My name is: Yolanda Edwards.
I’m known for being: A traveler!
I'm talking about: As a travel editor, I do talk a lot about travel, which for most of us means being away. We’re all much more open and curious when we’re outside of our routines and in a new environment. My goal for myself, and something I am often writing about, is to try to be in a travel state of mind, even when we’re at home or in very familiar places.
You can find my work at: I have a travel/lifestyle magazine called Yolo Journal, which comes out three times a year, and a newsletter called Yolo Intel, which comes out weekly.
Before I started this work, I was: The creative director of Conde Nast Traveler for many years and, before that, I worked at Martha Stewart Living, Cookie Magazine and W Magazine.
What inspired me to start this was: When I lost my job at Conde Nast, I decided I really needed to try to make the travel magazine I always wished existed. I knew there were so many interesting people out there, traveling in creative ways, and their stories were never surfaced. I wanted to bring those to life—to share stories of trips that had already happened—not assignments generated by editors sitting in tall office buildings. I wanted honest, personal travel recommendations from people who were super curious and creative.
What I do is: I talk to my friends, and their friends, and people I meet on Instagram, etc. about the places they have been that feel like a real discovery. The magazine is very photo driven, so I usually am talking to photographers, and then I pull out the story of why they were there and what they loved about it. The newsletter is much more service-oriented and not as visual. It’s about the hotel I just went to, a discovery along the road, travel agents that I think travelers should know about and deep dives on cities, road trips, itineraries. I do travel quite a bit (I’m up to 220 days this year, so far), but my focus isn’t to have the content be around my travels. Even if I was on the road every single day, there’s no way I can cover the world, so I look at my role as being the curator of other people’s stories.
What makes it special is: I’m not interested in what’s new, which is something that most travel magazines focus on. I just focus on what’s good—and that could be a great roadside coffee shop that’s been around for decades, but only ever received some small local press. I like to find the old school gems and shine a light on them.
One thing you can’t miss is: I always try to find an antique store or flea market wherever I go—I usually meet interesting characters who give me the scoop on what I shouldn’t miss.
My favorite secret detail is: I always look in the drawers to see if the hotel has stationary and, if they do, I’ll usually send a postcard to my parents or a letter on the hotel letterhead. Sometimes, I just write my notes on it about what I love and don’t about the property, and then that goes into a notebook when I get home. Also, if you want to check out a hotel that you aren’t staying in, you can always ask the front desk if there is any room that you can tour, and they’re usually very happy to show you.
For me, what it means to hold space is: We don’t have any room in our house that we don’t really spend a lot of time in, and I think that’s because our stuff that we love is everywhere. For me, holding space is claiming it as yours, really inhabiting it.
Our spaces are so important, especially in this time, because: We spend so much time in them, and we need them to be chameleons and creatively transform from what they might be in essence (a dining table in a kitchen) to the fantasy (a Greek taverna).
The energy of a space can help you live your process because: I surround myself with souvenirs from all over. These can be anything from a feather or a rock to worry beads I bought in Greece. Some would say that I live with clutter, but it’s what reminds me to be grateful for all the experiences I’ve had.