There was a certain sense of excitement in the air last week when the Miir Flagship in Fremont was nearing capacity. A few dozen friends, writers, and co-workers turned out to celebrate the release of the fourth issue of Voyage UW, a student travel magazine.
This would be the first issue that restricted itself to a single aspect of student travel, calling itself the “perspective issue.” It showcases diversity in student travel experiences and highlights remarkable student stories that would otherwise likely go unpublished and unshared.
After three issues of general travel magazine content submissions, UW student and editor-in-chief of Voyage UW, Jayna Milan, began yearning for something more focused and interesting.
“We see a giant leap in content from the first three issues to this one,” Milan said, noting how the magazine is populated with work submitted by UW students. “I was sick of writing the same travel memoirs.”
If the goal was to showcase the diversity of student travel, the small presentations given by the dozen-or-so students whose work made it into the fourth issue were central to understanding the significance of the magazine.
Adriana Ortiz spent 24 days across eight cities in India, working with local women’s entrepreneurship and leadership groups as well as a couple of service projects. Ortiz’ focus was on how to make a good impact when participating in “voluntourism,” or volunteer-tourism.
Other contributors began opening up one-by-one about their experiences and what they wrote in front of eager eyes, half-empty goblets of local craft beer, and a palpable aura of happiness.
Jack Russillo, whose piece was aptly titled “Unmasking Pride,” explored the uniqueness and difficulty of travelling as a queer person and a white male, especially to non-Western parts of the world where queerness adds a layer of complication.
Agatha, an undocumented student at the UW and a DACA recipient, had a particularly unique take on travel that engaged the crowd in an abnormally high amount of questions. Her writing focused on privilege, her experience with not being able to travel because of her undocumented status, and dealing with a unique anxiety surrounding airports.
Max Rose gave the audience much-needed comic relief when he spoke about his experiences traveling as someone who suffered from occasionally crippling anxiety which is aggravated by the experience of travelling.
He sees himself more as an essayist, but could not pass up the opportunity to write about traveling in Nicaragua to see his brother in the Peace Corps. For the first time, Rose will soon be travelling on his own and is more grateful than anxious about it.
“I’m very privileged to have the opportunity to study in Rome,” Rose said. “It’s going to be my first chance to dip my toes in the water as an individual in a foreign place.”
Other magazine articles featured adventourism and solo traveling, volunteering in impoverished locations, exploring feminism in Cambodia, participating in international reporting in the face of government crackdowns on the press, and various explorations of whiteness and racial identity.
In all, the fourth issue effectively showcased the unsung perspectives of student travel, and the sheer volume of diversity present at the release party seemed to signal success.
After giving a warm thanks to the editors who had helped build the magazine out of thin air a little over two years ago, Milan encouraged interested audience members to attend “An American Ascent,” a documentary screening that Voyage UW is hosting Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center Theatre.
Voyage’s upcoming spring issue focuses on food and will be taking submissions for “all forms of storytelling, including travel essays, poetry, recipes, and photography” up to the midnight deadline on Feb. 23.
You can buy a copy of issue four for $7 at their Kickstarter page.
Reach writer Zackary Bonser at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ZackaryBonser