Nowhere, An Online Literary Travel Magazine, Hopes To Go Somewhere

Porter Fox, a freelance writer whose resume includes articles for the The New York Times Magazine and Salon, launched <emNowhere, a literary travel magazine, on February 19th.

A quick perusal through the online journal shows it’s not a run-of-the-mill travel site. Entries are comprised of creative, long-format musings on a specific city or venue, illustrated with found objects or accented with audio accompaniment. Not a single Top Ten Travel Tidbits list is to be found.

“There’s nothing wrong with travel magazines,” says Fox. “[But] they’re very service oriented. There used to be much more of a mix of narrative and service. Very slowly it just started shifting over to service completely. There have to be these mentions of where to go to a spa, where to go to a hotel. Nowhere does not want to do that.”

Fox says the site offers a means of playing with how online content is presented, adding that the focus of Nowhere is to “experiment with a different medium and to also experiment with different ways to pay for it to publicize it to get it out there.”

So how does an experimental, long-format travel journal that refuses to name the best place to get a couple’s massage in Bali make its money? Fox explains that the site accepts donations from readers and throws parties for publicity. Books written by Nowhere’s contributors are also available for sale through the site. Special editions of these books come embossed with “Nowhere Issue 1.”

The current goal, Fox says, is to make Nowhere a reader-sponsored site. By presenting his content online, he says he is more able to keep costs low and content creative.

“We’re trying one thing out at the time,” explains Fox, “and the overhead is so low relatively low for starting something like this, we have that freedom.”

It helps that Fox’s girlfriend, a web producer, was able to aid with setting up a template for the site for the more or less DIY venture. A “couple hundred” dollars on his card and hours and hours of planning later, Fox says he has already broken even.

As for the site’s contributors, Fox has been fortunate in that the writers he’s reached out to have been enthusiastic about writing for Nowhere.

Time will tell whether Fox’s business model will prove a successful way of circumventing the need for online ads, or whether media bloggers will lazily resort to making ill-advised jokes about “going Nowhere.”