Insider: Sidetracked magazine

by Stine Fantoft Berg in February 2016
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Sidetracked magazine features stories of extraordinary people and their breathtaking adventures, be it arctic kayaking, climbing mountains, or trekking through the world’s deadliest terrains.

This week, we asked founder and creative director John Summerton to share the less deadly but undoubtedly stressful adventures that came with putting together issue six. Read on for tales of last-minute print hiccups, a massive trade show and black-tongued polar bears.


In the making of this issue I…

About 500 emails and over 200 stories. Our magazine is contributor-based so we’re constantly getting new pitches and full articles sent to us for the magazine and the website too. It’s quite incredible to see all the amazing journeys being undertaken. I’ve also been reading the final The Ride Journal, Like the Wind, Another Escape and a fair few books on my Kindle too.


Basecamp: An online project management system that I’ve used in my design business for years. We manage Sidetracked through this system using to-do lists assigned to the team. I work mainly with freelancers so having everything in one place is really helpful for me. So far it’s working really well.


Got Sidetracked by
Social media. I love it and loathe it at the same time. It’s way too time consuming and not productive at all, but I always get drawn into it, particularly Instagram right now. It is useful for promoting Sidetracked, though, both the magazine and the website, which is equally important.


Went to
ISPO – a vast outdoor and outdoor sports trade show in Germany. It’s pretty overwhelming and you don’t really see daylight for a couple of days but it’s so useful to meet with brands that we’re working with along with potential new brands and chatting to athletes, adventurers (yes that’s a job title) and photographers too. This year was particularly good as, after a day filled with meetings, I met up with a few friends and we ended up in a bar in Munich centre drinking beer and sharing a giant plate filled with 50 sausages. I felt like Mr Greedy.


That polar bears have black tongues. Also, their fur is transparent with a hollow core that reflects visible light. Their skin is actually black too.

Made sure that
There are no spelling mistakes in our latest issue. Ha, is that even possible? I’m a useless speller but we now have a fantastic proof reader. In issue three there is an absolute howler of a mistake that no one spotted until it was too late, and then only to be pointed out by my mother-in-law… I’m doing everything I can to avoid a repeat of that.

If you spot one please don’t tell me.


Was amazed by
National Geographic Explorer Sarah Marquis, who spent three months walking alone through the Kimberley region of Australia. She survived one of the hottest and most deadly landscapes of the country on foraged food and what little water she could find. Seriously tough stuff.

Was afraid that
We’d never get this issue to print. There were so many final hurdles to overcome, from missing hi-res photos to entire sections being pulled and replaced at last minute. The nature of their vocation means it’s sometimes pretty tough pinning down these explorers!


Was most pleased by
Seeing the front cover and pages roll off the press. This is always such a relief.

And everyone should by a copy because
We don’t think there is a finer collection of adventure and exploration based stories out there. Anywhere.

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