Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain
My earliest memories involve travel. My father was born and raised in New York City to first-generation immigrants who found refuge in America during the First World War. His worldview was limited to the sounds and smells of the city and the books he read. He understood that education was his way out and earned a PhD as a petroleum geologist. The movie, Lawrence of Arabia, forever changed his life—impacting the lives of all of us: He loved the story of announcing to his wife that they would raise their family in the Middle East. On the way to fulfilling this dream, they moved to Houston, Texas, where he worked for ESSO, embarking on a nomadic career that took the family to Northern Africa. I remember sand storms in Libya (Ghibli), gold markets in Jordan, the traditional horse shows in Morocco, and the souks of Tunisia. It was a simpler time. My sister and I played “cache-cache” with the Arab children. We spoke colloquial Arabic and French, did not have television, and read constantly. We fearlessly explored every place we traveled, unescorted, with a freedom that is hard to imagine today. Our mother was drawn to everything aesthetic. While my sister and I were making friends from country to country, we were also in tow with this amazing woman and her insatiable appetite for art. We visited museums and galleries and attended the theatre. From the Van Gogh Museum’s opening in Amsterdam in the 1970’s to tours at the Louvre, I came to understand her passion.
Our Publisher’s Letters often reference Robert Frost’s line: “Two roads diverged in a wood . . . and I took the one less traveled.” Reflecting on my upbringing, my parents’ diverse interests—living abroad, exploring different cultures, gravitating toward everything aesthetically beautiful—were examples of their taking the road less traveled, fulfilling dreams and discovery throughout the world.
Inspiring Women. (Anecdotal stories)
I reflect on my childhood experiences and my parents’ choices as I consider the evolution of ELYSIAN. Our footprint has expanded globally as represented in the perspectives we share. In this issue, the publisher’s nonpareil recognizes an Inspiring Woman as an exemplar of excellence for achievements of transcending influence. Chitra Narayanan traveled the world and followed in her father’s diplomatic footsteps, serving as Ambassador of India to six countries. Today, she expertlyadvises international think tanks on creative diplomacy. Earlier this year, we visited Barbara Martinuzzi, world-renowned designer and entrepreneur at her home in Switzerland. Like Chitra and Barbara, Martynka Wawrzyniak was born abroad—Poland—and brings a unique perspective. In addition to being an editor for Rizzoli publishing, Martynka’s minimalist artwork explores global and social themes. Grace Bender represents a common theme among our Inspiring Women: impact giving. A known philanthropist in Washington, D.C., Grace reflects, “Donating is nice, and it’s easy to write a check, but it’s more important to give of yourself, your time.” A foundational concept of ELYSIAN is to connect accomplished women with young women. In this issue, you’ll read about Ambassador Narayanan and the insights she provided our cover model, Rachel Castellani, a freshman at Clemson University.
Graceful Living. (Deliberate, spirited and bold)
In our winter issue, readers share adventures with independent women who inspire us to reach further. Sail with artists near the Arctic Circle, travel to Alaska with a woman whose life changed when introduced to Alaskan sled dogs and the Iditarod. Celebrate the holidays at two of NYC’s classic restaurants or view the work of Yayoi Kusama in Japan. Brave the winter for a tour of Russia and Catherine the Great’s palaces. Take a nostalgic look at high fashion with Hattie Carnegie, then celebrate the woman who reigned over America’s Camelot, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Philanthropy. (Creating legacy)
ELYSIAN Inspiring Woman Susan Taylor was the editor-in-chief of Essence magazine for 20 plus years before becoming the CEO of the National CARES Mentoring Movement, an innovative effort aimed at addressing intergenerational poverty. ELYSIAN has dedicated two pages in support of this cause and we invite readers to attend the 2020 For the Love of Our Children Gala on February 10, 2020 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Challenging oneself through travel, searching for individual interpretations of beauty and art, always seeking knowledge is ELYSIAN’s purpose. As Dr. Seuss so eloquently put it, “Oh the places you’ll go.”
Thank you for taking the journey.