These literary travel magazines will make the perfect Christmas gift for the well-read travelers in your life.
The holidays are just around the corner. We’ve got you covered when it comes to holiday gifts for the travelers in your life, but there’s something else worth thinking about for well-read: a literary travel magazine. There has never been a better time to pick one up from an indie bookstore. With the resurgence of zines and analog photography, a number of new shops have popped up in cities such as Bath, Riga and Barcelona. Here is our guide to the best literary travel zines and where, in addition to the web, you can purchase them. Don’t see your favorite one on here? Let us know in the comments.
1. Benji Knewman
In Riga, the capital of Latvia is the headquarters of literary zine Benji Knewman, located north of the Moscow District near the Daugava River. The publication is very much indebted to the Latvian capital and is printed, we are told on the spine, “on the sunny side of the street.” Recent highlights include an essay on the Riga that never was and musings on a brand of Soviet chewing gum produced in Estonia by the Kalev confectioners. Self-described as a “bookazine,” Benji Knewman is well-produced and full of thoughtful details.
The website, rather cryptically, states that “Benji Knewman is a man, around 42 years old. He’s trying to be genuine, and it seems he sometimes manages.” But you would be better off visiting the Zuzeum on Lāčplēša iela and talking to the editor. Pick up a copy of the zine at the Zuzeum, or at one of their launch events. Alternatively, Riga has a number of gorgeous book shops, including Roberts, that specialize in English language books as well as playing host to seasonal book fairs.
2. Push Periodical
Push is a skateboarding and travel-themed zine that doesn’t really belong to just one place. Richard Hart, its founding photographer, spends his time traveling the world shooting skateboarders. Consequently, an average issue will rove between Europe and the U.S. as well as less explored skate destinations.
Push’s strengths lay in the connections the crew makes whenever they visit a new place, and each issue reflects the cities it covers by featuring local skateboarders, artists, photographers and writers. From short stories to Hart’s archive images the zine helps us dive into their world. The “sanity greatly helped by” section at the beginning of each issue is a highlight, and typically lists the music, reading, and snacks that helped get the issue to press.
As you might expect, Push can be picked up anywhere in the world. But try Palomino in London or FTC in Barcelona as first ports of call.
3. Kajet Journal
Kajet Journal, which describes itself as the place for “Eastern European encounters,” is on its fourth issue, each time putting out a brief and a call for submissions. Focusing on the post-Soviet countries, contributions range from thoughtful essays about utopian architecture to pieces on fake Adidas and counterfeit culture.
Based in Bucharest the writing shines a light on European countries and cities not often covered by mainstream travel publications. The many exciting scenes in Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet countries are brought to the fore, with contributions by people on the ground and in the know.
The website invites us to “Go East” and offers a range of well-designed t-shirts. But why not pick up a copy of the journal from one of Bucharest’s gorgeous bookstores? With its white spiral staircase and Instagrammable decor, Cărtureşti Carusel is surely one of Europe’s most striking. The 19th-century interior was formerly a bank, but after its 2015 restoration, it has become one of Bucharest’s top literary haunts.
Cereal is no doubt the best-known on this list. With clean white lines and beautiful fonts, Cereal is essentially a coffee table book for travel enthusiasts. The writing and photography, commissioned on an issue-by-issue basis, always stuns. Cereal gets the right people in for the job, and consequently, the end product is of a high standard.
You can pick up a copy in many places, but you should probably head to Bath, where the publication was founded. Magalleria on Broad Street is dedicated to indie publications and zines. stocking everything from South Korean skate mags to niche fashion publications. The shop is definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in travel zines.