Doing things a bit differently—it’s the driving force behind innovation. Of course, it doesn’t always work out (my first version of this note was in iambic pentameter), but when it does, it deserves our attention. Case in point: cover star Jessica Chastain. She didn’t follow the familiar Hollywood narrative of hot young “it girl” who struggles to win heftier roles. Chastain achieved success relatively late, but that maturity helped her bring gravitas and a sense of earned wisdom to her roles. We found spending time with her to be a bit unexpected as well—for one thing, she can check “losing control of a zebra in Prague” off her bucket list.
Choosing an alternate route is a theme that crops up again and again in this issue. Take our “Wild Bunch” feature on a group of Sydney culinary pioneers foraging for Australia’s indigenous ingredients, and altering the flavor profiles of everything from casseroles to cocktails. A similar ethos can be found in the creative entrepreneurs who took a risk on Downtown Los Angeles. The area was on the bad side of gritty when they moved in; today, it’s one of the most vibrant areas in the U.S.—but one that still gains energy from its edginess.
Flip through the pages and you’ll also find stories about losing a wife-carrying race (yes, that’s a real sport), sneaking off to Hong Kong’s hidden beaches and the 26 different ways to look at Manchester, one of England’s most rapidly changing cities.
So, enjoy the issue. You’ll meet folks who’ve taken Robert Frost’s road less traveled. As the poet suggests, it’s made all the difference. And be glad I trashed the first version of this letter.