Exploration kits consist of prompt cards, a fountain pen, an explorer’s notepad, a ribbon to tie away your phone, symbol stamps, a log book, some extra cards for your geographic region, a shiny seal, an introduction letter and an official certificate. If this sounds like a lot and confusing, don’t worry. Everything is explained right here. Young W created the concept of an exploration kit, and the one you see in our shop right now is our very first edition.
This is how it works:
You complete the prompts on the prompt cards and fill in details about what you did into the log book. Your notepad and fountain pen can be used along the way on your journey of exploration, wherever those prompts may take you. For each completed prompt you get a symbol stamp. These can be placed into the log book by moistening them like a regular postage stamp. You need to collect five stamps in each of the five suits to get your prize: the shiny seal and official certificate.
A journey into the analog lifestyle
Our very first exploration kit covers the analog lifestyle, but we already have plans for kits about other subjects too. An exploration kit is a type of “paper companion”, like a travel guide book or a deconstructed paper map you assemble yourself. It may lead you to old and new places, unexpected places, and maybe to places you have always been meaning to go. The cards contain ideas for things to discover around you, ideas for things to do, to learn and to use: in this case, since this kit is called “the analog lifestyle kit”, they are filled with ideas and inspiration for how to live the analog lifestyle.
The kit comes packaged in one curious-looking bundle (pictured above). The paper envelope that is used as the kit’s packaging contains all the instructions: how to use the kit on one side and an introduction letter on the other side. Be careful when you open the package though: don’t cut the ribbon or discard the paper envelope, these will come in handy later!
Here you see all the elements of the exploration kit “the analog lifestyle kit – chapter 1” from left to right: the shiny seal with the official certificate, the symbol stamps, the two-toned ribbon, the introduction letter with the instructions in the back, the log book (which someone has already started filling in), the fountain pen, the explorer’s notepad, the extra cards (which would normally be filled with recommendations for your specific region), and the bundle of prompt cards.
There are 32 prompt cards in this exploration kit. They contain 46 prompts to add a touch of analog to your life, be it in your leisure time or your daily routine (everything from going to a theatre play and listening to music on cassette tapes to keeping a physical address book).
The cards cover many of Young W’s themes, particularly PAPER, PERFORMANCE, ART, POETRY, SOCIETY and READING. While you may be already doing many of the things suggested in the cards, like for example reading books or listening to music, the cards will ask you to switch to an analog version: e.g. go to the bookshop in person instead of shopping for books online, finding out if there is a video store in your town, picking up a hardcopy newspaper, visiting an archive in person… things that were considered commonplace just a few years ago.
The cards also include a few specific sample places to go to or to check out, such businesses, organizations or events. For example, we recommend specific archives for the card with the title The archive, but since this kit can be used anywhere in the world, the particular archives printed on the card are only meant as illustrative examples for the kind of places we want you to experience. The kit comes with a few specific recommendations for your city or region on the personalized Extra cards which are prepared specifically for each order. If you plan on using the exploration kit in a town other than the one in your shipping address, you have the option to fill in the location the kit will be used in into a special field provided in the Young W shop. We will then make sure that the Extra cards cover that location.
Give yourself some offline time
While you are reading the cards and making plans for completing the prompts, you can use the satin ribbon and paper envelope from the kit’s original packaging to tie away your phone. Simply wrap up the phone in the instruction sheet and tie the ribbon around it, maybe with a bow tie. That way you have uninterrupted offline time that you can spend doing the prompts, browsing through your kit cards or using your fountain pen and notepad.
You can record details of your journey in the log book. For each prompt you complete you get one of the symbol stamps. The symbol corresponds to the symbol printed in the lower left hand corner of the prompt cards. There are five suits – all inspired by nature symbols found in The Sorrows of Young Werther: the cabbage, the tulip, the linden leaf, the maybug and the geese. The symbol stamps use actual stamp paper from The Portland Stamp Company and can be pasted into the log book the way you would a affix a real postage stamp.
And once you have collected five stamps in each of the five suits, you get your prize: a shiny embossed seal, specially made by hand for Young W by Any Key Press in Toronto. Cut two small pieces of ribbon – one in each colour – and place the seal together with the ribbon onto the certificate (letterpress-printed by Flycatcher Press in Toronto). Fill in your name, date and place onto the official certificate and keep this commemorative, personalized token of having completed the analog lifestyle kit – chapter 1 and of having discovered new ways to make your offline life flourish.
Want to get a free sample kit card (in .pdf format)?
Complete this quiz below to find out which card (& which symbol stamp) suits you best!
Question 1: How do you usually spend your weekends?
A. Choosing new paint colours for my home renovation project
B. Curled up with a book
C. Listening to music and making new playlists for myself
D. Working on my herb garden
E. Taking pictures around the house and everywhere I go
(Quiz photo credits: Pexels)