Venice Beach @ Pacific & Windward: LAblocks

Here’s the second episode of my new travel show, LAblocks!

Smack dab in the middle of the Venice Beach boardwalk is the awesome block Pacific & Windward. It’s a hodge podge of Snapchat employees, struggling artists, and the very rich.  Pacific & Windward and Venice Beach in general is a place where bums and billionaires rub shoulders more than other parts of town in Los Angeles.  Looking at the history of this neighborhood helps you understand why.  Venice was founded by Abbot Kinney at the turn of the 20th century, and he wanted to create the “Coney Island of the west coast.”  He also wanted to make the neighborhood resemble Venice, Italy, and proceeded to build canals out of the marshland that existed.  Due to plumbing problems, the canals began to reek, so the only people who would brave the vile stench were artists looking for cheap rent.  And so the culture of artists living in Venice Beach was born.  Once the automobile came into prominence, almost all of Abbot Kinney’s canals were paved over and turned into streets.  It wasn’t until the 1990s when some canals were restored and the plots of land surrounding them quickly became some of the most expensive pieces of property in Los Angeles.  Hence, the billionaires.

Luckily, you don’t need to be a billionaire to enjoy the Venice Beach block of Pacific & Windward.  If you’re looking for swimwear, a board, or maybe a surf lesson, check out Mollusk Surf Shop.  After catching some waves, refuel by eating at Bank of Venice, a restaurant built inside a former bank.  Might as well peruse the 15,000 items available at the Gotta Have It vintage clothing store, too.  Then why not get a little caffeine fix at Menotti’s, named after the owner of the speakeasy that existed on this block during Prohibition.  Or if caffeine isn’t your thing, Windward Juice offers organic, cold pressed Clover juice in a quaint alley setup.  And round out your day at Pacific & Windward with a stiff drink at Townhouse Venice, a bar that has continuously operated since 1915, even during Prohibition (shh, don’t tell anyone).

If you liked this video, hop on over to our YouTube page and subscribe to our channel!

Oct 2015
POSTED BY travelbugrobert

Downtown Los Angeles @ 5th & Spring: LAblocks

Here is the first episode of my new, hip, and–dare I say–awesome travel show, LAblocks.  If you haven’t heard of this show yet, I won’t hold it against you.  The hook of the series is that we explore Los Angeles “one block at a time.”  So, each episode takes you to a different underrated and totally amazing intersection of LA.  And in five minutes or less, we show you all the art, architecture, history, restaurants, stores, and stories on that block.

This first “block” almost has too much stuff to do. Located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, 5th & Spring has gorgeous architecture from the turn of the 20th Century. In that era, this LA neighborhood was considered the “Wall Street of the West,” having several banks right next to one another.  Now those former banks have been converted into modern day stores, and man do they look cool. You can still feel the history of the Downtown Los Angeles buildings when you step into a bank vault to grab a used book at The Last Bookstore or walk through a safe on your way to the bathroom at intermission at the Los Angeles Theatre Center (LATC).

And if you’re at 5th & Spring on the second Thursday of the month, you can check out the Downtown LA Art Walk and might even encounter a street musician like Red Violet playing a killer tune on the sidewalk.  When you don’t want the party to end in Downtown Los Angeles, maybe grab a nightcap at BUZZ wine beer shop, where the libations keep flowing until 2am.

If you liked this video, hop on over to the LAblocks YouTube page and subscribe to our channel!  Or check out even more LAblocks videos at!

Jul 2015
POSTED BY travelbugrobert

LAblocks, my new travel show!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, but that’s because I’ve been cooking up a new show.  And I’m excited to say, it’s finally ready to take out of the oven!  The show is called LAblocks.  Tagline: “Exploring LA one block at a time.” I’m really excited about it. LA has so many vastly different neighborhoods to explore, and we’re going to explore them all!

There’s just one little catch to watch our show: we need you to subscribe on YouTube.  Once we have 1,000 subscribers, then we’ll release our first episode, 5th and Spring, which is a block in Downtown LA–and let me tell you, it’s quite a block.  So watch our trailer, subscribe, and tell your friends!

Jan 2015
POSTED BY travelbugrobert

Argentina and Brazil in Under Five Minutes

This is my overview video of my “Filmmaker of the Year” grand prize trip from Tripfilms.  It’s pretty hard to capture my entire trip in just one video, and yet I still tried.  In case this gets you itchin’ for more of my South America travels, you can check out my other posts about the trip here.


