PROVO — While traveling hours away from civilization in Paraguay, Marvin K. Gardner discovered how much he had in common with even those clear across the world.
As a managing editor, he was looking for a subject to interview for an edition of Liahona Magazine. While searching for someone who could understand his dialect of Spanish in a small village with dirt roads winding through the streets, he found just what he needed. A man was sitting in a chair leaning against a tree with a recent copy of the Liahona Magazine in Spanish.
"It made me realize that what I'm doing really is reaching out there," said Gardner, who is also a BYU humanities professor. "That's why I'm so committed to magazines as a format to reach a lot of people."
Gardner conveys that love of adventure and travel in his classroom at BYU. Instead of taking tests or doing assignments, Gardner thought a better way to illustrate what the students had learned was through writing, designing and editing their own travel magazine called Stowaway.
"Our students have a lot of experience with this," Gardner said. "This seems to be such a perfect topic. We're a travel magazine written by young adults for young adults. We found a great number of people who seem to be interested in it. They're following our website. It's really seemed to strike a fun chord."
Gardner feels the key to Stowaway's success, other than the students' hard work, is that the magazine reaches out to other BYU students, like geography department, photography and business majors.
The magazine inspires students to get out of their comfort zones and travel the world, all while teaching about vital writing, editing, designing and even marketing skills while in the classroom, he explained.
"One of the most rewarding things about the class is that our final exam is a celebration because we worked so hard during the semester," said Kendra Crandall, managing editor of the fall edition. "We meet together and eat food, and we get copies of the magazine. And it's just like, 'Finally!' — because we worked so hard on it and spent so many hours. And to finally see it in print and just knowing that we did the best we could do was really rewarding."
The magazine is targeted to college-age adults. Many in that demographic find travel a particularly interesting topic, including Crandall.
She said she loved the aspects of a travel magazine and really appreciated the way to get her work published for an interested audience.
"Because the magazine is focused toward young college ages, we do a lot of outdoorsy things like backpacking and things like that," Crandall said. "I think that's the awesome thing about Utah. There's so many opportunities to just be outside and enjoy nature."
The class started out with a prototype magazine that was not made public and used fake ads until Gardner settled in on the idea of a travel magazine.
"We're talking about culture and art and music and food and lifestyle and adventure," Gardner said. "The topics when you're doing a travel article are limitless."
Gardner's teacher assistant, Jordan Carroll, appreciates how the magazine appeals to audiences even outside of Utah. Like Crandall, she also loves to travel. She said besides going to the Middle East for a study abroad, one of her favorite trips was a simple weekend trip to St. George.
"We went out to some hiking trails and decided to do barefoot trails," she said. "It was the perfect getaway. It was a great way to come back to nature and see the beautiful scenery."
As a magazine advisor, Carroll works to keep the magazine's quality consistent and sometimes writes and designs for the magazine. Her love for her work is conveyed in the magazine.
"I would stay at Stowaway the rest of my life if I could," Carroll said.
All editions of the magazine can be found online at stowawaymag.com.