Insider: Boat magazine

by Stine Fantoft Berg in May 2016

Every six months, the team behind Boat magazine take their makeshift studio to a new location. There, they meet up with locals and immerse themselves in the surrounding culture to create a travel magazine with a unique insider / outsider perspective.

The Havana issue is out now, and we asked editor Erin Spens to tell us about her experiences putting it together. Here she is on Cuban music, the people she met, and a domino death match…


In the making of this issue I…

Rice and black beans (a lot of it). Cuban food is amazing, but ingredients in Cuba are hard to get or are really expensive. Many times the only options are the bare necessities – rice, beans, coffee and rum!


Listened to
– Daymé Arocena (our cover star!) – her album Nueva Era is phenomenal and she’s only 24
– Ibeyi’s (self-titled) album – these French-Cuban twins are blowing up and are mega-talented, they even had a cameo in Beyonce’s Lemonade
– Mala’s album Mala in Cuba
– Gilles Peterson Worldwide Radio playlist on Spotify:

Was inspired by
Hemingway, avocados, Veep, Rosario Dawson, Studs Terkel, The End of the Tour, Bibi Bourelly, Teresa of Avila, Vince Staples, Duolingo app, Chobani, roadtrips, Kelly McEvers, Brie Larson, Temescal Canyon, Four Barrel Coffee, Lynsey Addario, Georges Rouault, Saint Heron, DTLA, Hector Gallo, rum, Girls, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and all my friends who find a way to do what they love

Went to
Havana and spent a lot of time looking for wifi in public parks


– The daughter of Cuba’s “Grand Dame of Ballet”
– Two artists exploring their Yoruba roots in two totally different ways
– Revolutionary farmers
– A 94-year-old philosopher artist
– A skate community without boards and the man who “invented” surfing
– A taxi driver who sold his house to buy his car


Many people see Cuba as a “perfectly preserved time capsule” but I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a place that lives more in the moment


Was excited about
As an American, digging into a culture that, growing up, I was forbidden to visit, and telling stories that go beyond the clichés

Wish that I had
More space in the magazine


Couldn’t stop laughing at
Gate-crashing a birthday party down a dark alley and accidentally finding ourselves in a domino death match


And everyone should buy a copy because
It’s the perfect escape. Nowhere else in the world has the crazy collision of stories and culture that Havana does. I think we captured an important moment in a city that’s on the cusp of a brave new era

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