Award Winners 2009

Third Annual Solas Awards Winners

Announced February 28, 2009

Grand Prize for Best Travel Story of the Year

Gold ($1,000)
The Bamenda Syndrome by David Torrey Peters

Silver ($750)
Discalced by Bruce Berger

Bronze ($500)
The Empty Rocker by Kathleen Spivack

Category Award Winners

Adventure Travel: The best story of high adventure, danger, or physical challenge
Gold: Called to the Wild by Robert Earle Howells
Silver: Amorgos by Stephan Morrow
Bronze: Out the Other Side by Terri Trespicio

Animal Encounter: The best account of meeting snakes, elephants, rhinos, gorillas, birds, sharks, and other creatures in the wild
Gold: A Grizzly Tale by Libby Lubin
Silver: A Mother’s Chase by Stephanie Kriner
Bronze: Encounter at the Peninsula’s Edge by Kevin Finucane

Bad Trip: The best account of when things go wrong, or the shadow side of a culture or individual
Gold: Miracle at Landing Zone Ross by Robert B. Robeson
Silver: The Catheter’s Revenge by Dodie Cross
Bronze: Waitomo Caves by Cindy Gold

Cruise: The best account of a trip on the water in any vessel, from the smallest kayak to the largest ship
Gold: Points of Sail by Laura Carmen Arena
Silver: Bragging Rights by Marie Javins
Bronze: The Crossing by Kira Coonley

Culture and Ideas: The best story or essay about how art, history, currents events, fashion, or music affected a traveler or a trip
Gold: “Takumbeng, C’est Quoi?” by David Torrey Peters
Silver: Mahnmal by Mardith J. Louisell
Bronze: Putting on My Fayda Face by Gwen Hopkins

Destination: The best story about a place that captures its essence and reveals its attractions, making the reader want to go there
Gold: Let’s Spend the Night Together by Chris Epting
Silver: By Any Other Name: A Love Story by Kathleen Spivack
Bronze: Las Posas by Victor Walsh

Doing Good or the Kindness of Strangers: The most inspiring tale of aid, comfort, philanthropy, or caring for others in faraway places, or of being the recipient of a stranger’s largesse
Gold: Special Delivery by Robert B. Robeson
Silver: A Cultural Lesson Lying in the Gutter by Sandy Sims
Bronze: Unpunished by Bill Zarchy

Elder Travel: The best story from a traveler 65 years of age or older
Gold: Tiger by Patricia Dreyfus
Silver: The Fiji Kiss by Patricia Page
Bronze: Lost and Found in Prague by Jan Burak Schwert

Family Travel: The best story about traveling with family of all generations grandparents, parents, children, cousins, siblings or journeying to discover roots
Gold: Cripple Creek by Michelle McAlister
Silver: Paris When It Sizzles by Bill Zarchy
Bronze: Leaning Back by Erin Byrne

Funny Travel: The funniest account of a misadventure or an essay about how the world can make us laugh at ourselves and those around us
Gold: Ms. Intolerance and the Middle Aged Virgin by Dodie Cross
Silver: One of a Thousand Things to Do Before You Die (of Embarassment) by Melissa Myers
Bronze: Rumble in the Jungle by Phil Goldman

Love Story: The best account of love or romance on the road
Gold: Choices Rejected by Carol Beddo
Silver: Letter from Ortahisar by Dulce Maria Gray
Bronze: Fruit of Wisdom by Leah M. Cano

Men’s Travel: The best account by a man of a testosterone-fueled encounter or experience on the road
Gold: Chadian Soccer Lessons by Tom Weller
Silver: Attack of the Thai Water Nymphs by Phil Goldman
Bronze: Gut Check on the Reef Bay Trail by Scott Crawford

Most Unforgettable Character: The story that best captures how one individual or group of people affected a traveler in a meaningful way
Gold: Bread, Clay and the Spanish Civil War by Diana Cohen
Silver: The Chaperone by Jann Huizenga
Bronze: Mme. Kramer by Gail V. Trotin

Travel and Food: The best story where food or drink plays a role in introducing the traveler to a foreign culture or new friends
Gold: The Great Butter Caper of Chartres by Eileen M. Cunniffe
Silver: Subdued by Street Vendors by Darrin DuFord
Bronze: Asia’s Back Street Food by Janet Forman

