A Mideast Bond, Stitched of Pain and Healing This article is about a Palestinian little girl and an Israeli little boy both recovering from injuries inflicted by their respective enemies. Amazingly beautiful lesson on humanity.
When building a Tuscan retreat for himself and his
family, Piero Lissoni decided that simplicity was key. Visited by
filmmaker Matthew Donaldson for Nowness's edition of In Residence, the
Italian designer and architect created an elementary form that was
neither part of the vernacular, nor classic Italian pastiche. Keeping
faithful to the size and scale of the surrounding houses, he used a
concrete that is mixed with the local earth, giving it a characteristic
pinkish hue. The stunning landscape envelops the building, its cool,
hard lines playing off against the undulating hills. “There is a huge
connection between inside and out. I used windows like a super huge
screen. I don’t need films here: the theatre is outside, the movies are
outside.” The Milan-born innovator founded Lissoni Associati with
Nicoletta Canesi in 1986 and has since created an extensive catalogue of
designs for brands such as Kartell, Porro, Boffi, Cassina and Flos. His
house is filled with a combination of found objects, antique and
country furniture, and collected works from contemporaries like James
Irvine and Jasper Morrison. By his own admission, today Lissoni is lucky
enough to be able to pick and choose the projects he wants. The secret
of his success? “I like every year to be better than the year before and
to be very good at life, with friends, work, culture, books, food,
wine,” he notes. “It is a good obsession.”
Billy Zeb Smith is a filmmaker raised by an environmentalist explorer dad and a pioneer bohemian mother who was a Vogue Editor and is a top fashion designer. His world was to be explored as his father brought him to un chartered territory and his mother defined style from local and global inspirations with a handmade sensibility. They contributed to his awareness, vision, discipline and courage leading us to Billy Zeb's project and travel inspirations. He is one of the resourceful ones who embraced his upbringing and took it to his own level from early journeys. It was there his passion as a traveler and voice as a filmmaker and environmentalist emerged. I have known his intrepid mother for over ten years and watched, from an admiring distance, her son evolve into his own man taking conservation to the next generation. Today he is putting a spotlight on southeastern Panama in an area known as The Darien Gap, the subject of his upcoming documentary film, Where The Road Ends. See clip below:
"Where The Road Ends" is based based on Billy Zeb's initial travels with his father who introduced him to an ancient culture and a pristine "choke point" in southeastern Panama that literally stops on the Pan-American Highway running from Alaska to Chile.
"It is said you can drive from the tip of Alaska down to the tip of
Chile, the road trip to end all road trips. It is said, but it is not
so. Right smack in the middle of that network of nearly 30,000 miles of
roads that make up the famed Pan-American Highway is 60 miles of
pristine, virgin rain forest. The Darién Gap, in southeastern Panama, is a
10,000 square mile swath of untouched and uninterrupted jungle, and the
only land bridge between North and South America. There are no detours,
no side-roads, no other ways. This is the only place outside of Chile
and Alaska where The Road just.. Ends."
WHAT MAKES THE DARIÉN SO UNIQUE?
The Darién is home to three unique tribes of indigenous people: the Emberá, the Kuna, and the Wounaan. With the absence of roads, things like television and the Internet haven’t had the capability to impact their communities, allowing them to sustain the same types of lifestyles they have for millennia. This lack of impact hasn’t just benefited the local people: with the largest population of jaguars outside of the Amazon, along with an unrecorded amount of reptiles, fish, amphibians, bugs, over a thousand species of birds, and a constantly growing encyclopedia of plants and trees, the Darién is as vital an ecological zone as any on the planet, and the last of its kind in all of North America. The fact that it acts as a corridor between the North and South American continents only magnifies its importance. Is it in danger? YES!!!
Can you contribute?
From Where The Road Ends website, you can learn more about this story, the filmmaker, and how to help with donations to fund this project and raise awareness.The clip really illustrates the wonder of the story and the reason why Billy Zeb Smith is the person to tell it.
Meet Billy Zeb Smith. He’s here to share his travel tips, favorite trips,
and a story that takes you into the jungle at the end of the world’s
longest road, and alongside the indigenous people fighting its arrival.
1. Who are you?
My name is
Billy Zeb Smith, and I’m a documentary filmmaker.
2. What do you do (job or
I try to make
a difference by giving those without voices a platform and an audience.
3. Where are you right now?
Right now I’m
in a diner eating pancakes amidst a rare and lovely Los Angeles downpour.
the last place you’ve been?
I just came
back from a quick 36-hour trip to New York to meet with Eco Health Alliance,
Wildlife Conservation Society, and a couple production companies. I was also
able to team up with some friends over at Sons of Essex to throw a great event
to help bring awareness to the issues I’m focusing my next film on.
place you’re going/want to go?
I have a few
small trips planned over the next couple months, but the most important one I
have coming up is a return to the Darién Gap in southeastern Panama to start
production on this next project.
things you take with you on every trip?
My knife, my
camera, and pants.
7. Do you
book your own travel? If so, what websites do you most use or airlines do you
I tend to use
Kayak because it’s so easy. And some friends recently convinced me to focus my
travel rewards towards a singular collection of frequent flyer miles, so I’m
trying to travel with American and their affiliates as much as possible now. As
far as I could tell, they had the most wide-ranging partnerships around the
world, and they’re always offering some good deal on something.
your favorite foreign custom or tradition?
loved the strict and very culture-specific traditions surrounding tea and
coffee. From the very rigid rules of who pours and who tastes each serving of
coffee at the smallest of Bedouin camps, to the unique codes of order and
conduct within each and every tea ceremony from London to Tokyo. The customs
are very telling of the culture’s history, and for me it’s always very
heartwarming to be invited, as an outsider, to partake in something so
9. Have you
ever volunteered while traveling?
