Get the best of CF straight to your inbox.

Subscribe, sit back, and let your mind travel.

Arts + Lifestyle

From The Desk Of… Yolanda Edwards

Yolanda Edwards, the Founder of travel publication Yolo Journal and former Creative Director of Condé Nast Traveler, joins us deskside in our latest edition of From The Desk Of…

“I decided to start Yolo Journal because I’m passionate about photography, travel, and collecting great ideas.” A hub for the creative and the curious, Yolo Journal is editorial escapism at its very best. Focused on gathering the greatest sources around and harnessing their insider intel to create a polished, quarterly print publication, Yolo ought to come with a warning: *urge to travel upon reading guaranteed*.

Here, we learn a little about the woman behind it all, Yolanda Edwards.

How do you start your days?

With strong black coffee and my Smythson diary, seeing what I haven’t finished from the day before, and what needs to get done today. And, answering DMs on my Instagram accounts.

What’s your go-to uniform?

In the summer, it’s a breezy kaftan with Venetian slippers in a bright colour – usually yellow or orange.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by YOLO Journal (@yolojournal)

Describe your workspace/workplace

Right now I’m at our house in France, so it’s the kitchen table. But in Brooklyn it’s also the kitchen table, since we gave up our office last summer. I certainly miss my big mood board, but I love that I don’t have a commute!

Identify something in your workspace that’s special to you (and why)…

I have several spaces where I put things/treasures – on counter, on a dresser – and those are the inspirations of the moment. It’s usually some shells, pebbles, feathers… and some piece of pottery I’ve picked up on a recent trip.

What are your workplace essentials?

My laptop, my phone, a ballpoint pen, and my Smythson journals. I have one that is a planner, one that is for Yolo, and one that’s for my consulting projects.

What time of day are you at your most creative?

Early in the morning!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by YOLO Journal (@yolojournal)

What’s your go-to lunch order?

The best part about not working in an office is not having to think about where to get lunch. As long as I have eggs, avocado, and black beans in the house, I’m good to go.

What is the most rewarding part of the job?

Getting to highlight places and people around the world that I think should have a light shown on them…

And the most challenging?

All the logistics – getting in high-res files, making sure the printing is done correctly, and dealing with distribution and shipments… The nitty gritty that is the most important, but the least fun!

What did you study in school/ university?

I was a comparative literature major at UC Berkeley.

Where are you from originally?

I grew up in Tacoma, Washington, until I was 10, then we moved to the Bay Area in California.

What was your first job?

I had the afternoon paper route for the San Mateo Times.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by YOLO Journal (@yolojournal)

What first sparked your interest in travel journalism?

I grew up in a very religious family and wanted to escape the rigid lifestyle of that. I remember seeing Calvin Klein ads in the 80s, and thinking – where is that place, and how do I get there?

Do you have a mentor or inspirational figure that has guided or influenced you?

When I was in high school I had two close friends whose parents really mentored me. Jim and Gloria McKinley taught me about travel, collecting, flea markets, watches, Jaguars – luxury! Steve and Cinda Schrader taught me about food – I had never been around people who, at breakfast, would talk about what they would make for dinner. They also brought me to the Mission District in San Francisco when I was 16, and introduced me to what a real taco was, at La Taqueria.

What were some hurdles you had to overcome in the earlier stages of your writing/editorial career?

Until the print world started collapsing – say five-seven years ago – one had to be either on the writing side or the art/photo department side. I always wanted to be on both, because I felt that I had access to really interesting ideas from the photographers who were out there in the world. But since I wasn’t on the editorial side, the editors didn’t want to hear my ideas. Only when the money was drying up did my ideas get accepted and put forward.

What’s the most important business lesson you’ve learned?

It’s okay to say no. I used to say yes to every single work opportunity – and at a certain point I realised that I was working so hard on building everyone else’s business and not devoting that energy to my own.

A career highlight…

When Yolo Journal launched at the opening of the Mezzatorre Hotel in Ischia!

The best advice you’ve ever received…

My husband has on repeat: “it always works out”.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on the Yolo Intel newsletter! It’s a great way for me to pull all of my information out of my notes, my Google Maps, iCloud photos, texts… and put it into one place.

What’s next for Yolo Journal? 

The fall issue, and I’m working on some products that I’m really excited about!

You May Also Like

Any Questions or Tips to add?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *