The Velvet Rocket
Online Magazine

The Velvet Rocket focuses on a mix of conflict and travel, but also endeavors to blend in the bizarre, the beautiful and the interesting for good measure. Long-suffering readers will discover that The Velvet Rocket is also about the personal sometimes as its editor and correspondents seem unable to refrain from talking about themselves on occasion…

Our Correspondents:


“Emir” has reported for us from Ukraine’s self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic throughout the course of that conflict. As he mingles with both sides and sends us material that would certainly get him accused of being a spy, Emir wishes to maintain his anonymity. So, I have not used his real name or published a picture of him.

Bernie Debusmann


I’m a proud half-German born in Mexico, but by some stroke of luck now find myself enjoying the sun and dodging Lamborghinis in Dubai. I’m a journalist and I love to travel, but would love to do more of both. Prior to Dubai I spent a year in London getting an MA and conducting a thorough anthropological study of London’s lovely pub creatures. Before that I worked for Reuters TV in my home town of Mexico City – which is and always will be my favourite place on earth. I also used to cover City Hall and the NYPD for Reuters in New York City and worked on the Latin American TV Desk in Washington DC. I’ve eaten mystery meat from street stalls – and gotten sick – across Latin America. I’ve written about everything from Mexico’s drug trafficking scene to art fraud to dog grooming. I’m an avid student of history and in my spare time I’m working – rather unsuccessfully – on my surfing.

Eleonora Giuliani


Born and raised in Rome, I started traveling at a young age through Eastern Europe with my father shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. These early experiences fostered my interest in visiting destinations that are unheard of or simply viewed as unusual. A bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages in Rome and a master’s degree in Interpreting and Translation in London helped open more doors for me by allowing me to communicate with far more people than simply those in my native language. This deeper exposure to people from different countries and very different backgrounds sparked an interest in photography for me as I wanted to capture these unique people and places I love interacting with. I now work as a freelance photojournalist with a focus on areas of conflict.

Aside from her association with The Velvet Rocket and her freelance work, Eleonora is a regular contributor to LiberoReporter.

You can follow her on Instagram here.

Your Editor:

Justin Ames

I am of the opinion that goats and accordions are wildly underappreciated. I love watching displays of excess. I used to work for an investment bank in the City. I’m a sucker for camo. I can be inconsistent, but I’m not a flake. I’d like to have a beer with Peter Thiel, Edward Luttwak, Bill Bonner and Simon Mann. I try not to take myself too seriously, but I do not always succeed. I love speed (the Ferrari kind, not the chemical kind). I can knowledgeably discuss topics ranging from wavelength division multiplexing to chainsaws to coup attempts by mercenaries in resource-rich African countries to Napoleon’s campaign across Europe. I’m a damn good shot. I like classic French literature. I am able to fly an airplane or ride a motorcycle and to do it well (most of the time). I enjoy comedy shows. I was voted “Most likely to win the Indy 500″ by my graduating class in high school. I believe in an ambitious space program, conservation and maintaining a high savings rate. It’s almost impossible to embarrass me, so don’t bother trying.

Publications That Have Utilized My Work Include:

The Guardian
Il Giornale: Gli Occhi Della Guerra (The Eyes Of The War)
War Is Boring
The Post Internazionale
O Globo
FOCUS Online
World Archaeology Magazine
NK News
Environmental Graffiti
De Persdienst
Imaging Resource
Peddling Pictures
Orca Book Publishers

Television/Film/Radio (Interviews Or Have Utilized My Work) Include:

Travel Channel
Channel 4 (UK)
Discovery Channel (pilot episode)
The Weather Channel
Stirile Pro TV
Ariana TV
Guardhouse Productions
Dead Sea Films
Beach House Pictures
McBrat TV
Mahoney Media
ROLANDIA (Ambassadors of Romania program)


Bio-Design – Experiments Beyond Mimicry for New York’s MoMA and Thames & Hudson


On the Cross Pollination of Nature, Science and Creativity
The New Institute, Rotterdam
Dates: September 27, 2013 to January 26, 2014

Museum of Tolerance | Los Angeles (permanent exhibit)

Islam Across Asia: Art Practices/Cultural Politics
Master of Calligraphers Sultan ‘Ali Mashhadi: The Art and Culture of Herat in the late 15th Century
Seattle Art Museum
Dates: March 2017

27 thoughts on “About

  1. I enjoyed the history and pictures and politicalness of it all, quite impressive and ambitious. -Sky

  2. Just finished your Sudan entries! I found this blog while researching about ancient Nubia.
    Awesome photos, wonderful observations! Thanks for them.
    I’m definately going to look around some more.
    Keep up the good work!
    Greetings from Germany

  3. Looks like you’re embracing quite the adventure in your photo. I’m now listing The Velvet Rocket as my favorite blog.

  4. Dearest Justin & Elenora –

    Just this last week end went on a tour of the old mining sites and cemetaries out of La Porte. Googled the author, Jann E. Garvis, and your photos of Port Wine came up. WOW – we were just there on Saturday, 8/21 – and while scolling down, I spy a profile of a very tall young man, and said to myself, HMMM he looks like Brandon. Kept scrolling, and low and behold IT WAS BRANDON!

    Nice to recognize a few faces. Take care – both of you.


  5. Enjoyed your Afghanistan blog. I am currently in Kunduz on the PRT, but have been in many of the places in Northern Afghanistan. I wish more people can see the country the way you did. I have met some interesting people out here and find them to be very friendly and welcoming even though I wear a uniform. Afghan people are simple in regards to a lot of things, and I have found it easy to gain their respect. It is too bad this place has seen so much war. I think this country would be an interesting place for Westerners to visit.

  6. This design is steller! You most certainly know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  7. Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!

  8. Found your website whilst looking things up about T E Lawrence. I’m a keen motorcycle rider myself, owning a unique custom Harley Davidson 1200. Great site, and I loved the page on Lawrence. I’m a driving Instructor by trade but also a successful historian and author. My specialist subject is the RMS Lusitania, so I’m no stranger to conspiracies and cover-ups!!!

  9. Pingback: Programming Notes # 11 | The Velvet Rocket

  10. Pingback: Virginia City gems: The Ponderosa Saloon Mine Tour | TRAVEL WITH STANITO

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  12. Hey Justin, I know its been a long time since we first got to chatting…so much has matured in both our lives. I’ve changed my name due to marriage (you may remember me by Christie Glancy), and well, you are a huge success :)

    I really love to see how your Velvet Rocket has taken off…I’m really proud of you! :)

    All the best,

  13. Justin, I feel like a fool for not having clicked The Velvet Rocket link before now which caused me not to realize your interests and talents were so statured and eclectic. I had the idea that the exploration of abandoned mines was your primary interest while it appears that it is just one of many. It might be age that induced a loss of mental peripheral vision. I hope you’ll forgive me for appearing to be oblivious to what you actually do in the real world.
    DF Beckley

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