Toronto’s Walk of Fame vs. Hollywood’s Walk of Fame

Walking in the Entertainment District of Downtown Toronto, I discovered their Walk of Fame.  It’s actually called Canada’s Walk of Fame, and it honors well known Canadians with a tile on the pavement, just like in Hollywood.  People like Michael J. Fox, William Shatner, Jim Carrey, Wayne Gretzky, Alex Trebek, Shania Twain, and Joni Mitchell.  Or Robbie Robertson, the guitar player for The Band:


Looking at these names really pointed out to me what influence Canadians have had in the entertainment industry.  Sure, I knew a lot of America’s well known comedians are actually Canadian (Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, Mike Myers), but there are some seriously heavy hitting entertainers from Canada.  Louis B. Mayer?  As in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer?  As in the founder of MGM?  Dude’s Canadian.  I’m just glad he cut that hockey scene from The Wizard of Oz.


Since I live in Los Angeles, I couldn’t stop myself from comparing Canada’s Walk of Fame to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.  I made a pros/cons list for Canada’s.  Here it is:


-Doesn’t smell like urine.

-No homeless guys sleeping in doorways.

-Refreshing lack of racist cartoon characters posing for pictures.

-Next to a lovely park.

-Traffic not congested and the drivers are very polite.

-You always feel safe walking down the street.

-Not even one juiced up dude reeking of cologne.

-Aspiring, amateur “musicians” aren’t busking on the street hoping to be discovered by an agent.

-Devoid of party girls drunkenly stumbling along the sidewalk on a “girls night out” bender.


-It’s not Hollywood.

Jun 2013
POSTED BY travelbugrobert

Hotel Alone

So I’m up in Toronto for a travel blogging convention called TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange).  Yeah, they actually have a convention for travel bloggers.  Go figure.  But I guess it’s pretty easy to fill an international travel convention with travel bloggers, since travel bloggers like to travel.  This could be the most meta convention there is, unless steel workers are having one at a construction site somewhere.

That’s not why I’m writing this post.  I’m writing this post because for the first time in my life, I’m staying in a hotel room by myself.  Here’s a picture:


Here’s another one:


Huge, right?  Now, this isn’t me bragging.  First off, I wouldn’t be staying at this place if it weren’t for the incredible TBEX discount I got.  And still, even with the discount, I’m spending more on accommodations than I’ve ever spent before anywhere.  But the price does include a hot breakfast, free internet, and the hotel is right in downtown Toronto, a few minutes walk from the convention.  As the TV show Parks and Recreation says, “Treat yourself.”  The room is twice as expensive as a hostel, but I would argue it’s at least three times as luxurious.  So if I go by my sound, mathematical logic, I’m making out pret-ty well.

I’ve stayed in hotel rooms before, but I’ve always shared them.  I’ve had to share the bathroom and the closet space and argue over what to watch on TV.  And when I stayed in hostels?  Forget it.  It’s communal everything in those places.  Not so in Toronto.  Right now, I feel like Kevin McCallister in Home Alone after he happily realizes he has the entire house to himself.  And then he has that really fun montage of all the awesome stuff he does, like ordering a cheese pizza and scaring the delivery guy with firecrackers.

I’m basically living that movie.  I have a lovely hotel room just for me.  Already, I’ve taken advantage of my independence.  Just scattered my luggage throughout the room.  I’ve got the space!  Why not?  And it’s not like someone’s going to tell me to put it away neatly.  I can do whatever I want!  I’m an adult!  Yeah, I don’t need six pillows on my bed, but they gave me six pillows.  I’m going to sleep with six pillows!  It’s possible.  I’ll figure out how.  Don’t have to close the door when I use the bathroom.  Who’s going to look?  No one!  I’m an adult!

I know later in Home Alone, Kevin gets incredibly lonely and realizes he can’t live without his family.  But that’s after, like, a lot of real fun scenes.  Remember when he buys the toothpaste and has to run onto the skating rink to escape a policeman?  Or when he scares off bumbling burglars with his quick thinking and keen use of shadow puppets?  I mean, yeah, eventually Kevin looks deep within himself and realizes human connections are crucial to experiencing life at its fullest, but I’m not going to get all existential over one weekend alone in a hotel room.  Nope.  It’s just giant bowls of ice cream and watching late night scary movies for me.

May 2013
POSTED BY travelbugrobert