I try to
always volunteer while traveling. It has a twofold, win-win affect—it both
allows me to become organically immersed in the local community, and it helps
foreign communities learn a little more about Americans, and that we’re not all
greedy capitalists looking to pilfer and appropriate their country’s resources.
the best thing that’s happened to you on a trip that you didn’t plan for?
your favorite trip you’ve taken by yourself?
backpacking with NOLS for 6 weeks in Alaska when I was 13. My dad lied about my
age to get me in. I learned more about myself and my capabilities in those 6
weeks then all of high school combined.
12. Have you
ever stayed in touch with someone you met while traveling? Who are they and
what draws you to them?
I was very
fortunate to get to meet and spend a week with Arthur Demarest in northern
Guatemala while working for The History Channel a few years back, and we’ve
managed to keep in touch. Widely regarded as the “real-life Indiana Jones,”
he’s a wildly entertaining character. And with a life’s worth of field
knowledge and wisdom, coupled with a personality born in the bayou, educated at
Harvard, and developed in the jungles of Central America, each nightly
conversation we’ve shared has had the wine and chatter flowing until early the
would you say to someone that wants to travel, but struggles with time or
with a lot more excuses than you have taken that road less traveled, and it
intrinsically changed their lives forever. Fortunately, a lot of them wrote
about it. Let your eyes follow their stories, and your feet will find a way to
follow their paths.
someone came to your town what would you want to show them?
the season. After the past four days of cold rain down here at sea level, I’d
take them to the Eastern Sierras to make some fresh tracks.
would you travel to a second time?
this time I’d take a girlfriend.
16. What is
something that you’ve always wanted to do within 50 miles of your house?
the most adventurous thing you’ve done on a trip?
with a king cobra once. We both lost.
the biggest travel mistake you’ve ever made?
what make a trip an adventure. I try to make a bigger one with each new trip.
That said, I learned my lesson with snakes.
the best meal you’ve ever had?
the longest you’ve lived or visited outside of your home country?
I lived in an
extremely rural part of southern Paraguay for two months when I was 14. The
closest paved road was an hour and a half away by truck. I stayed with a local
family, and spent my days administering minor medical and dental care, and
installing latrines to families that were without. It’s not the longest I’ve
ever been away, or the furthest from home, but at that point in my life, it
seemed like a lifetime. And it changed the direction in which the rest of my
life was headed.
the furthest you’ve FELT from home?
The middle of
the Sahara in southern Libya. It’s also the furthest I’ve ever felt from Earth.
22. What has
traveling taught you about yourself?
taught me I am just as able as any to make a difference.
23. What has
traveling taught you about the world?
It is very
small. Until you go deep inside the jungle, or the desert, or the tundra or the
woods. Then it’s horrifyingly endless.
24. What does
it mean to you to Live Like You’re On Vacation?
I’ve been close to death in more
ways and on more occasions than most, so I make sure to live each day
deliberately and with purpose. But I enjoy myself thoroughly, and throughout it
all. I set my own clock and my own schedule, and will definitely work my ass
off on a Monday so I can go ski Tuesday. But life is a vacation. Every
day is like Christmas, except we get to decide what’s inside that box in front
of us. And if we all choose something we’re passionate about, the vacation will
I just got back from a weekend in Mammoth where clearly, the Autumn action is on in the mountain valleys near water sources and the spectacular terrain. In the Winter it's all about the mountain too because the town is a smattering of A Frames, oddball bakeries, ski shops, a ChartHouse here, a Whiskey Creek there, but what a gorgeous spot to be outside all year.
Hike and Soak on the Moonscape across from the glorious mountains
From The Sierras To The Bay Area's
Redwood Cozy Town
Handmade Antique Boutique
Moss & Moss Antiques Et Cettra
Think Slow Life at Disneyland's Pirate's of The Caribbean, or New Orleans atmospheric bars in the French Quarter ala The Napoleon, New England in October and your parent's liquor cabinet circa 1970's
Atmospheric Dream Career
As I wandered down the old world brick arcade on El Paseo after a rainy hike in Blithedale Canyon, I heard a live piano coming out of a shoppe. A stylish elderly couple decided to live out a fantasy. Create an atmosphere of nostalgic simplicity.Former ad execs now shopkeepers near Mt. Tam great Autumn hikes.
Since I moved from Mill Valley, I did not know the new shoppe-keepers. Then I met the couple Larry and Marjorie Moss the happy hosts of their creative imaginations. Their retail adventure is a great example of slow life realizing a hidden dream and having the courage to go for it. I was immediately drawn in by the dreamy piano. It was the perfect unexpected soundtrack of a rainy day. They helped reinvent the essence of Autumn in a town that had it's own essential magic. Their choreography of antiques and placement of harvesty witchy, colorful fare was spot on and adds a richness to the place. The pinks of the bougainvillea on the window and the orange of the wreaths, vibrant and gorgeous accented by their hand picked trinkets inspired me to write this. The Mosses were in advertising (a creative director) and film production (props and sets) and they never had a retail shoppe or collected antiques. A happy accident in a down economy, a new example of a dream come true.