The Oasis of Haydarpasa Cemetery

Posted on Feb 7, 2017 in Culture, Turkey | No Comments
The Oasis of Haydarpasa Cemetery

It’s not easy to find quiet places in Istanbul. The city fizzes with relentless energy, buzzy and bustling, crowded and crunching up against your shoulder. But one of my favorite quiet places is hiding in plain sight. Haydarpasa Cemetery was established in the mid-19th century as a resting place for British soldiers, and exists as […]

Istanbul’s Hidden Botanical Garden

Posted on Oct 10, 2016 in Culture, Turkey | No Comments
Istanbul’s Hidden Botanical Garden

The Atasehir neighborhood on Istanbul’s Asian side is a mess of highways and mismatched ugly skyscrapers; it’s emphatically unpleasant and I rarely have an excuse to stop there. But tucked between off-ramps and building cranes is a little oasis, incongruous in this wasteland of urban blight. Hidden among the highways is the Nezahat Gokyigit Botanical […]

Driving Into The Desert, Part 3: Salvation Mountain

Posted on Aug 25, 2016 in Culture, Stories and Essays, USA | No Comments
Driving Into The Desert, Part 3: Salvation Mountain

In case you missed it, here’s Part 1 and here’s Part 2. In 1980, a man named Leonard Knight walked into the desert outside Niland, California and built a monument to God. Like many wild dreams, it collapsed almost immediately. So he tried again, reconstructing his hill of adobe and paint. This time, it took. He […]

Driving Into The Desert, Part 2: The Salton Sea

Posted on Aug 24, 2016 in Culture, Stories and Essays, USA | No Comments
Driving Into The Desert, Part 2: The Salton Sea

In case you missed it, here’s Part 1. Before we reached our ultimate destination of Salvation Mountain, there was another weird pilgrimage to make deep in the California desert. It sneaks up like a mirage, shimmering under the overcast skies. It’s easy to imagine that it’s the hallucination of desert wanderers dying of thirst, except […]

Driving Into The Desert, Part 1: Hicksville, USA

Posted on Aug 23, 2016 in Culture, Stories and Essays, USA | 2 Comments
Driving Into The Desert, Part 1: Hicksville, USA

The most splendid adventures rarely go according to plan. My sister Hillary and I schemed an epic trip into the Southern California desert, visiting a bizarre isolated art piece, staying at a cool and quirky accommodation, and photographing as much as possible. We’ve done stuff like this before. We went to Ljubljana just to see Metelkova […]

A Girls Wine Weekend In Georgia

Posted on Jun 23, 2016 in Culture, Georgia | 2 Comments
A Girls Wine Weekend In Georgia

I spent nearly three weeks in Tbilisi in 2013 and have raved about it since. Elayne was leaving Turkey soon. Kristin had recently visited Batumi and was eager to return to Georgia. I’d been aching for an excuse to get back since summer 2013, when I spent those weeks based in Tbilisi. We schemed, we planned. […]

The Concrete Splendor Of Sancaklar Mosque

Posted on May 6, 2016 in Culture, Turkey | No Comments
The Concrete Splendor Of Sancaklar Mosque

It’s no secret that I am drawn to strange buildings, from the Brutalist behemoths I learned to love in Boston to the concrete Communist monuments left to die in the Bulgarian countryside. Istanbul is rightfully better known for its Ottoman splendor and early 20th-century baroque than its soulless 70’s apartment buildings and incongruous Atasehir skyscrapers, […]

A Day At The Broad

Posted on Mar 3, 2016 in Culture, USA | No Comments
A Day At The Broad

I’ve been vocal about my love for LA. Forget Hollywood, forget the insipid stereotype– Los Angeles spills over with creative and driven people, live music, weird projects, natural beauty, unexpected history, and world-class art museums. I thrill every time I return. When I visited in December, Hillary and I were looking forward to checking out […]

The Istanbul Hotel Wes Anderson Would Love

Posted on Dec 4, 2015 in Culture, Turkey | 2 Comments
The Istanbul Hotel Wes Anderson Would Love

I didn’t read the fine print. I have this terrible habit of visiting exhibitions in Istanbul just before they close, waiting until it’s down to the wire to experience the wonder. It’s not intentional, but constantly happens. I saw the Magnum Contact Sheets exhibit in the Istanbul Modern just days before it closed, and it […]

I Came for Buzludzha: An Abandoned Bulgarian Wonder

Posted on Nov 9, 2015 in Bulgaria, Culture | 2 Comments
I Came for Buzludzha: An Abandoned Bulgarian Wonder

It was the pictures that caught my attention. A giant UFO-shaped Socialist monument on top of a mountain.  A piece of crumbing concrete art, the pinnacle of that captivating Communist era. THIS, above all else, is why I really came to Bulgaria. They call it Buzludzha. Bulgaria is still strewn with these monuments, but not […]