Julie Baumgardner is a writer, editor and journalist who’s spent nearly 15 years covering all aspects of art, design, culture and travel. As a native of Manhattan who’s explored over 40 countries, she has reported on most areas of culture from hidden estates of Europe to treetop hotels in Africa to the insider art scenes of Asia. Julie’s work has been published in Bloomberg, Cultured, Financial Times, New York Magazine, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.
What does a journey mean to you?
Well, it’s been said that “life’s a journey, not a destination”, so a journey is more a process or a practice than an accomplishment, in my mind. It keeps the door open, so to speak, for adventure, connection and continual input. Back when I was very young, those of us who wander would adamantly say, “we are travellers, not tourists”, and now it feels like those who take travelling to heart say, “we are taking journeys,” as a way to deepen the connection to a place and keep the possibility of exchange open. I appreciate any gesture away from consumption or extraction instead towards contribution.
Which country or location most inspires you?
There’s been a place in every region of the world (ok I’ve not been to the Poles! Too cold!) that both lifts and flattens me in that unexpected way that is often called inspiration. I do not believe in the concept of favourites, but the sunsets of Senegal (and the people of all of West Africa), the peaks of Peru, and the vigour of Vietnam have rendered me at a loss for words, instead filling me with so much feeling.
Where would you go back to and why?
There is nowhere quite like Fire Island (New York), Accra (Ghana), Île-de-Bréhat (France) and Kyoto (Japan) that will forever beckon me to return. I find that one should often go back somewhere because of the people who inhabit there, but natural beauty or cultural cool is also never a bad excuse either.
What journey would you most like to go on?
Oh wait, did you peek at my 15 flight alerts for Ulaanbaatar? I will not rest until I ride horseback across the Gobi (and if I could then commandeer my steed straight into Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, then back onto the Silk Road down to Iran… Who’s joining!?)