Travel and Healing: The best story about visits with shamans, healers, holy men and women, or holy sites in search of a cure for illness or psychological malady
Gold: Ready or Not… by Gaye Brown
Silver: True Home by Marianne Dresser
Bronze: Living Twice in Ghana by Matthew Link

Travel Memoir: The best story that draws heavily on the writer’s past to make a point or reveal the lessons of a lifetime
Gold: The Quest for Duende by Diane Caldwell
Silver: If He Cries, They Kill Him by Ken Lovering
Bronze: She Loved to Rumba(le) by Miroslava Turk

Travel and Shopping: The best account of a shopping, bargaining, or haggling experience in a market, bazaar, outlet, or mall, anywhere in the world
Gold: The Bourgeois Disease by Jann Huizenga
Silver: Bellissima by Bonnie Smetts
Bronze: Market Hopping Around Lagos by Aralola Akinmade

Travel and Sports: The best account of a sports activity while traveling, such as climbing, rafting, sailing, trekking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, skiing, baseball, Frisbee, polo, basketball
Gold: Leaning Left Above the Eiger by Julie Hammonds
Silver: Lovely Crinkly Edges by Melissa Larsen
Bronze: Necklace of the Moon by Peter Bronski

Travel and Transformation: The best story about the inner journey or pilgrimage, whether religious, mystical, psychological, or emotional
Gold: A Vast Difference by Deborah Fryer
Silver: The American Engine by Tom Bentley
Bronze: The Calm that Follows Whitewater by Catherine Watson

Women’s Travel: The best account by a woman of an encounter or experience on the road
Gold: Meeting the Marabout by Gwen Hopkins
Silver: Meeting the Dalai Lama in Tibet by Jacqueline St. Joan
Bronze: Greyhound Bound by Megan Lyles

Young Traveler: The best story from a young person (aged 18-25) taking time off to travel between high school and college, or during breaks
Gold: A Writer in Paris: On the Road of Vision Seekers by Haifa Mahabir
Silver: Munich Transformed by Cara Winters
Bronze: The Ganges by Jamie Marcus

Third Annual Solas Awards Honorable Mention

These stories deserve special mention. They didn’t win awards, but they came very close and are great reads.

Our Engagement or Yours by Aralola Akinmade
Racing on Thin Ice by Aralola Akinmade
The Longest Flight by Jennifer Baljko
The Witch Doctor of Catemaco by Tracy L. Barnett
Las Pozas Fantasy and Ruin in the Jungles of Central Mexico by D.R. Bartlette
Terrorists from the Cactus by Bruce Berger
Women Bonding Moroccan Style by Diane Caldwell
Shanghai Surprise: Discovering Shanghai’s Jewish History by Nicole Clausing
I’ll Take the Bus, Thank You Allah! by Dodie Cross
Missing in Patagonia by Camille Cusumano
Green Tea by Peter Delevett
Chau Doc by James Michael Dorsey
Jungle Karma by James Michael Dorsey
The Hobos from Bubblegum Alley by Kat Duffy
Geisha Gone by Andrea Eldridge
Out-Swimming Piranhas by Carole Firstman
Butterflies by Bus by Carol Hamilton
The Beach at Waikiki by Dana Hill
Shop Till You Drop by Ginny Horton
Beetles, Caterpillars, and Mice Oh My by Laura Lee Huttenbach
The Butt of All Jokes in Kampala by Laura Lee Huttenbach
Doorway to My Heritage by Margaret Johnston
The Paragon by Ayoung M. Kim
The Czech Republic’s Other Drink by Tim Leffel
Bien Gringo by Kawaii Luna
My Dad Calls It Wanderlust by Brandon Miller
Ex Voto by Rebecca G. Morris
Lost, My Way by Barbara Robertson
Confessions of a Klepto-Tourist by Jeffrey Tanenhaus
The Boy from Kill the Cat by Shane Townsend
Into a Still Country by Janis Turk
Dancing Lessons from God by Ginna Vogt
Culture of Conquest by Victor Walsh
Treasure of the Sierra Madre by Victor Walsh
Zacatecas, Mexico’s Fabled City of Stone by Victor Walsh
Italy by Allison Weiss
The Sassi di Matera and the Question of Poverty by Doreen Wood
Googling David by Bill Zarchy

Travelers' Tales