Under Construction

You may have noticed many changes here at Yallah’Bye. In fact, we’re now operating under the banner of Nicholas Andriani–reserving Yallah’Bye for my manuscript alone. Over the next week pages will come and go as we transform this site into a portfolio to showcase my writing and promote my memoir “Yallah’Bye.”

Expect to see many changes. The addition of video, more guest bloggers, weekly features, new art, fresh recipes and experimental features.

I will continue to blog, as per usual, in my slow motion kind of way. For me, it’s all about taking one’s time. To soak in my surroundings, become grounded, enjoy all things from the cellular level to the cosmic. Slow food, slow travel, slow writing, slow-poke–that’s me.

I’m extremely excited to reveal our new vision with you.

As always–Yallah’Bye

 

Posted in Art, Blogging, memoir, Travel, travel writing, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Sketching Sights: Burma on My Mind

Before the world can truly reveal itself you must take a period of meditation. A time of reflection. To pre-game, to set a cosmic course of action by stating your intentions and making them manifest. This is the driving force behind Sketching Sights. To become one with the elements of each and every environment that strikes me.

Dreaming of old Bagan I left brush and paint to guide themselves across the stars to secure my itinerary.

Burma on my mind

Scattered about the enchanting valley of Bagan are the remains of some 2,000 structures (monasteries, temples and pagodas). Historically this land housed over 4,000–each one thoughtfully placed and with purpose.

With this country of monks, gold clad domes and incantations opening its doors I see no other location more relevant to our cause at Yallah’Bye. That is, to document indigenous cultures at risk in this world of globalization.

Burma 2015?

Until next time–Yallah’Bye

Posted in Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, asia, Backpacking, Blogging, Culture, Hiking, history, memoir, Poetry, Sketching Sites, tbex, Travel, travel writing, Watercolor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Rally For A Two-State Solution

Last weekend I took part in a polarizing protest.

And, I want you to know, dear reader, before proceeding, that I hold no anti-muslim nor anti-semitic sentiments. My opinion is neither religious (for some they sure have made it out to be) nor ethnic (for some they sure have made it out to be).

I’ll let my friends at the organization Jewish Voice for Peace take over for a moment-

This is a bloody mess, and pointing fingers will only breed hysteria. The blame game needs to end and we must lay the groundwork for a new era in Israeli/Palestinian relations.

This needs to start at home. By educating ourselves thoroughly and logically.

Avoid the media. Apparently, their responsibility to share unbiased news is far less important than swaying viewers for greater profit. They perpetuate half-truths and hype, lacking humanity and self-respect.

Drop the religions, the preconceptions. Look to the facts. Be rational and calm. Forget Israel, forget Palestine. Forget all emotion you’ve invested in this conflict and read the history of these two nations independent from what you’ve been told your whole life. Start from the beginning and formulate your own conclusion. Because, I promise you, it won’t be that which Fox news is screaming in their own brand of terrorism.

I condemn them. Fox News, Israel, Hamas. Way to perpetuate violence. “Eye for an eye”, how Babylonian. (That’s so 1772… BCE) Real progressive.We must look to the philosophies of Gandhi, of Mandela and others who overcame apartheid with astounding results by instigating a non-violent movement.

Wherever your allegiance lies, just remember that we can only get through this together. Right, left, Jew, Muslim, Christian, whatever–we need each other, and we have to acknowledge this with compassion.

Though I stand in support of a two-state solution I remain hand in hand with Palestine.

IMG_3163

Photo credit to Jo Larmore

IMG_3162

IMG_3160

IMG_3142



IMG_3159

IMG_3138

IMG_3164

Photo Credit to Alma Habib

 


I wanted to wish all the Muslims out there a merry Eid al-Fitr. Sending good vibes your way, despite the major gastronomy-envy I’m feeling!

