Wander Quarterly

Author's Notes
I wrote a trial letter for Wander's Quarterly, a box filled with items that epitomizes the Wander experience offline.

DEAR WANDERERS,

Do you remember how you used to experience your travels? Before the cultural dominance of the smartphone, we were limited to what we could put together ourselves. Photos, stories, journals with pages brimming — it's so easy to opt for convenience these days that we quickly forget that unique feeling of holding the memories we've created in our hands. I re-discovered this on one of my trips to rural Kanazawa, Japan, and was struck by how personal and intimate my little book could be.

Since then, I've tried to balance the digital and the analog, and so for this first Quarterly mailing, you'll find included a few items that will help evoke that distinct, personal, beautiful feeling that comes with piecing together your adventures.

HOLGA CAMERA & FILM

T.M. Lee's Holga toy camera took China by storm in the early 1980s, marketed as an easy, affordable way to capture important events. 30 years later, children and adults alike continue lusting after its dreamy, shadowy exposures and vignettes, reminiscent of past experiences and sometimes better times.

The Holga 120N is a modern take on Lee's creation and is just as simple and lo-fi as the original — its two aperture settings mean there are no frills, just pure photography. We've included it to remind you what photography pre-Instagram[1] was all about, from capturing exactly what you see to waiting to develop your roll of film.

[1] Instagram's Lo-fi filter emulates cross-processed Holga film, with none of the individuality you'll get from using the real thing.

BLACKWING PENCILS

Often called the best pencil ever made, Eberhard Faber's classic Blackwing 602 was manufactured from the 1930s until the late 1990s, and was the writing instrument of choice for the likes of author John Steinbeck and animator Chuck Jones[2] used to create some of their greatest works.

Under popular demand, California Cedar Products resurrected it last year as the Palomino Blackwing 602 with the same characteristics that have become its trademark[3]. With a strong tip that won't break on your first stroke, you can take these pencils anywhere. Creatives have sworn by them for decades, using them to mark up some of the most iconic works of our time.

[2] Fun fact: You know that pencil Paul Kinsey uses in Mad Men? Yep, it's a Blackwing 602.
[3] Ok, so its eraser might be a different color but it still writes beautifully on every surface.

WASHI TAPE

Originally from Japan, washi tape is the beautiful Japanese equivalent of masking tape. It's typically (but not always) made from from paper mulberry branches that have been beaten into a pulp and formed into paper. It can be used for a number of activities ranging from Ikebana (flower arrangement) to Origami, and it's generally regarded as a cultural icon from the land of the rising sun. Made to be very durable thanks to the intricate and somewhat harsh conditions it's created in, Japanese farmers typically manufacture it in the winter due to the need for pure, cold running water.

Japanese culture is something you won't find outside of Japan that often, which is part of what makes this tape special. The reminder of a culture so distant, yet engaging, serves to keep that passion for travel and adventure alive.

WANDER SCOUT NOTEBOOK

Most known literati and artists kept a journal to record the things that inspired them. In the past, before the advent of social media, this was a very personal experience, and it could be argued that as a result the influence was that much stronger. Many of the works created by these artists were directly influenced by their experiences — Ernest Hemingway and Jack Kerouac both carried journals to document their travels. In their respective times, who's to say their intimate verbal reconstructions weren't influenced by their written memories?

This Scout Notebook is provided with the same intentions. The places and things that inspire us are not a one-time drug, recording them is an acknowledgement that there's always more. It's good to continue that same line of dreaming that pushed us all to explore in the first place — take this and store the adventures that define you.

[1] "I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted." — Jack Kerouac, Dharma Bums

The items contained in this box are more than just a means to document your adventures — they're your passport, your personal invitation to explore what lies beyond the world you know. Use them as an inspiration to wander the unknown, as a reminder that you are never lost, but merely on the road less traveled.

Be proud of your voyages and enjoy the journey.