Open the book jacket of Wildsam’s Desert Southwest Field Guide, from its American Road Trip Series, and the words of John Steinbeck printed on the first page is an instant reminder that the only question to ask when planning a trip is why. “People don’t take trips, trips take people.” Wildsam has been helping travelers do just that since 2012. A collection of pocket-size travel books, Wildsam speaks to the heart of why we travel. It’s the idea that, for those curious enough, a trip will flip you upside down to turn you right side up.
Admittedly, the pressure to make the most of precious vacation days often results in jam-packed itineraries, weary travelers, and the need for a vacation from the vacation. It’s why founder Taylor Bruce says you won’t find a list of the twelve best brunch spots in any of the Wildsam Field Guides. You will find one. Why only one? Because like packing a suitcase, you focus on the essentials. Wildsam hones in on the guts of each locale, sharing only that which will enrich the adventure and tell a story.
From the hand drawn maps and the portrait interviews of locals to the fine-tuned recommendations and essays that share the truth of the region through its folklore, the American Road Trip Series encourages the curious to shed the familiar in search of a different type of connection. The kind of connection that only happens when we unplug from our everyday and allow ourselves an opportunity to recharge by exploring parts unknown.
Thumbing through the pages feels like discovering your father’s travel journal from the cross-country road trip he took in the 70s after graduating college. Every entry paints a picture of the places he ventured and the people he met along the way. In that way, it is not surprising that the design is decidedly nostalgic. At the same time, its clean layout makes it easy for quick on the road referencing. It’s the intentional approach to discovering why we travel the places that we do that has Wildsam Field Guides on Très Américain’s radar. We’re itching to hit the open road. If for no other reason, we hear those scenic back roads through the American Southwest can flip a person upside down to turn her right side up.