ATA Partners with Charleston’s Post and Courier Editor-in-Chief on a new travel initiative
Last summer, Autumn Phillips, Editor-in-Chief of the Post and Courier, called and asked us to help her launch a travel program for Post and Courier subscribers and their friends and family. Autumn is an accomplished writer and traveler—visiting places as varied as the pyramids of Sudan, the peak of Mount Cameroon and the winter trails of Kyrgyzstan on horseback. We knew right away that the trips she envisioned would be anything but ordinary! We caught up with Autumn recently to learn more.
ATA: How did you conceive of the travel program for Post and Courier readers?
Autumn: I’ve been a newspaper editor for 20 years and, except for a three-month trip to Ethiopia in 2013, I’ve perfected the art of the two-week vacation. It allows me to fit the most adventure into a life while managing a busy career. Earlier this year, I asked myself, “what do I want out of life?” and “what do I uniquely have to offer the world?” The answer was that I want to write, travel, and use both to build community. In the context of the newspaper,
I proposed to take our readers traveling around the world and teach them how to write about their experiences. At the same time, with the business model of journalism rapidly changing, this is a chance to offer something entirely new to our readers, taking the conversations we are having in the newspaper out into the world.
ATA: What criteria do you have for selecting destinations that will resonate with a Charleston-based audience?
Autumn: Charleston has a rich intellectual life. We love literature. We are deeply interested in history and historic preservation. We live on the water, and it gives us an appreciation of nature. And we love a good conversation; Charleston is a very social city. For the first round of trips, we chose five places that complement those things well – Cuba, Ireland / Northern Ireland, Cambodia, Morocco, and Rwanda.
(Full descriptions of these trips can be found at Post and Courier Travels.)
ATA: Can you describe what you hope your readers take away from these trips?
Autumn: For me, writing has deepened all my travels. It makes me notice details, ask questions, and listen closely. It keeps a trip from slipping through my fingers when I get home, because I get a chance to examine it closely as I write about it. I’m excited to share that same experience with our readers. And for those travelers who are interested, we will be creating a series of intellectual evenings in Charleston to build a community of people who share a curiosity about the world.
ATA: Where do you think your wanderlust came from?
Autumn: I did not grow up traveling. But I grew up in Wyoming, and that place is all about heading into the mountains for an adventure. I took my first international trip when I was 22 and bought a three-month round-trip ticket to Nairobi. Within my first hour in that city, I met a retired real estate developer from London who had been driving around Africa for years, golfing. He was an incredible traveler and adventurer. I traveled through Kenya and Uganda with him for a month, seeing the mountain gorillas and learning how to travel smart and fun.
By the time I came home after three months in those countries, I was a changed person. I wanted different things out of life and my orientation to the world had shifted. Travel—done thoughtfully—can continually reorient you in a constantly changing world. It has helped me heal in hard times and kept me feeling awake. There’s no greater gift that I can give someone than that experience.
To read more about The Post and Courier’s offerings, visit Post and Courier Travels.