Hi I’m Mark, and I write adventure and wilderness stories.
Hi, I’m Mark, and I’m a landscape, wildlife, and nature photographer.
Hi I’m Mark, and I’m a graphic designer and illustrator.
Actually, I’m Mark Calcagni, and I do all those things and I put them together in an online magazine called Rapt Journal. I've been an outdoor enthusiast for about 30 years. "Outdoor enthusiast" means that I lack the focus to become REALLY good at any one outdoor pursuit, but 30 years I've become a competent hiker, kayaker, climber(well, before the knees said no), mountaineer and all around bushwahacker. I still mess up on trips and learn (and relarn) things every time I go outside. That's all right. it's what makes for the best stories.
It’s for those of you that derive excitement from getting outside of your comfort zone. It’s for the person who sees a trail cutting steeply up the side of a mountain as an opportunity, the person who sees a frothing river of chaotic whitewater as a viable means to get from Point A to point B. It’s for the person that sees the cave in the ground in the middle of the woods, not as something that should be avoided for safety’s sake, but rather an opportunity to go somewhere despite man’s innate desire to avoid the darkness. This is a journal for those of you who love the sound of your pulse pounding in your ears, the burn of muscles using up whatever calories you throw at them, the moment when things slow down and clarity dominates your senses, and maybe for the time that you’re proud you didn’t pee your pants.
But this journal is also for the hiker who gets to the campsite last because he has found a mushroom that he’s never seen before and spends minutes marvelling at the structure. It’s for the paddler who had her friends waiting at the bottom of a drop because she was mesmerized by the movement of the water around and under stone. The caver who noticed a slight shift in the rock strata and wondered what had caused the earth to literally move in that way. It’s for those of you who expect to come home with the memory of the adrenaline, but also the curiousity of how the natural world works. And it’s for those who want to hear about those things in the most entertaining way possible.
In short, it’s to add fuel to the desire to go places and know them. It’s to be rapt in the moment.
Q: OK, Why Rapt journal? Aren’t there plenty of good online magazines about outdoor travel?
A: While there are plenty of resources out there for outdoor travel and adventure, surprisingly there are very few that concentrate on the actual intimate stories of people interacting with the natural world. The vast majority tend to emphasize the outdoors as places to test the newest tent or sleeping bag or as the most beautiful spot for a workout. Both gear and fitness are important as is learning outdoor specific skills, but I wanted to concentrate on the actual interactions between man and nature.
Q: Do you do all the writing?
A: As of now I do all the writing, photography, illustration, and design for the site. I would love to have other viewpoints and other contributors eventually, but I’m a big believer that creative works are worth more than “exposure” so I hope to be able bring other writers and creatives on board and be able to compensate them as they deserve.
Q: There doesn’t seem to be any advertising on the site, is there going to be?
A: I’m hoping to avoid it. Good stories are immersive and I’d rather not have advertisements in the sidebars dancing in the reader's peripheral vision. I can’t rule them out, but I’m hoping that the site will become self sufficient through photograph sales, t-shirt and stickers and direct crowd funding through a site called Patreon. More details about my Patreon can be found here:
Q: So, “Adventure, storytelling, art and science.” That’s covering a lot of ground. Are you a scientist or something?
A: No, I’m just an enthusiastic layperson. I have a bit of a background in science as a molecular and microbiology major before switching to art and design twenty five years ago, but the science bug never left. I’m also fortunate enough to have friends that are scientists, naturalists and wildlife specialists and I shamelessly use our friendships to extract knowledge. The adventure part comes from a lifetime of outdoor travel in all seasons and my somewhat less than perfect natural outdoor abilities.