration, are to get a broad look at travel destinations, while reading about two or three destinations in greater detail.
Lately, I have migrated over to the Cycling magazines, again mostly for ideas on equipment, training, diet, and destinations. Again, there is no shortage of advertisements, with just a few articles in between. Furthermore, the articles tend to be quite short, and perhaps not as exhaustive as I would like. Again, online seems to be the place, though they are generally focused on the company sponsoring the article or website.
I am certain I have missed a few dozen. But the thrill of receiving the magazine, and anticipating its contents keeps me interested and hopeful. They are helpful, for the ideas they help create. One specific trip that I made, due to a magazine article and its great photography, was to Antelope Canyon in northern Arizona. The slot canyons are something I never thought about until I read the article.
But mainly, just keep reading, and talking to people. On our first trip to Bangkok, we met an enthusiastic and friendly young man at a noodle counter, who suggested we visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia. A year later, we were there. It might have been the single best trip of a lifetime. Ideas, from people, magazines, or online, it tends not to matter. Give them all a chance, and you will never regret your decision to go.