About & Contact

When you’re born in one place and then continue to move to another every three to four years, a sense of belonging is not something you’re imbued with. It has its pros and cons. I was born in Austria, grew up mostly in Germany, spoke Turkish at home and became a “native” English speaker when we ventured to the U.S. during my pubescence. After spending more than seven years completing various degrees at American universities, I was about ripe for something new, so I moved to Istanbul in 2011.

Since then I’ve been exploring and writing about the exhausting (but also somehow endearing) chaos of Istanbul, which has presented itself as a seemingly inexhaustible source of inspiration, allowing me to revel in my talent for observation and writing. I’ve worked on countless travel/culture articles about Istanbul (and Turkey in general), texts for coffee table books, translations and more in-depth and inspired profiles.

After years of living an itinerant life, Istanbul was the first place that felt familiar, even though it very often infuriated me. It still does. In 2015 I fell in love with a German architect (who is now my husband) and moved to Berlin.

I’m currently working on my own Istanbul guidebook (to be released in February 2019) and I’m always open to new commissions and projects, so please feel free to contact me at fyalav@gmail.com.

Photo by Mirka Pflüger

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