Another Escape | Changing things up: our new chapter

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Another Escape is an independent media company championing outdoor lifestyle, environmental stewardship and regenerative living. We encourage people to connect with the natural world in meaningful ways so they may become active stewards of our planet.

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journal / A New Chapter

Changing things up: our new chapter

Another Escape is evolving. And we'd love to have you along for the journey as we enter a new chapter.

The Short Read:

In the wake of 2020, after much reflection, we’ve decided to evolve Another Escape. Instead of producing a biannual publication, we’ll be publishing a book and launching a podcast in 2021 alongside complementary digital content. With our refocussed mission (read below) and our ambition to create more impact, we want our content to have greater reach, greater accessibility and more permanence and legacy. This is why we’ve chosen these mediums. We’re still figuring out the path ahead, but are super thankful for your support on our journey so far and hope that you’ll be along for the ride as we head into this exciting new chapter.


The Long Read:

We tried to keep this concise. We failed. Here’s the long read.

We’ve been sitting with this for a short while, just to make sure it felt right: excitingly, we’ve decided to evolve Another Escape.

At the beginning of 2020, we began examining our editorial messaging and format, and then the pause of the pandemic allowed us time and space for further reflection. We asked ourselves, why is it that we do what we do? And we answered, we want to inspire people to get outdoors and foster a connection to nature so that they feel driven to protect it and become active stewards of our planet. Sound.

Truth be told, us founders, Rachel and Jody, reached the end of 2019 feeling pretty damn low about the state of the world – about the climate and ecological crises. It all sat really heavy with us – it still does. We seriously questioned, in the grand scheme of things, is what we do futile? Are our messages making any difference? Are they urgent enough? Serious enough? Activist enough? And really, how can we project positivity and optimism without ourselves feeling positive or optimistic about the future?

As we contemplated these questions, we began work on The Nourishment Volume. And it was a bloody good job we did. Looking through the lens of this theme, we started to see things differently. Positively and optimistically again. How do we nourish ourselves, our lands and our communities, both human and biotic?

All living beings require some form of nourishment. And we began considering the cyclical nature of this. The collaborative nature of this. The collaborative nature of all life. And how interconnected our species is with others. How dependent we are. How interdependent all species are. Life is one big give and take. And this underpins nourishment. Without microbes, we can’t digest food. Without plants, we can’t breathe. Without fungi, there would be no soil. Without living soils, there’d be nothing to eat. And so on.

Back at the end of 2019, when we were feeling pretty crappy, a big source of our anguish came from feeling guilty for being human – for being the species decimating the planet and upsetting the balance established over aeons of time. Understandable, right? So many people share this feeling, to the point that sometimes people look away. It’s too painful to watch. To acknowledge. There’s no blaming anyone for that, for shielding themselves from the deep-felt grief associated with all that loss.

In the great big give and take of life, today us humans take, take, take. But what we at Another Escape realised in the making of The Nourishment Volume is we can give as well. We needn’t feel guilty for being human, because we can positively contribute to nature’s reciprocal relationships. We can nourish ourselves, our lands and our communities, remarkably, all at the same time. It’s just today, we often don’t. And many of us don’t know how to because our culture and societies champion a way of life that isn’t at all nourishing, not to us, other beings or the planet as a whole. We’re conditioned to operate in unhealthy ways, fixated on our human systems and often blind to the living systems that govern our world. It’s not really any one person’s fault. But we are each complicit with our often-unwitting participation.

The question became, how can we give? How can we find nourishment while also nourishing others? We began listing answers to this and were flooded with positivity, optimism and, importantly, hope. Hope for the future. Hope that individually and collectively, if we changed the dynamic of our relationship with nature, from one of take, take, take to one that’s reciprocal, that not only can we positively deal with the crises we face but also we can address the root of the problem – our broken, one-directional relationship with the rest of the living world. Excellent.

So this is the journey we went on this year. But it doesn’t end there (sorry dear reader, there’s more). We arrived at two decisions. First, this nourishment theme, and all related subject matter, was so important that it should govern all future Another Escape content. Second, we retired the word sustainability. Not only does the word feel pretty meaningless these days, but it also feels pretty useless. It feels static, stale, lacklustre. Our ambition with Another Escape is not to inspire maintenance of the status quo. It’s about positive change. About stewardship. About regeneration.

We became pretty captivated by the notion of regeneration. In a word, it surmises giving back, contributing positively to nature’s reciprocal relationships and actioning the corrective solutions we need to set our culture and societies on a new course. How exciting, we thought. And our hope mounted.

After lockdown lifted, we began collecting stories on people who are striding ground in regenerative ways of living, being, thinking and working as well as inspiring others to foster their own meaningful connection with the living world. As the content came together, we could see how powerful these stories are and how impactful their messages could be. And what’s more, we could feel a groundswell for change and an appetite for media content of this nature, particularly, it seems, amid the perspective-shifting pandemic.

It’s worth noting that at the beginning of 2020, as we reviewed the editorial format of the publication as well as the feedback given in last year’s reader survey, we decided to change things up and create long-form feature stories with complementary articles and how-tos. We wanted to offer our readers a more in-depth understanding of subject matter as well as the opportunity to learn how to integrate the teachings of the people we featured into their lives. This is what you guys told us you wanted. So this is what we set about doing.

After the tribulations of navigating various national and local lockdowns and restrictions, by mid-October, we finally had our stories together for the new volume. We looked at it all and smiled, pretty pleased with ourselves. And then we looked again. Crikey. This was never all going to fit in one volume.

It took one of our regular contributors to help us realise what we were really looking at: a book. Wow, a book. We’d always wanted to create a book. And here it potentially was, laid out in front of us, in all the beautiful long-form text and captivating visual stories and good ideas and great intentions. But a book? What an insane idea. What a daunting endeavour.

Like any small business – scratch that, like any business – 2020 has forced us to assess things. This year hasn’t been bad for our business, nor good. Just so so, despite not being able to publish to our usual schedule. But with the world turning topsy turvy, new perspectives were thrust upon us. Interestingly, we’d always measured our success by the benchmarks of a typical business. Profits, sales, engagement and so on. Just for fun, just as a hypothetical, we asked ourselves, what if we measured our success not by profit but by impact. How grossly altruistic of us, you may think. And it’s true, we still have to pay bills and put food on the table. But we challenge you to find anyone who, this year, hasn’t looked at their life and/or work with a critical eye and considered how they can draw more meaning from it. And to us, positive impact is meaningful.

So we played out the hypothetical. We read the reviews you guys have sent us, the emails telling us how our humble publication has inspired new ways of seeing and living and studied the surveys we’ve conducted over the years. We proved “successful” by this new measure. But how could we have more impact? How could we affect more people? Reach is one factor. Frequency another. Accessibility. Legacy and permanence. As we pondered this, we reflected on one of our biggest obstacles. Bandwidth. Any small business owner will recognise this issue. We have a very small operation and an even smaller team.

We scratched our heads. What if we worked with an established book publisher? We’ve always self-published, but with a book publisher, not only is there the potential for greater reach – ergo greater impact – but it would free up our small team from running the whole show, the operations, the customer service, the distribution, the accounts, etc., and would allow us to do what we do best: make content. Because, really, we are content creators. And we’re bloody good at telling impactful stories and crafting inspirational content, if we do say so ourselves.

Another point in the “book” column was, although we’ve always crafted stories to be evergreen and timeless, there’s something more permanent about a book. And permanence is something we think is important. Permanence and legacy. The content we’ve already crafted is incredibly considered and involved and to us was beginning to look like a handbook, of sorts, for a new kind of activist, one not on the frontlines of protests or lobbying for policy change, but someone who is actioning and embodying stewardship, reciprocity and regeneration. This “handbook”, in our minds, couldn’t be something that has a shelf life. Because these stories, these messages, these ways of seeing and interacting with the world will be as important in years to come as they are today.

So?
Reach. Check
Impact. Check.
Legacy. Check.

We were sold on this book idea.

But what about frequency and accessibility?

A book, even if turned into a series, wouldn’t equate to a higher frequency. But with us content creators freed up to… well… create content, we could channel our energies into new modes of storytelling. We landed on creating a podcast. This satisfied both frequency and accessibility – we could put out episodes regularly, and there’d be no paid entry point. Free content to help build momentum and contribute to a movement for change. Another reason we chose this medium is we believe there are so many exciting conversations to be had around nature connection, environmental stewardship, regeneration and ecological communities, and those conversations sometimes need to be just that, conversations.

We were sold on this podcast idea.

In addition, we want to create more digital stories to share with our community. We’ll never turn our backs on text and image – this is where our hearts lie. But we’re also being mindful that as we venture down this new path, we need to be open to some experimentation, to allowing space for things to go awry and to allowing time to do things well. In the coming months, we’ll be concentrating on the book project and following that we plan to launch the podcast.

We want to thank all of you for your support so far – honestly, you guys are the reason why we continue to do what we do. We don’t exactly know what the path ahead looks like, but as we head into this new chapter, as we evolve into a media platform set on inspiring people to feel closer to nature and become active environmental stewards, as we build momentum and create touchpoints for the cultural change we need, we would love to have you along for the journey.

We want to take this opportunity to thank Patagonia for their continued support as we undergo this evolution, for believing in what we do and for having always measured our success by impact not metrics. It’s an absolute privilege to work with you.

If you believe in our vision and the work that we do then please support us. This could be as simple as sharing our content on social media, or posting a snap of your copy of Another Escape, or purchasing a volume from our back catalogue, or gifting one to a friend, or if you haven’t already, signing up to our newsletter.

Speak again soon!

Rachel & Jody, co-founders of Another Escape.

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