Saturday, January 31, 2009

An Uncharted First

Like many other businesses, Uncharted has a fairly lofty mission statement:

Uncharted is the premier interactive experience of the world. We're a community of friends dedicated to discovering the world's geographic and cultural marvels through the finest use of innovation & aesthetics, bringing the world to you and you to the world, one journey at a time.

To me, the most important aspects of this statement lie in that we want to be “a community of friends,” working arduously to bring “the world to you and you to the world, one journey at a time.”

Today we hit a first: Uncharted contributor Fishstyx and his wonderful story and photos detailing a journey he took on Utah’s San Juan River will be featured on our homepage at, bringing a little corner of his world to you, and you to his world. You'll notice a little badge on the photo we selected to tout his story on the homepage. We'll use it on every story we pluck from Uncharted's pages to brag up one of our Explorers' stories. And y'all are Uncharted's Explorers. Your story could be next.

Fishstyx's story embodies the Explore, Live, Feel philosophy that drives Uncharted. We want to feature stories and photographs that evoke emotion and action in our readers. His story caught my ear because of the lilting, lyric way Fishstyx uses language. His story caught my soul because as I read it, I could imagine myself bobbing along in the raft with him, staring up in awe at the Native American petroglyphs on the canyon walls, trailing my hands in the muddy water. Fishstyx not only told me about the San Juan River, but, for about ten minutes as I sat at my desk in my gray-walled, gray-carpeted cubicle with a fine view of the thick January fog outside the window, Fishstyx took me away from this place. Way better than Calgon.

We’re excited to see our little community starting to grow. We hope it’ll keep growing, and soon become a much bigger community. But through all that, our goal will be to feature writers, photographers, philosophers and thinkers who can metaphorically grab us by the hand and take us with them on an adventure.

Fishstyx is the first. Who will be next? It’s all up to you.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Meeting new people

Meet “Thedude.” He’s 28, likes politics, traveling and running rivers. His favorite place on Earth is the Grand Canyon. Before he dies, he wants to hitchhike from Argentina to the U.S. and raft the Nile. “I lived in a tent (In Moab, Utah) with my dog for six months,” he writes, “I don’t recommend using that as a pickup line.”

I hope he can live out those dreams––in fact, I’m counting on it. He’s just one of the many interesting people you can meet on Uncharted. People with their own set of travels and adventures, often right in their own backyards. People who have been there, done that, and can steer you in the right direction. And people who can show you places that are truly uncharted.

At Uncharted, we love exploring new places and meeting new people. Even more than that, we want to share those experiences, ours and yours, one journey at a time.

Over two weeks ago, you joined us in making that dream come alive as Uncharted became the first Geo-Social Media Agency in the world. So, you’re probably thinking, “What’s Geo-Social Media anyway?” If you haven’t heard that term before, it’s not surprising, because we recently invented it. Simply put, it’s the mix of professional journalism with an online community, a community of friends sharing their own experiences through visuals and the written word, presenting that material geographically.

And that’s exactly what has happened. In just a matter of days, you’ve shared adventures from Hong Kong to Hawaii, California to Idaho, Michigan to New York, Europe to India. Now, anyone, anywhere in the world can click on a map and experience the globe behind the geography through your eyes.

And it hasn’t gone unnoticed. People from 19 different countries, speaking a variety of languages, have viewed your submissions. It’s been featured on blogs, other websites and carried through the air on radio waves. And your audience is growing every day.

So, this week we’re excited to share with you yet another story from our staff––this time, written and photographed by me, on one of Northern Utah’s geologic marvels, the Wind Caves.

And while I spent considerable time writing and taking photos for this story, I realize that, in a way, it’s not complete. It’s still missing one thing––your photos, your stories and your experiences. So, for those of you who’ve been to the Wind Caves, don’t let our story get in the way of you sharing your own as well, because that’s what Uncharted is all about––bringing the world closer together one journey at a time.

Alan Murray is Executive Director of Uncharted. He likes sea horses and snowshoes and frequently has the urge to leave the country. To contact Alan feel free to write to