Until next time–Yallah’Bye

 

Posted in Blogging, Culture, gaza, history, Islam, israel, Kansas City, Middle East, NYC, palestine, politics, Travel, USA, west bank | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Abbot Kinney Part II: ZenBunni

We stumbled away from Another Kind of Sunrise high on good food and despite this the lure of chocolate never wore off. I felt like a child longing for a view into Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory. Knowing that what lies beyond contained the secret of cacao alchemica; that is, the transformation of cacao from plant to biodynamic and holy confections.

Rounding the alley we found ourselves in the presence of a true American pioneer- ZenBunni

IMG_0431

Overturned turtle shells emit a soft glow as they light a path through the rabbit hole.

Bohemian and whimsical in equal measure the storefront carries the timeless essence of passion and sustainability. After repurposing an old broom closet husband and wife -Zen and Bunni- created this space using clay and mud from their property outside Los Angeles. If that isn’t admirable enough, this was followed by a final dusting of cacao powder (the walls are chocolate!). Thus encouraging any and all to take a trip down the rabbit hole.

IMG_0435

Packets of hand selected chocolate mingle with pine cones and antlers on display for a quick fix.

Below the counter ten artfully prepared recipes await for you to explore the world of dopamine enhancers.

IMG_0433 IMG_0434

This is the kind of chocolate in which it’s a shame to chew. That which you’re drawn to for the sensation of all those well balanced compounds like phenylethylamine and cannibinoids; a recipe for childlike giddiness.

We sample the “Lost Salt of Atlantis” following up with an order for the Rainbow Pack (which comes with 9 chocolates and a little crystal) and several bars (Maui Turmeric Ginger, Cali Almond and the Shiva Rose). It’s hard not to smile after breaking a bar in your mouth. Sit back and let the good times roll. But know your limit. Between Jaclyn and myself, we could have cleaned out this store in one sitting!

IMG_0398

With one final pass we bid farewell to Zen as our last day in Los Angeles comes to a close.

IMG_0400

In the alleyway between ZenBunni and Another Kind of Sunrise.


Our original plan had us on the road, leaving L.A. at 9am. It was just past noon as we left ZenBunni. And that is how to travel consciously.

Abandon your precepts and break the rules. Otherwise ZenBunni, Another Kind of Sunrise would have been nothing more than chalkboards I probably wouldn’t have seen and Abbot Kinney just another place-name on a map.

One last thing–ZenBunni is up for a Guinness World Record for smallest chocolate shop. How cool is that?!

until next time–yallah’bye

 *Photo credits to Jaclyn Joslin

Posted in airbnb, American Road Trip, Art, Backpacking, Blogging, california, City Guide, Food, foodie, gastronome, Gastronomia, Gastronomy, Review, Road Trip, Travel, travel writing, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Tbex and The Great Travel Writers Campaign

Calling all philanthropists, all investors. This year brings my first opportunity to attend the travel writers conference, Tbex, in Cancun, Mexico and i’m looking for a little support in the financial arena. Now, I know that sounds like a load of drunken debauchery in the midst of Maya ruins but there is just so much more to it!

Between the 11th and 14th of September, Tbex will include one-on-one networking with experts in the travel industry. Writers, businesses, publishers and masters of this or that field. Three days of lectures, classes, and hands-on training. All of which could propel me from the seat of an amateur to a full-time professional travel writer.

Since 2012 i’ve been working on my memoir chronicling archaeological research and cultural exchanges across the Middle East. A time immediately after the great Arab Spring and before the hopes and dreams of the Syrian uprising became a brutal civil war. By attending this conference I will be able to pitch my manuscript to a wide audience of publishing houses while also making my name relevant.

Here are the links to my campaign and to the official Tbex site.

If nothing more please share this campaign with your community. Any support would be extremely appreciated. All sponsorship and contributions will be noted.


 

A special thank you to my first donor Kaori Nishimoto of Fragments of Travel. Kaori “Likes traveling, talking with locals, and finding “common” in different culture”. Her Instagram feed dazzles from Morocco in the west to Japan and China in the East. With an eye for detail she captures the soul of travel through the art of photography. Do be sure to pay a visit to her site.

