Arriving in San Francisco from a dreary February in New York City, it was a mild shock to be tossed into the thick of California. Stepping out of the airport, I shed my leather jacket after a proper slap in the face from what the locals have now informed me is regular weather. It’s February, get out of here with your mid-sixties to high seventies! I was picked up by my wildly eager Über driver and given a guided car-window-tour of the sights by a lifelong local, who clarified repeatedly that Über is only his side hustle. I later learned that this would be my last Über in San Francisco, for the daunting prospect of 1.9x surge pricing did not bode well for my bank account.
I pulled up outside of the house to find a living wall staring back at me. Set apart from the somehow typical colorful houses sat a building with flowers in abundance growing all across the front of it. We’d come to find that the house fell in line with this quirky aesthetic. When a small voice called my name, I thought perhaps the wall lived in more ways than one–– but alas, it was Olivia standing across the street with big red bags and a big smile. After an awkward pause of eagerly staring at each other while waiting to cross the street, we were finally reunited after two long years.
The last time Olivia and I saw each other, our logo was a sans-serif default font. The last time Olivia and I saw each other, we were strictly an online magazine. The last time Olivia and I saw each other, our lives were in completely different places. Yet here we were, in San Francisco at the fault of issuu! The ever delightful Lisie Sabbag greeted us with a warmth comparable to the comforting west coast weather. We quickly dropped our bags in a room with amazing and totally selfie-able window light and a wall that was entirely made of whiteboard. A quick scribble later, we were off to explore.
As we perused the boutiques over a refreshing $6.75 scoop of Ben & Jerry’s, we learned that San Francisco in general didn’t bode well for my bank account. But unlike my chocolate cone in the heat of California winter, my excitement had not melted onto my brand new Steve Maddens. The shops of Valencia are filled with gorgeous, quality fashions in well-lit and totally ‘grammable spaces. Interspersed down the row are coffee shops with espresso-and-chill vibes and restaurants that range from the gluten-free Pica Pica to The Little Chihuahua, a taqueria focused on sustainability. Though we drooled over the vast array of choice, the journey for satiation ended on Belgian fries at Frjtz.
We ventured to the Fisherman’s Wharf in search of the wackiest and tackiest, and were absolutely not disappointed. Though I refrained from donning an “I *HEART* SF” tee or the American-flag patterned poncho one might find a $120 version of at Free People, we nonetheless reveled in the glorious, touristy sights of the wharf. This included the wails of the sun-soaking sea lions, the gorgeous waterscapes and a foggy view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.
Next came the cable car ride, where our conductor used the bell to beatbox while San Franciscans and tourists alike danced down the sidewalk. We hung on to the poles on the side for dear life, taking in every last little bit of sunshine before the inevitable hypothermia we’d succumb to back home. We hopped off at Lombard street for the ultra-famous view and stood in the middle of the road while cars patiently indulged in my need to selfie from what was seemingly the top of the world.
On the leg-busting walk back down that made us desperately consider caving to the Über surge, we stopped constantly to admire the colorful buildings and free-form neighborhoods–– and definitely not just to catch my out-of-shape breath. Though there is a Union Square, and a 14th street, San Francisco is nothing like the city I’m used to. In such a brief period of time, I took in ample amounts of life, color, light and significantly less smoggy air.
We returned to the house to find the rest of the generators; editors from Local Wolves, Mad Sounds, Tom Tom, Forge and Hoot gathered on the roof at dusk. The group immediately dove in, sharing and comparing stories of our respective publications. We had known of a couple of them already and were so happy to discover others. It was easy to be impressed with the group; their magazines ran with staffs as low as one person and as high as fifty. Olivia and I counted our lucky stars for our team, as without them we’d be nowhere.
At dinner, we were joined by issuu’s Paul Kim (VP/Marketing) and Jon Sturino (VP/Product) who kept us on our toes with cheerful back-and-forth and stimulating questions. It felt so good to be in an environment where everyone is on the same page–– where we all had the opportunity to partake in conversation about the one thing we are most passionate about. That was one of the best parts of the experience for me; being able to have people relate to the experiences and challenges of digital publishing.
When the meal adjourned, Olivia and I headed to bed while the rest of the generators partook in a show-and-tell of sorts. I wish we could have stayed up for it, but we opted for a long rest with Olivia being about half a day ahead and me being, well, tired. As it turned out, the sleep ended up doing us a world of good for the day that lay ahead.
Stay tuned for part two of #generatorcamp tomorrow at 8am GMT
Article by Megan Breukelman
Do you want to have your work featured on Atlas as well? Then please email web@
Want to start planning your shoots? Check out our Pinterest board for loads of ideas.
We’re also looking for writers… pitch your ideas to us at info@
Are you following us on Bloglovin’? It’s the best way to keep up to date with our latest blog posts!
Why not check out our Instagram? We share loads of inspiration on there as well… See you there