For You The Traveller is a limited edition book printed on recycled paper with hand-drawn maps, covered with salvaged rabbit fur, and hand-bound with a Tasmanian oak spine. Like a little black book, it includes the names and phone numbers of 26 people across the globe who are happy to offer tips and life lessons to travelers and who the Iranian-born New Zealand author Nabil Sabio Azadi has met in his own itinerant travels.
“I wanted the people to be from all over the world and diverse in every way—age, race, geography, politics, profession—and the uniting characteristic had to be an inclination to help travelers both in a practical sense and in a more esoteric or spiritual way,” says Azadi. “I tried to ensure that the book leads the reader evenly through large metropolitan cities and rural areas across as many countries and continents as possible. The stories they share about themselves in the book are very beautiful — they’re lessons from their lives, personal parables. There’s so much you can learn just by reading them.”
Designers such as Rick Owens and Rei Kawakubo own volumes, but the book has not been for sale in the US until now. The release of the book was staggered across the world with a certain number available to every region at a certain time so while the total number of books made remains at 200, Barneys is now selling the final 18 books available to Americans. All proceeds will go to Nouvelle Planète, dedicated to building footbridges near Ambano, Madagascar.
Growing up in multicultural New Zealand, Azadi spent his time equally with white New Zealanders, Maori, Samoans, Tongans, Cook Islanders, Chinese and Indians.
“In retrospect it seems natural I should stop all my photography and sculpture to make a guide to the world, a guide through people and their stories, some antidote to loneliness on the road, says Azadi. “My concept of Home is myself and almost everywhere. It has nothing to do with where I sleep.”
Fortunately for him, everything he owns fits easily in a 4WD—and rather snugly in a sedan. Azadi first traveled on his own at the age of thirteen to England, where his older brother was living in London, and to France, a country he had loved since the age of nine, teaching himself to speak French and planning itineraries. Since then, he has traveled the world (and spent nearly two years in Paris since then.)
Unlike many travelers, Azadi knows bars and restaurants in most cities more than he knows galleries and museums. For You The Traveller won’t include any tourist hotspots, restaurants or hotels, but he hopes you will learn much more than that: “To every one their own quarrel, to every one their own moral! I hope you all find answers if not something more helpful.”
Right now, he calls Brisbane and Australia at large base camp. Upcoming projects include three new bodies of photography and sculptures and a limited edition collection of furniture and homeware.
And where does the roving artist want to end up?
“I will die in New Zealand if I have my way. I will add here in case some celestial force is listening that I would prefer it if it were a little later than right now as I almost did die in New Zealand driving through Waioka Gorge earlier this year.”