BLOG : TRAVEL

State x State

By Tom Ran

Published: June 30, 2014 under Travel

Mazama Wares, The Good Flock, Tanner Goods, and Woodblock Chocolate in the debut Oregon State Box.

Photo: State x State

Back in 2003 Sufjan Stevens set out an ambitious project, to produce an album for each of the 50 states. He debuted the project with his home state of Michigan, a critically acclaimed album and commercial success (by indie standards). He then followed up with Illinois in 2005. And then, nothing. That was as far as he got.

Long have the 50 states been a theme for many projects whether they become a success or not. The wonder of travel, the diversity in landscape and the uniqueness of each region is a captivating topic that sees no end.

This summer a new project will debut that revisits this theme. State x State is a destination for curated products and travel inspiration. Think of it as a guide to each of the states from a local’s perspective. They have been building a network of creative types ranging from designers and artists to craftspeople and restauranteurs to highlight shops, restaurants, bars, and events. Additionally, State x State will collaborate with designers and curators to produce State Boxes. Each box will be assigned a state and feature products from independent and established heritage brands. They’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the research, and to produce and print each of the travel guides. With just 24 days left to go, they’re approaching their goal. Help them achieve what Sufjan Stevens wasn’t able to achieve and make this one of the successful 50 states projects.

Read More

Amtrak Writers Residency

By Tom Ran

Published: February 25, 2014 under Travel

A postwar ad for the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Photo: The Paris Review

Traveling on the train like flying on a plane had its greatest moments in the past. It was luxurious, it was comfortable, and most of all it was pleasant. Or at least that’s what it appeared to be. As passengers continue to choose other travel options, Amtrak has had to market their trips as a romantic experience. Relying on imagery of grand vistas of the American west and moments to enjoy them through the comforts of your seat.

Amtrak has now come up with a new marketing program. It recently launched an experimental residency after writer Alexander Chee revealed in an interview that he enjoyed writing on trains. Chee mentioned that it would be great if the train system would offer residencies for writers. The news was picked up and circulated through social media outlets. Amtrak found the idea so appealing that they acted on it and test ran the program in January. They awarded the first spot to writer Jessica Gross. The trip took her from New York to Chicago and back. The result was a piece she wrote for The Paris Review blog. Amtrak plans to make an official announcement about the program soon. But New Yorker reports that it will offer two spots a month with Alexander Chee invited to participate in May. (via LA Times and Friends of Type)

Read More

Guided by Cereal

By Tom Ran

Published: January 16, 2014 under Travel

Folk is one of the shops featured in Cereal magazine's Guided.

Photo: Cereal Magazine

Researching a city before you travel can be a daunting task. Some may enjoy the process, but for many of us, it would be preferred if someone you trusted just handed you a document with the best places to visit, shop, eat and stay. Cereal Magazine has established itself as a purveyor of taste when it comes to food and travel. Like a reliable friend, when they recommend something, we pay attention. They recently launched Guided, a subscription based travel guide that shares the same aesthetic as their publication. For 20£ a year you’ll have unlimited access to their guides. Ten cities around the world are currently available including Manhattan, London, Paris, Hong Kong, Bristol, Austin, and Vancouver with ten more guides to be added this year. They also offer a pdf download version just in case you’re offline while abroad. As a preview to the service, they’ve offered the London guide for free.

Read More

Amsterdam - Property Of...

By Tom Ran

Published: August 14, 2013 under Travel

City Guide #2 Water City

We’ve said it before, a local’s perspective is far more illuminating than any guidebook can offer when you’re traveling. And if your plans are to travel to Amsterdam anytime soon, then you may want to check out Property Of…’s new travel site. They’ve created a city guide for Amsterdam, where their flagship shop is located. After being approached by visitors numerous times for recommendations on places to visit, they decided to launch the site from an insider’s perspective. They just released their second video that takes us through Amsterdam via their canals and points of interest just outside the city. This guide is perfect for those who plan to visit before the summer months come to an end.

Read More

Yonder Journal

By Tom Ran

Published: July 10, 2013 under Travel

Yonder Journal

Photo: Yonder Journal

We’ve caught ourselves fantasizing about a road trip through the west whenever we come across a photo of a misty mountain or an endless dirt road that disappears into the horizon. However, more often than not these moments are brief. The newly re-launched Yonder Journal does an exceptional job at evoking these emotions but rather than a fleeting thought it takes hold of them and inspires you to go forth.

Yonder Journal gathers a group of adventure seekers, sportsmen, and documentarians. It describes itself as an “exploration of American Frontiers and Western Principles.” We simply think it’s the best digital publication to emerge this year. The stories will take you to the outer reaches or North America and into the wilderness via $35k hunting adventures, secret swimming holes, and epic bike trips. Features are designated into three sections, Studies, Guides, and Briefs all of which are captured through beautiful photography. Many stories are underwritten through sponsorships while others are independently funded. Though it’s a digital publication, the Journal has set up annual subscriptions for various informative collectibles that include, guides, maps, water bottles, prints and other useful items, all of which will motivate you to go forth on your own adventure.

Read More

San Francisco

By Tom Ran

Published: April 30, 2013 under Travel

San Francisco

Photo: Freunde von Freunden

We just returned from a 10 day trip out to California – traveling up the coast starting in LA and ending it off in San Francisco. Life on the road tend to be idealized due to the fact that your everyday worries are set aside and this trip was no different. San Francisco was especially enjoyable with the weather hovering around the 60’s. Natural beauty was in abundance mixed with urban density that we New Yorkers are so familiar with. Ocean and forest are easily accessible by a three hour drive south to Big Sur or even less by going just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Read a little bit of what we experienced in today’s Freunde von Freunden Journal where they explore the city through optimistic eyes.

Read More

FEATURES

Alya Kazakevich

By Raven Keller
Alya Kazakevich in her shop in the Lower East Side

Photo: Rose Callahan

On a damp and muggy summer morning on the Lower East Side, Alya Kazakevich slowly stitched up the edges of a leather coin purse and recalled her childhood in Eastern…

 Read More

Workstead

By Tom Ran
Partners Robert Highsmith and Stefanie Brechbuehler

Photo: Samuel Bristow

Stefanie Brechbuehler and Robert Highsmith, are the partners behind Workstead. The two met at Rhode Island School of Design while studying architecture and opened their studio in 2009,…

 Read More

M.Nii John Moore

By Tom Ran
M.Nii Tailor, Waianae, Hawaii 1959

Photo: Tom McBride

The photo is one of the few relics that remain of M.Nii’s history. An image that recalls the golden age of American surf culture. Three friends in front…

 Read More