33% funded thus far!

Thank you and Yallah’Bye

Posted in Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, Backpacking, Blogging, foodie, Gastronomy, history, memoir, spiritual, tbex, tbex cancun, Travel, travel writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Abbot Kinney Part I: Another Kind of Sunrise

All cities come equipped with a beating heart. A cultural core that stimulates the genius in urbanites giving them a unique identity to stand apart from the rest of the world. Some cities, like Los Angeles, race to the tune of several hearts and it was on our way out of L.A. that we came across one such nucleus while on the hunt for breakfast in a seemingly deserted town at 9am. IMG_0405

It was reggae music that came first, then voices and finally we found ourselves part of a small crowd, down a tight alley, in front of a makeshift cafe where a young woman stood with confidence between the grinding of coffee beans and noting of detailed orders.  We were the last in what became a line as the crowd dispersed leaving us alone with chef Lela Buttery.

Another Kind of Sunrise

IMG_0388

IMG_0404

Biologist and self-described food sorcerer, Lela “yes, my last name really is Buttery,” Buttery projects her addicting personality and revolutionary approach to diet.  Talking us through her own philosophies and menu items such as Buttery Brew and Paleo Granola we were quickly becoming entranced.

IMG_0385

After placing our order (Buttery Brew, Farfurina’s Paleo Granola, a Meri Acai Bowl and a Dandelion-Lavender-Ginger Tea) we set out on a tour around the tight alley.

Not only the chocolatier but a handful of other merchants lie beyond the cafe/cereal house.

IMG_0395

Trail marker. So that Hat-maker, that’s Nick Fouquet-local Mad Hatter=He who made not only a personalized head piece for Madonna but also Pharrell.

IMG_0396

Urban jungle. The alley which holds many, many secrets.

IMG_0398

ZenBunni: It’s clear that there be something magical behind these closed doors. But sadly the doors were locked shut.

Food ready Lela called us back to the cafe at the entrance of this quirky alley.

IMG_0402

With the Buttery Coffee to wash it all down I dove into my Paleo granola a boy and emerged a caveman (no offense Neanderthals), in a complete food-centric rage. Ravaging every morsel of berry and gluten-free granola. All balanced by the tart grass-fed whole-milk yogurt. Jaclyn was equally pleased with her spicy gingery tea and acai bowl.

Lela gave us the rundown on Buttery Coffee and the wrongful villainization of butter in our society. Freshly roasted coffee beans (from Handlebar Coffee) are brewed and married to equal parts ghee and raw coconut oil. It’s royal, decadent, smoothly silken, and seductive. All without being overly sweet. I’ve never been fond of coffee, nor lattes, nor mocha-whatevers. This miraculous concoction spoke my language.

Jaclyn and I move about the cafe, savoring our bowls of cereal and sipping our brews like children with hot chocolate on Christmas morning.

IMG_0389

What treasures are to be found if you follow the trail of the UniWolfCheetah?

IMG_0386

Art and greenery envelop the alley giving it an organic, natural feel.

IMG_0392

*A note on the UniWolfCheeta- Diana Garcia is the mastermind behind these Unicorn-Wolf-Cheetah hybrids which are part of her series titled “I’m Not a Wolf”. Indeed, you are not a wolf. They can be seen down the street on Abbot Kinney, in Mexico City, NYC, and Austin, Texas. This mytical creature gets around, you could say.

IMG_0390

 Only a quarter of the way through the alley we’re ready to move on to the next shop as the rest of Abbot Kinney stirs to life. We meet the owner of ZenBunni, a regular at AKOSunrise as he ordered his breakfast and assured us that the shop would now be open.

On we march to chocolate paradise where the door has been peeled away leading us down a rabbit hole…

Let’s save that for next time


P.S. I can’t close without noting that the food sorcerer, Lela Buttery, authored a book titled We Can Do Butter. It’s an informative goldmine covering sustainable living and sourcing better quality food. Full for recipes, scientific evaluations, and logic the book serves it’s purpose well. If you’re one to question the world of commercially processed foods do take a look at her site.

