AHL Insider:

Yasha Wallin

Writer, Editor and Co-Founder of The Usual

  • What do you do and how did you get here? 

    I’m a Berlin/NY-based writer, editor, and co-founder of The Usual. I got here after years running art galleries in NYC before diving into publishing full time, working on stories as diverse as sleeping in a haunted hotel while covering Stockholm Fashion Week, to interviewing Jennifer Lawrence in the middle of a snow storm. 

  • We are longtime fans of The Usual - tell us more about this publication and how it came to be. 

    The Usual started as a “Love letter to Montauk” in 2011. My partner/best friend Emily Anderson and I were spending a lot of time in this “drinking village with a fishing problem” and wanted to celebrate its surf culture and the creative community there. Plus, a lot of strange things have happened in Montauk: military mind control experiments, the invention of Sea Monkeys, prohibition era rum-running, and a local bar that serves mudslides as a delicacy.  To tell these stories, we started The Usual, a limited edition newsprint publication—perfect to read on the beach. We produce one issue a summer, and have only been threatened to be run out of town once, so the future looks bright. We’ve since gone on as The Usual Creative to develop collaborative content with Patagonia, EDITION Hotels, The Surf Lodge, Metallica, J.Crew and more, in our same cheeky style.

  • What inspires you daily? 

    Living in Berlin, I’m in the epicenter of Europe’s refugee situation. I’ve been fortunate to spend time with some of the young girls and boys who have left everything to start a life in an entirely new culture and country, often without their families. As someone who has the luxury to travel frequently for pleasure, their descriptions of how they got here and why puts a lot into perspective. In the creative space, I’m inspired by self-starters, humor, fearless women, and the endless imagination of my biz partner Emily.

  • How did you become involved in the travel + hospitality industry? 

    My first time out of the country alone was to Israel. I was completely out of my element and learned so much because of it, such as: the desert is really hot, hummus is amazing, not all men wear boxers. This early experience turned into insatiable wanderlust, and miraculously (for my wallet) that wanderlust turned into a career. I’ve since written about, and for, some of the most interesting hotels in the world, and about travel, art, and design for publications like Fodor’s, Interview, GOOD, The Guardian, Art in America, and, of course, AHL! 

  • Favorite trip you’ve ever taken? 

    A recent favorite was to Big Sur, CA. I’m from the Bay Area but hadn’t been there until last year. We slept in a glamorous tree house, hiked along breathtaking cliffs, spotted dolphins, and ate massive bear claws from Big Sur Bakery. I fell in love with my home state all over again.

  • Destination you daydream about visiting? 

    I just learned about an area called “Bohemian Switzerland.” I imagine a lot of dreadlocked bankers climbing through pristine mountains. Sounds idyllic.

  • More memorable travel mixup? 

    Before the days of iPhones, a friend and I tried to bike from Spain to France. We took an ambitious stab at it, riding six hours through steep mountains in baking heat, running out of water, reaching the hallucinatory stage, and finally finding a clearing back to civilization. We quickly learned we had gone in a perfect circle, ending up in the same spot we started. Naturally, we then hopped on a train to France and hit up the bar car.

  • Is there anyone you’re admiring in the industry?

    Anyone with an eye on sustainability, making travel an option and as incredible for future generations. Separately, in Berlin, I like what London chefs Johnnie Collins and Tommy Tannock have done at the new-ish Soho House Store. Their healthy / experimental food concept paired with The Store’s vibe—part hotel lobby, co-working space, interior designers’ dream and retail shop—makes for a great overall experience. 

  • Where will you be on your next day off? 

    I just booked a surf trip to Portugal’s Algarve. I'm looking forward to swallowing a lot of the Atlantic Ocean in pursuit of hanging ten.

  • What will you be doing a few years from now? 

    Everything I’m doing now but on a larger scale, and hopefully with the ability to impact or help people more, with an abundance of freedom, friends, and family around. I had to get a new passport and am excited about getting it liberally stamped.

  • If you could invite anyone to a party - dead or alive - who would it be? 

    Obama post-White House. He’s going to be partying so hard.