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Astray is a storytelling project centred on travel, place, culture and identity. As a publication, we exist to foster understanding of the breadth of human experience and encourage critical thought through narrative. As an educational tour provider – running writing workshops across four countries – we seek to create connection, embody sustainable travel practices and challenge hierarchies that exist within the media industry.

A bunch of men writers have bemoaned what they consider to be the death of travel literature. Often citing Eat, Pray, Love as the nail in the coffin of the genre, they decry the indulgence of the idea that even conventional travel can somehow “heal the soul” and turn what they call a “suburban ninny” into a philosopher.

Though to those misogynistic fools, we say, “Pooh-pooh,” we will readily admit that the popular I-found-myself-overseas narratives often have their own problems (narcissism, inadequate sense of place and a white saviour complex, for starters).

Travel writing has long been the domain of the coloniser: driven by a desire to conquer, exoticise the findings to the folk back home, then revel in the glory of being the creator of a dominant narrative. But no one needs to read a litany of sweeping generalisations about a place a writer has barely skimmed the surface of.

What we do need are travel writers who strive to be stewards of the places they visit, who are committed to working against the colonial legacy, and who wish to cultivate curiosity and personal enquiry whilst sharing their observations and experiences with humility.

Astray is a takeover – a rebranding of sorts.

For nine years, we were known as Global Hobo: the brainchild of a young backpacking and dumpster diving enthusiast who – when she started – had a limited understanding of the problematic genre she was grappling with. We shudder to think of what made it through our inexperienced editorial lens in the early days: perpetuating rather than challenging racist, imperialist and sexist stereotypes.

Then, when we began running writing workshops in 2015, our focus began to shift. Stories about diarrhoea on the bus and loud hostel sex made room for broader experiences of journey, as well as thinkpieces tackling socio-political issues – some of which clocked millions of views.

With a heightened awareness of how tourism and digital nomadism act as a form of neocolonialism, our pool of writers diversified, our focus on ethical journalism heightened and we actively commmitted to learning, unlearning and relearning. That’s been our jam for a while now, but our name hasn’t accurately represented it.

Though “hobo” was a hark to its initial definition – an itinerant worker, one who wanders from place to place and lives a life on the road – a growing appreciation of the discursive nature of discrimination and a desire to house our collection of stories under a more inclusive banner meant a change to something that better reflects our culture was needed.

So here we are, Astray: a journal that strives to build an accessible community around storytelling and provide a space for writers to share original, thoughtful views on journeys and all that they encompass. 

Started in 2013 by Gemma Clarke and rebranded in 2022, our ethos is a collage of conscious travel, frugality, liberation, social commentary and cultural relativism. Working from an intersectional feminist framework, we aim to open people’s minds to fresh perspectives and show them parts of the world they never knew existed – whilst also having a good laugh at ourselves. (Yes, there’s still plenty of room for awkward overseas poo stories.)

In a world chock-full of branded content, we are fiercely independent – self-funding as best we can and proudly paying all our contributors. We run immersive cross-cultural travel writing and investigative journalism workshops in Australia, Indonesia, Japan and Spain, working closely with local language schools, accommodation providers and businesses to provide extraordinary experiential learning.

So enjoy us in our new incarnation as Astray. Travel writing is certainly not dead – but it’s up to us, dear readers and writers, to keep it alive and relevant.

Logos by K~SUT STUDIO, collage by Jada De Luca

Astray is run by a team of writers who mostly live, work and play in lutruwita/Tasmania. With reverence, we acknowledge the Tasmanian Aboriginal people as the rightful custodians of the land, which was stolen and never ceded. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.