It was a toss-up whether to feature on the cover of this, our third birthday edition, Latin pop queen Gloria Estefan against a dreamy Miami backdrop – or the Nepalese gent casually smoking a cigarette in his little shop, who smiled for me while in Kathmandu this summer.
I was buying Gloria’s music in my teens, when records were only made of vinyl and came in two sizes. Little did I know back then that such a global music icon would speak to me, decades later, about her incredible life story. She may have won seven Grammys and sold more than 100 million albums, but Gloria’s story is also one of struggle, pain, tears, and, most of all, overcoming the seemingly impossible – which in her case was breaking her back in a terrible accident 25 years ago.
Kathmandu was one of the most demanding yet rewarding press trips I’ve experienced to date. Must-see sights, eateries and venues were not delivered on a platter as they so often are. On the contrary, a considerable amount of research, time and genuine graft went into this issue’s City Focus article, which necessitated me spending a week in the capital of Nepal, quite literally scraping away layers of dirt to reveal the city’s beautiful underbelly.
Since we’re not Vanity Fair or Rolling Stone, Gloria got bumped from the cover by the gentleman you see now. But their stories send the same message – that where there’s a will there’s a way. Gloria miraculously walked and performed again after her paralysing accident. The Nepalese shopkeeper somehow survived the devastating Gorkha earthquake of two years ago and lived to smile for another annoying tourist.
In 2014 The Cultured Traveller was but an idea I dreamt up on a small beach in Cyprus. Somewhat bored by glossy holiday magazines full of irrelevant advertising and paid editorial, I was sure I could create something more slick, light-hearted and easy to absorb, without bombarding readers with clothing and jewellery ads in a travel publication.
Three years later here we are – going strong and every day getting a little better at what we do. I thank all of you, our readers, for the opportunity to meet the Gloria Estefans and Nepalese shopkeepers of this incredible planet we live on, and hope that you continue to enjoy reading The Cultured Traveller as much as we enjoy working on delivering it to you.