I was born in the 50s, so magazines played a huge role in my life.
Of course, I cut my teeth on the magazines my parents always had around…Life, Reader’s Digest, Look, Mechanics Illustrated, Field and Stream, and the like.
As I grew up I started reading magazines that appealed more to my own interests…National Lampoon, Whole Earth Catalog, Backpacker, Guns & Ammo, Esquire, Black Belt.
These magazines literally shaped my life. They brought me in-depth stories about things that I really cared about, and they occupied big chunks of my time. They were meant to be read, re-read, referred to, discussed, referred to some more, re-read again…they were the repositories of critical and detailed information on the things I and my friends were most interested in, and we saved them like treasure.
Some of these magazines are still being published, and compared to the way we get much of our information today, their use must seem slow and difficult to younger generations…the long, information-dense stories actually have to be read and thought about.
These days we’re used to getting our news, information, and entertainment in high-speed, digital-aged bits and bites of text, audio, and video. We want our specific questions answered, our specific biases confirmed, or our specific funny bones tickled immediately so we can move on to the next tidbit as quickly as possible.
Call me old fashioned, but I’m glad I grew up in the magazine age, and I’m glad they’re still around, because I still like to dig in and get a well-rounded, detailed story about the things that interest me from a magazine I can hold in my hands and savor.
I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but International Living magazine wasn’t in my regular reading rotation…at least not until I met my wife, Suzan.
She’s the one who was a regular reader of the International Living stories about people living adventurous, affordable lives in exotic locations.
But as it turned out, that’s the magazine that changed my life more than any of the others. It gave Suzan the solid knowledge base about living, working, and retiring abroad that eventually led us to start doing it ourselves 15 years ago.
It’s been the best 15 years of my life, and I think Suzan would agree.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m no Luddite. I’m a huge fan of digital information, and “Have Laptop, Will Travel” is our unofficial motto. It actually makes our lifestyle of living and working abroad possible. And of course, there are now thousands of online resources about living overseas, including tons of online content from International Living. It’s never been easier to research the overseas lifestyle.
But we still read the magazine.
There’s something about getting the newest edition and settling in on the couch with it, flipping through it, checking out the table of contents, skimming the headlines, then digging in to the stories that beg to be read first.
We still do it…even though we moved abroad 15 years ago.
Having that magazine in my hands appeals to the thoughtful, deliberate, unhurried way I was raised to consume information. I can’t tell you how many happy afternoons and evenings I’ve spent like that, but I can tell you that I value every one.
If that makes me old fashioned, it’s a title I’ll gladly accept.
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