Making it up as I go along

It wasn’t meant to be this way. Stumbling into Lebanon by mistake in 1998, I had planned to stay just long enough to see the three B’s: Beirut, Baalbak and Byblos.

Three, four days at the most, I told myself, then I’d be back on my way across Central Asia and finally, east to the new life I planned for myself as a stringer in Beijing.

Shanghai I have seen but all these years later, Beijing remains a distant dream. To my surprise - and my great delight - it is my beautiful, beloved Beirut – the world’s least probable city - that has become home, instead.

Some things, though, have happened exactly the way I planned. Well, more or less. I am a writer. First, in newspapers, then in magazines and afterwards for television, as script writer for several television shows and documentaries. My work has appeared in Wallpaper, the New York Post, the New York Times, the FT, Destinasian, Bespoke, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, on PBS and the now-defunct Dubai One TV. 

I’m an author, too. Seven books to date; four Wallpaper/ Phaidon cityguides, a collection of anecdotes about Beirut, co-authorship of a book on one of my favourite Lebanese architects and most recently, a collection of Instagram posts and microstories entitled Getting Lost in Lebanon.

The future, well, who knows? I’m working on two separate book projects at once, largely in the hopes that one of them will actually get finished. Meanwhile, I've now swapped wild and exciting Beirut for life in Spain, where I alternate between the urban delights of Barcelona and the rural charms of Carmona.


“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.
— Gilda Radner