One by one, I scan every title in the travel section of a large and well-stocked bookshop. It’s a vibrant display that lines the walls from floor to ceiling. With so much before me, I’m certain I’ll find at least a few publications to help craft my travel memoir.
As I run my fingers through the covers of the world's literary landscapes, stretching from the smaller states to the larger destinations—from India to Uzbekistan, Madagascar to Mozambique—I discover almost every UN-recognised country. My excitement grows in anticipation, but it’s quickly overshadowed by an acute disappointment—there's nothing on offer about Pakistan.
"If it's not on our shelves, then it doesn't exist," the saleslady tells me as I search for the absent, unaware that it would one day lead me to pen this Editor's Letter.
Her polite yet matter-of-fact response feels like a firm dismissal of my own existence. As a Pakistan-born British resident and a journalist with pitches on Pakistan facing regular rejections by editors, this brief exchange further fuels my despondency.
It’s not because I don’t know how to pitch, but because my birth country appears to be indefinitely stereotyped as a dangerous territory with nothing to offer except mud huts and rifles. When you do find small precious snippets, they’re always filled with the same outsider perspective—like a camera lens that doesn’t quite zoom in beyond the surface and a snapshot that never reveals the full story.
Just like the successful community-based conservation of its majestic national animal, the Markhor Capra Falconeri, coming back from the brink of extinction, Pakistan too is re-emerging. They have equally impressive and fascinating histories ready to be told.
So, why was I waiting for others to give me a platform? As a product of the diaspora, with a hobby of collecting travel magazines, I knew we didn't need a one-off publication. Rather, an artistically presented periodical to sit majestically alongside other international titles. The fantasy demands lasting collectable physical editions, jam-packed full of inspirational photos and stories—perfect for flipping through a few pages at a time while sipping your afternoon chai.
Here it is: our first step towards that dream. And we’re pretty certain we’ll continue moving clumsily along this path to become a truly inclusive magazine.
It's been a relentless, emotional, and romantic journey for us as we have given each page our thoughtful care and attention— each word and image another preserving element of our identity. With unique bi-annual themes, balancing authenticity with modernity, we hope to upgrade those outdated versions of Pakistan with newer, fresher voices.
It may not be up to the mark in its infrastructure, but Pakistan is a chaotic yet energising wilderness full of wonders that is ready to welcome visitors, particularly adventurers.
Through our inaugural issue, Modern Adventure—a term that invokes images of undiscovered lands, lost worlds, and challenges into the unknown, which when explored define the very nature of who we are—we hope that we can shine a light on the less obvious, that is, the people, the lifestyle, the various cultures, and of course, the nation’s endless potential.
We seek to build connections and break down conventional news headlines, not just those present in the west, but even those present amongst Pakistanis about each other. As Canada-born actress Armeena Rana Khan was told by a director on set in Karachi to go back to her country, she recalls, "perhaps, it was at this moment that I felt ‘othered’" (page 32).
However, when travelling around Pakistan, the real adventure is found in interacting with the locals. In Kalasha Valley, writer and travel entrepreneur Jonny Bealby was moved by the incredible hospitality of its inhabitants (page 18).
In his search for a more thrilling quest towards the deep and elegantly narrow alpine regions, adventure traveller Julian Carnall finds himself ready to tackle the twisting tracks of Gilgit scattered with vertical drops in his tuk-tuk (page 36). This similar emotion drew divemaster, Mustafa Hasan, to the untouched Charna Island, where he shares underwater secrets with students of all ages (page 44).
So now, it's over to you. Do you think our magazine deserves to have a place on the shelves?
Anam Hussain, Founder and Creative Director
From the Modern Adventure issue 1 of Capra Falconeri Traveller Pakistan
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