AT AFAR, WE BELIEVE in celebrating wildly ambitious ideas and plucky people. (We are the ones who started a travel magazine in 2009!) This spring, when I traveled to Seattle for our fourth AFAR Experiences event, we were surrounded by innovators.

The chef and restaurateur Renee Erickson, whose empire includes the award-winning oyster bar The Walrus and the Carpenter, produced our opening night party at Pike Place Market by inviting in her favorite local purveyors. Megan Jasper brought a group of us into the headquarters of Sub Pop, the influential record label where she serves as executive vice president. Author—and early Amazon employee—Langdon Cook took us on a foraging expedition through rainy Seward Park. And Margaret O’Mara, a professor of history at the University of Washington, spoke to our group about the climate of entrepreneurship that defines Seattle’s past, present, and future.

In Seattle there’s a palpable sense that people are driven by their passions, which more often than not blossom into successful businesses. In this issue, we set out to find the people who bring that spirit to the world of travel.

In “The 2014 Travel Vanguard” we cover the people and ideas reframing travel today: the disruptors and mavericks who are turning cruise ships into boutique hotels, teaching us how to be more conscientious and thoughtful travelers, and flying amateur astronauts (like you!) into space. The common thread across this group of change-makers: passion and an unbridled confidence in their ideas. Much like what we witnessed in Seattle. These are our kind of people.

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Akiko Graham pottery and rope necklaces from artist Seth Damm, both sold in the AFAR pop-up store.

Cocktail bitters (I’m hooked on this smoky blend with a hint of orange peel) from E. Smith Mercantile.

Handmade caramels and enamel cups from the London Plane, a café and shop.

Whimsical coasters from Paper Hammer, which led the revival of letterpress printing in Seattle. (They also make beautiful notebooks and other paper products.)