A couple of years before finishing elementary school I travelled to Nicaragua with my grandmother. The main goal of the trip was for us to meet my aunt’s husband’s family. A play-by-play talk of the trip would require a dedicated blog post at the very least, and perhaps I’ll write it at a later time. For the moment, though, what I want to talk about is how I essentially bumped into one of National Geographic’s magazines during the trip, and how I became a long time reader and subscriber.
The thing is that this trip was supposed to last for a week, but we enjoyed ourselves so much that we pushed our return flight for a week a couple of times. However, the school year worked differently in Nicaragua than in my home country, so during that last week I had no other kids to be around with. Because of that, one day we went to a nearby shopping center, where I got a copy of National Geographic and became immersed in it.
Perhaps it was an issue on space, Mars exploration, the Hubble telescope (I’ve always been interested in the cosmos), but the combination of stunning photographs, included maps, and the way the articles were written, not only telling the story but describing how the correspondents and photographers did it, truly opened my mind to ideas and places I had never considered before. Grandma must have realized how much I enjoyed it, because when we got back home, she bought me a couple of issues, and then she paid for a full year’s subscription.
I think that I kept resubbing for about ten years. After that, I moved around the country and it became more difficult to remain a subscriber. You see, even though electronic copies were available at the time, my grandma enjoyed looking at the photographs and read through some of the stories. Eventually, we just let the subscription expire and didn’t renew. Grandma is still alive and well and closing in on 100 years of age, we often joke that she’s going to outlive the entire family.
During my time as a subscriber, the magazine changed in some ways, and in others it remained constant. Strangely, one of the sections I always looked forward to reading was Forum, where reader’s letters and e-mails were presented, sometimes with the editor’s response. Nowadays, that would be the section I’d pay the least attention to, but during a time when WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and social media was non-existent, that was the closest I could get to knowing the opinions from people all over the world. At the same time, I also looked forward to the Flashback section, where old photographs from the National Geographic Society would be published.
I’m currently not expecting to re-subscribe to the magazine, since it seems another big move is on the way, but perhaps in five or six years, when thing settle down again I’ll go back to it. In the meantime, I’ll see you next week! Hope you enjoyed this week’s post!