Wildsam Field Guides
Founded in 2012, Wildsam’s aim is to point travelers towards unforgettable experiences. We shed light on the lesser known, the complex, the real things, through our series of American field guides. Through the guides, we document a place through its stories. Both the city series and road trip series explore via prose and personalities, mixing together historical anecdotes, local interviews, literary memoir and hand-drawn maps, all in service of a deep understanding of place. The guides also offer a highly curated list of recommendations, the kind of smart list a close friend might offer.
We believe in the power of roots. With the modern ease of movement, people are less rooted that ever before, but crave experiences that make them feel connected and known.
We believe in the power of honesty. People want to know the truth of a place. They are interested in the whole story, the real things, the good and the bad, beauty and brokenness.
We believe in the power of story. Place gives people context for who they are and where they come from. Magnificent or mundane, every inch of a place tells a story that stitches people closer together.
When thinking about the origins of Wildsam, we go back to a single line from John Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden. A couple hundred pages into the classic novel, the story is following Sam Hamilton, an Irishman who’s settled with his sprawling family into a dried-up spread in California’s Salinas Valley. One day, Sam is digging a water well with two of his sons, when the men hit a quarry of unfamiliar black rock. One of Sam’s son’s thinks it might be a discovery of valuable ore. The other thinks it could be a buried train locomotive. As they ponder, Sam gets what Steinbeck describes as a joyous faraway look. He is a dreamer, quick to be curious, wide open to the unknown. In that moment, Steinbeck writes, “The world was peopled with wonders.”
We conjured up the name WILDSAM as a homage to this broad-minded, big-hearted sense of awe.