The New Traveler: A Letter from Editor in Chief Pilar Guzmán

Vía Condé Nast Traveler.

Around our offices, the most abiding litmus test for a story is "Does it make you want to jump on a plane?" Sounds easy enough, though you would be surprised at how many seemingly sound story ideas hit the cutting-room floor because of their failure to deliver on the flutter factor.

These days, we are all transported dozens of times a day by the Pavlovian stroke of an index finger across a tiny mobile screen; we scroll from a perfect latte in Portland, to a snow-covered mountain face in the French Pyrenees, to a bowl of pho in Hoi An, in a span of seconds. Social media, with its raw immediacy and pith, has raised the authenticity bar for all content makers, inspiring us to be ever more transparent, personal, and up-to-the-minute in print and digital.

And at a time when you can Google Image just about every natural or man-made wonder in the world, it's our job to constantly evolve our visual language and storytelling style so that it allows readers to see the same beaches, zebra herds, and architectural marvels with fresh focus. We balance the iconic and enduring with the impassioned and immediate, factoring in a vastly changed travel landscape—these days a restaurant or art opening is as good a reason as any to book a trip. As you browse through this month's issue, you will notice that it looks different, starting with the cover, an arresting image by Inez and Vinoodh. We've inverted the magazine's traditional framing from far-flung locale with anonymous woman in the distance to full-frame global citizen Christy Turlington Burns with far-flung locale reflected in her lenses.

In many ways we are returning to our roots. When the magazine was launched in 1987 by Sir Harold Evans, its distinction in the travel category was marked as much by novel photography as by journalistic rigor. What other travel publication in 1987 would have run Helmut Newton's provocative picture of two women dining topless in a Berlin restaurant?

As for the rest of the issue, a redesign to us means changing not only the look of the pages but the way we find and tell stories in order to reclaim that element of surprise. We have used the opportunity to poke holes in every section and to question whether what we cover and how we cover it delivers on our twin promises of inspiration and service. Our aim is for the magazine, the Web site (about to relaunch, so please stay tuned), and our social channels to replicate the experience of getting the download from our most interesting, most well-traveled, most in-the-know friends.

Sometimes a truly memorable trip is the one when the unexpected happens, when you get lost in a good way. But spontaneity takes planning, gathering, and the collective wisdom of travelers you trust. Which is why many of the stories in this issue came out of casual conversations with photographers, writers, influencers, designers, and stylists who, in discussing potential assignments, shared snapshots from personal trips that caught our eye. It is precisely their passionate discoveries that together form an insider's guide which we hope speaks to the real needs of travelers. You see, we are less interested in any "definitive guide" than we are in the very specific adventures of discerning travelers. From photographer Dewey Nicks's visit to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, to Simon Romero's meditation on his adopted city, Rio, the common thread in all the stories is that they are deeply personal. As any great journey should be.

Pilar Guzmán, Editor in Chief

The New York Post: New editor realizes her vision of Condé Nast Traveler.

New York Observer: Pilar Guzmán Named EIC of Condé Nast Traveler.

El Mundo: Anna Wintour, el poder absoluto de la editora.

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