h1 The more personal and particular a story is, the more universal the appeal.
Pavia Rosati, Fathom
Why do you travel? Whether it's for fun, thrills, culture, scenery, romance or something else, Fathom is a travel site dedicated to celebrating all the reasons why we pack our bags, get on a plane, hitch a ride, and explore beyond our backyards. Founded by Pavia Rosati and Jeralyn Gerba and a cast of guest authors in 2011, Fathom is the travel website reinvented — through inspiring stories, practical advice, and useful tools and products.
The site has been getting some enthusiastic press – and is a new Say Media content partner. We caught up with Pavia to find out more about what travel lovers are craving, her secrets for keeping travel fun, and where she's headed next.
Describe the Fathom reader: What is your reader looking for in travel and what can you deliver that other travel sites can't? Fathom is a site for the travelers who we call the “travel-proud,” people who are obsessed with travel. There's a word for people who are food obsessed (foodie) but there's no equivalent for the travel obsessed. Fathom readers feel like travel is such an important part of their lives – whether they are getting on a plane or not. They live for their next trip. Unfortunately, so much travel content is just bad: Reviews written by people you can’t trust; empty top ten lists that deliver no value. Newsflash! There is no such thing as a secret beach anywhere anymore. At Fathom, we’re also trying to expand the definition of travel. You can't always hop on a plane and go to India, but you can read a great novel set in Goa and feel transported to India.
You were at DailyCandy for many years – what did you learn from that experience that you brought to Fathom? I was the very first editor hired at DailyCandy, and I launched all the cities and hired all the amazing editors there for many years. The thing I learned at DailyCandy – and really throughout my publishing career, going back to my first job as an assistant at Mirabella – is the value of personal storytelling. No matter what you’re writing about. The more personal and particular a story is, the more universal the appeal. And the reverse is true: If you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one. That's it right there – my secret sauce.
You curate great travel content – and create some of your own. How do you decide what to curate or create? We strive to find a balance that works. The majority of our content, at least eighty percent, is original. But we also curate features like Instatrip, our favorite Instagram photos of the week, and Best of the Web, a collection of the great online travel articles about a destination. Best of the Web saves you hours of Googling. Readers don't care where content comes from. They just want the best content.
Your travel a lot! What's your own secret for keeping air travel fun in a world with overbooked planes, extra baggage fees, and the TSA? ; ) There is no secret! My partner Jeralyn and I recently booked tickets to Italy for this September [to Spoleto, a hilltown in Italy – the Fathom offices will be in a 400-year-old fresco'd living room for a month] and the process was maddening. Some things you just can't hack – unless you're a billionaire and on your own jet. So you should accept that some hassle is just the cost of doing business. And once you've taken the trains, planes and automobiles to a get to that amazing place on the Amalfi Coast, you're transported, and it's worth it.
How do you like to work with brands? We want to provide content that feels relevant to your life and to work with the best travel brands – whether that's the best luggage or the best moisturizer to keep your skin supple on a plane. Kate Spade is one of our biggest partners: We create all their travel content. We just love working with them. There are several brands like those that the Fathom universe is obsessed with: Tumi and Rimowa, Virgin and Jet Blue, Bose and Flight 001 Personally, I’m obsessed with my Chase Sapphire credit card. I can’t even hide it.
Fathom has a shop too – what do people come to you to buy? We want to connect people with the idea that travel is more than getting on an airplane. You can experience Morocco with a cookbook, spices, a scented candle or a pair of slippers.
What are some travel stories you're looking forward to? We'll be doing more stories about South America soon. And we're going to Italy for a month this September so we'll have more from there. This year is the Venice Biennale and we have locals who've done little black books for us there. We also have some Africa stories in the pipeline, including a great diary from Rwanda.
Give us a taste - what are some of your most popular stories and destinations to date? Our most popular post to date is the 24 Best Travel Blogs and Websites. And our San Francisco Guide is a big hit. People also really love the Fathom newsletter – they tell us it's one of their favorites and it's one of the funniest. People like the way we mix the practical and the inspirational. So stories range from Our Expert Packing Tips to Girls Gone Wild in Marrakech,a story by Stephanie March, the actor and Fathom contributing editor. And while everyone loves our Paris stories, I love that we also have guides to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan.
Follow Pavia and Fathom on Twitter @FathomWaytoGo.