Abbot Kinney Part II: ZenBunni

until next time–yallah’bye

*All photos taken by Jaclyn Joslin

Posted in American Road Trip, Art, Backpacking, Blogging, City Guide, Culture, Food, foodie, gastronome, Gastronomia, Gastronomy, Road Trip, Travel, travel writing, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

A case in Airbnb

There’s a new craze going from town to town, calling on travelers to break the mundane and deconstruct that rigid barrier between local and outsider. This movement is manifest in vehicles such as Airbnb.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept think of it as a refined, more mature approach to hosteling or couchsurfing. Which never really took off in the US so I decided to try my hand at this more popular alternative.

Maybe it’s the communal aspect or the in-house local expertise that I find more inviting but I’ve realized that hotels now feel too impersonal to me. Sure, it’s great to unwind after a day of sightseeing in a private suite but that’s not why I travel.

It’s more about sharing stories with people of other vocations and nationalities.

Airbnb allows for unprecedented twists on traditional travel. Instead of the Hilton in Marrakech, rent a Riad inside the Medina. Avoid that resort on the Mediterranean by staying in a secluded bungalow on the same beach but away from “touristopolis”. In fact, it’s easier to rent a castle than to book a room at an all-inclusive resort through their website! They’re on to something and I’m on to them.

So we decided it was time to give Airbnb a chance. Two weeks ago today Jaclyn and I found ourselves in California, at the front door of a stranger’s house that we met online. Nothing kinky, just a little getaway for my 25th birthday.

It had taken a while to narrow down our choices for accommodation. From furnished houses to empty apartments we searched until coming across the listing “Cabin in the Garden”. A 20 minute walk from the beach the cabin shares property with a communal house of four, a tree house overlooking a vegetable garden, and serves as a spiritual retreat from the Los Angeles beat.

We had several interactions with our host via email and poured through reviews left by previous guests. It was clear that this home was an open place. One that welcomes all people and strives to leave little impact on our planet. Quirky hippie vibes and a “come as you are” mentality was invite enough.

When it came down to it we found ourselves spending half the price we would have for a hotel in the area. Our host and other house guests fed us priceless information about local restaurants, helped us weigh what sights were worth seeing versus those of hype, and made us feel like a part of LA.

But if there’s still an air of awkwardness when you walk up to the front door of a stranger’s house who is about to open their world to you–just embrace it and go with the flow. Otherwise, book that hotel room that would cost twice as much.

 

IMG_0366

The “Cabin in the Garden” or “Cabin” in the Garden… Rustic, but very comfortable. Bordered by a fig tree and overlooking their garden.

 

IMG_0356

Interior of our “Cabin”. Has the feeling of an artists studio. Complete with floor pillows, books on yoga, and a loft space for the bed

 

The Pod

The Pod- Another accommodation on site. Designed by one of the residents who found inspiration in her time living off-the-grid in Latin America. Similar to the Cabin on the inside the Pod stands apart in its organic design and placement in the garden itself.

unnamed-4

The tree house- While it isn’t listed on Airbnb would be a great place to spend the night under the ever so cool breeze of the Pacific winds. Equipped with prayer flags, hammock, and clothesline- what more could you want?

unnamed-3

Ah, the bountiful Lemon tree. I’m already missing the fragrant wind that swirled around the sweet aromas of the garden. There’s no wasted space. Plants and nooks in every corner.

 

unnamed

A link in their chain of well laid garden space.

unnamed-1

Everything has it’s place.

How could we not walk away with a sense of peace? Overall our visit couldn’t have been better–moving with the Angelenos in their easy-going ebb and flow contradicting the norms of “big city” livin’. It’s a wonderful place.

Interested in booking the Cabin in the Garden? Here’s the link- LINK

until next time–yallah’bye

*photo credits to Jaclyn Joslin

Posted in airbnb, california, City Guide, Culture, hotel, Review, Road Trip, Travel, travel writing, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments