Interview with Sidetracked magazine

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Sidetracked Magazine is an online and printed journal featuring a limited collection of personal stories of adventure travel, journeys and expeditions.

We had the opportunity to chat with John Summerton, the founder and Editor of Sidetracked, and ask him a few questions about the magazine, adventure lifestyle and what the future holds.

 

1. How long have you been running Sidetracked? When was the magazine founded?

I started Sidetracked 5 years ago as a website project and then I moved to print in April 2014. It was at that point that Sidetracked became ‘real’ as opposed to a part time fun project.

 

2. What was your inspiration for starting the magazine, what was the drive behind creating it?

I’m a freelance graphic/web designer and have been for 14 years and at the time was pretty fed up with the work that I was doing. So Sidetracked became my escape from my day to day work and to almost live vicariously through these incredible adventures that we started featuring. I had no idea if it would be successful or not but I think you just have to believe in yourself and your decisions. I’m still a designer but work on Sidetracked for about 50-60% of my time now.

 

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3. Your content is always very detailed and often quite deep and emotive. How/where do you collect the stories, and how do you decide on which ones to publish

Tough question. Ok to start with, I would scour blogs and social networks and following ongoing adventures and expeditions and then email the guys and see if there was a story in there for us. It takes up huge amounts of time to do that. As our reputation has grown we now get many submission enquiries coming into us. Choosing is quite hard but we tend to focus on there being fantastic photography documenting the trip and a good, unique story. We’re not so keen on trip reports and rather look for an emotive story about an experience whilst on the adventure. Campfire storytelling I guess. Then our editors work with the writers to create the best possible story.

 

4. Along with the written content, the mag is full of great imagery. Do you have photographers who join the adventures, or do you rely on the shots provided by the people on the adventures themselves?

Nearly all of our content is post-expedition. So it’s more a case of there being some incredible photographers out there on the expeditions. Luckily for us!

 

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5. We love the fact that the magazine is printed, you can’t beat that tactile quality while reading, especially when it is about being outdoors surrounded by nature. However, with the ever increasing presence of online media channels and magazines, what keeps you driven to create the printed version? Would you ever consider just being an online publication?

No way. I love the print version. The website is and will always be the core of Sidetracked as that’s where we started but the print mag is such a treat to create. I love the feeling of the paper stocks and we get many comments about the smell of the inks too. The magazine is designed to be timeless and more like a coffee table book than a magazine. The print issues and website compliment each other really well and although we run different stories on the platforms, there is often a really nice crossover or extended content opportunities between the two.

 

6. What’s been your favourite story you have featured in the mag?

That’s impossible to answer. I really every story that we feature in print and it continually amazes me to read such diverse, well documented and produced content. I’m proud of the team and what we’ve accomplished.

 

Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel running the Drakensberg Grand Traverse, in the Drakensberg mountains, South Africa on 2nd February, 2014

 

7. Where would you like to see the magazine in the next 5 years?

Ha, move over National Geographic! Perhaps not in 5 years, but I would love for the brand to continue growing so we can keep sharing more of these incredible endeavours.

 

8. Do you get to go out on any of these wild experiences?

I luckily get out and about on a few short trips but none of the longer expeditions at the moment. Martin Hartley, our Director of Photography is often all over the world photographing and partaking in some fantastic adventures though.

 

9. If so… where/when is your next personal adventure?

We’re heading to Norway, the Faroe Islands and a couple of Scottish trips next year. Can’t wait!

 

10. Finally, when is the next issue due for release? Can you share any insights into the content?

The next issue is planned for February. We release three per year at roughly four month intervals. The content will be a usual eclectic mix of adventures covering the globe. I can’t give anything away just yet I’m afraid. Partly because we’re still planning.


Special Thanks to John Summerton for answering all our questions, the rest of the Sidetracked team for creating an awesome publication, and you the readers for supporting a great source of inspiration for adventure.

Photos from the Sidetracked Magazine website and Copyright is owned by the respective photographers.

Why not pick up the latest copy of Sidetracked online by visiting the link below.

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