Award Winners 2021

Fifteenth Annual Solas Awards Winners

Announced March 1, 2021

Grand Prize for Best Travel Story of the Year

Gold ($1000)
Headlights by Marcia DeSanctis

Silver ($750)
The House Within by Jacob Kemp

Bronze (Tie: $250 per story)
Marriage, Dubois Style by Colette O’Connor
Laura: Lady of Mexican Nights by Edward Stanton

Category Award Winners

Adventure Travel
The best story of high adventure, danger, or physical challenge
Gold: Why I Love Baboons by Lynn Brindell
Silver: People of the Forest by Hayli Nicole
Bronze: A Good Bit of Track by Lance Mason

Animal Encounter
The best account of meeting snakes, elephants, rhinos, gorillas, birds, or other creatures
Gold: Lifer by Lisa Boice
Silver: The Gift by Matthew Félix
Bronze: Journey of a Golden Soul by Martha Ezell

Bad Trip
The best account of when things go wrong, or the shadow side of a culture or individual
Gold: The Good Ones by Alexander Schuhr
Silver: Searching for Women by Ramya Prabhakar
Bronze: Two Idiots in India by Danny Spatchek

Cruise Story
The best account of a trip on the water in any vessel, from the smallest kayak to the largest ship
Gold: Travel in the Twilight Zone by Masha Nordbye
Silver: It Is Not a Cruise, It’s a Crossing by Bill Brown
Bronze: Arabian Anxiety by Marcia Lewis

Culture and Ideas
The best story or essay about how art, history, currents events, fashion, or music affected a traveler or a trip
Gold: Playing by Heart by Lavinia Spalding
Silver: Waiting for Alexander by Anne Sigmon
Bronze: A Fighting Wrestling Kind of Place by Keith Skinner

Destination Story
The best story about a place that captures its essence and reveals its attractions, making the reader want to go there
Gold: Deaf in Venice by Scott Dominic Carpenter
Silver: The First and Final Days of Denali by Jacqueline Kehoe
Bronze: Happy as Larry by Joanna Biggar

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: Under Every Deep, a Lower Deep Opens by Adrie Kusserow
Silver: Ego on a Mountain in China by MirAnnda Sullivan
Bronze: Istanbul by Heart by Rosie Cohan

Elder Travel
The best story from a traveler 65 years of age or older
Gold: Corsica Interrupted by Marianne Bohr
Silver: The Hitchhiker by Susan Bloch
Bronze: Back Stairs to the Billionaire’s Belt at Oil Nut Bay, Virgin Gorda BVI by Janet Forman

Family Travel
The best story about traveling with family of all generations, grandparents, parents, children, cousins, siblings or journeying to discover roots
Gold: Salmon of a Paris Canal by Andrew Willis
Silver: Sweet as Challah by Sonya Pevzner
Bronze: Take Me Home, Country Roads by Beth Kanter

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: And Then They Come Toward You by Janna L. Goodwin
Silver: Danish as She Is Spoke by Scott Dominic Carpenter
Bronze: Knickerless on the Night Train to Madras by Richard Weston Smith

Love Story
The best account of love or romance on the road
Gold: Language Acquisition by Diana Spechler
Silver: The Portrait by Rosie Cohan
Bronze: Four Hours in Manhattan by Almer H.E

Men’s Travel
The best account by a man of a testosterone-fueled encounter or experience on the road
Gold: What Is in a Name? by Matthew Félix
Silver: Rubias by James Lough
Bronze: Welcome to Jáchymov: the Czech Town that Invented the Dollar by Eliot Stein

Most Unforgettable Character
The story that best captures how one individual or group of people affected a traveler in a meaningful way
Gold: Henry Miller and Me by James Dorsey
Silver: Old Clocks by Kelsey Camacho
Bronze: Corsica: A Neolithic Afternoon by Diane LeBow

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: Mastering the Art of (Liking) French Cooking by Colette O’Connor
Silver: Morocco Fed Me by Charish Badzinski
Bronze: Encountering Madness by Lance Mason

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: Wade in the Water by Alexandria Scott
Silver: Found in the Dark by Andrew Forsthoefel
Bronze: My Shaman Drives a Chevy by Patricia Dreyfus

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: Ho-ho-hum. Christmas in Paris by Scott Dominic Carpenter
Silver: Disquiet in Lisbon by Beebe Bahrami
Bronze: The Other First Time: Thank You, Haiti by Kevin Dimetres

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: Peak Performance by Dorothy O’Donnell
Silver: North Road to Pequena by Andrew Willis
Bronze: Folks Who Fish by Gordon Hopkins

Travel and Transformation
The best story about the inner journey or pilgrimage, whether religious, mystical, psychological, or emotional
Gold: Woman in the Wild by Laura Katers
Silver: Is Agent Orange Really Orange by Teresa Yang
Bronze: Awakening the Canopy by Sabine Bergmann

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: From Mill Valley with Love by Lenore Greiner
Silver: When the World Is Withdrawn by Sivani Babu
Bronze: Lunching with Renoir’s Boating Party by Colette O’Connor

Women’s Travel
The best account by a woman of an encounter or experience on the road
Gold: Lottery by Alia Volz
Silver: Finding My New Nana by Susan Van Allen
Bronze: My Vagina Is My Greatest Liability by Charish Badzinski

Young Traveler
The best story from a young person (aged 18-25 at the time of writing) taking time off to travel between high school and college, or during breaks
No Award

Honorable Mention

The Nature of Beginnings by Nicole Zimmerman
Six A.M. Walk from the Barcelona Train Station by Charish Badzinski
On Beauty and Foie Gras in Southwestern France by Beebe Bahrami
Dancing with Duende by Mike Bernhardt
The Heart of Yelapa by Mike Bernhardt
Beyond the Wall by Margot Bigg
Postcard from the Top of the World by Michele Bigley
Let the Kids Take the Lead on a Family Adventure by Michele Bigley
King of the Road by John Burbidge
On Leaving Nepal by Shannan Chapman
The Bathroom by Liz Collins
Falling by Marcia DeSanctis
A Whale of a Tale by Patricia Dreyfus
Galatzo by Matthew Félix
Chasing a Ghost in Perugia by Lenore Greiner
At the Foot of Uluru by Laurie McAndish King
Dreaming the Minotaur by Laurie McAndish King
Mongolia: Land of Horse People, Possibly Amazon Descendants and Fermented Mares Milk by Diane LeBow
Beyond the Bullet Holes in Bosnia by Tim Leffel
This Time Not Paradise by Lance Mason
Zorba or Epicurus by Gayle McGill
The Trekker by Mary Anne Mercer
Hitchhiking the Colombian Red Zone by Johnny Motley
Know Thyself—The Octopus and Me—Prepandemic by MJ Pramik
Where I’ve Been by Marianne Rogoff
Lost and Not Found in Siberia by Paul Shields

Travelers' Tales