The approach of summer every year brings with it thoughts of escape—fantasies of road trips and jungle hideaways and secluded beaches seared by Instagram-worthy sunsets. Those of us without the privilege of dropping everything and heading off for distant lands, however, can make do with Jungles in Paris, a new travel website from writer Darrell Hartman and his brother Oliver. Eschewing the expected posts on the latest luxury hotels or fashionista favorites, Jungles in Paris takes a more thoughtful approach, going small and digging deep by focusing on the unexpected surprises uncovered by the careful traveler, from ritual skin-piercing in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley to the daredevil moto-taxi drivers of southern Yemen.

The first thing visitors to Jungles in Paris will notice is the sleek, stark design, all sharp white text against a clean black background, carefully framing the arresting imagery that serves as the site’s focal point and raison d’être. “The visual approach is one thing,” Darrell says. “Yes, we research and write up each story, but we position the visual component as the main attraction, whether it’s a short documentary or a collection of photos.” Oliver adds, “The goal is always to enrich the story with high-quality multimedia.” For Darrell, who has written for New York Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Details, and the Wall Street Journal, the chance to work closely with others was another impetus for the new endeavor. “I’ve been a freelance writer for years,” he explains. “It’s a wonderful life but a bit of a solo one, so I was drawn to the idea of collaborating. With my brother, for one thing, but also with photographers and filmmakers. I’d interviewed plenty of them as a journalist, but never really worked with them.”

Appropriately, both Darrell and Oliver are experienced travelers themselves, the former pointing to trips through the Serengeti and Nepal as “life-changing” journeys while the latter recalls a year spent in Nicaragua: “Years after that, I still feel a human connection to that place.” The contributions on Jungles in Paris are, even at this early stage, already similarly wide-ranging, roving across Tanzania, the historic Romanian town of Ciocăneşti, and the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. The brothers list Antarctica and the Middle East as dream destinations, but until then, the site will suffice. “We wanted to give ourselves a job that involved learning a little more about the world every day,” Darrell says. “Not the pain and suffering, but the rare and amazing stuff that just knocks your socks off—the timeless and long-lasting things, rather than the immediately concerning ones. We wanted to discover more of that, and to share it.”

For more information, please visit JunglesinParis.com. Photography by Lane Coder for Jungles in Paris.

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