Award Winners 2014

Eighth Annual Solas Awards Winners

Announced March 1, 2014

Grand Prize for Best Travel Story of the Year

Gold ($1,000)
The Tea in Me by Bill Giebler

Silver ($750)
Fish Trader Ray by Lisa Alpine

Bronze ($500) Tie, 2 Awards, $250 Each
From the Ashes by James Michael Dorsey
Inside the Tower by Keith Skinner


Category Award Winners

Adventure Travel : The best story of high adventure, danger, or physical challenge
Gold: Of Danger and Beauty by Anna Elkins
Silver: The Same River Twice by Pam Mandel
Bronze: The Great Escape by Biju Sukumaran

Animal Encounter : The best account of meeting snakes, elephants, rhinos, gorillas, birds, sharks, and other creatures in the wild
Gold: The Exquisite Loneliness of Nyai Loro’s Beach by Melinda Misuraca
Silver: Satan’s Very Own Island Retreat by Greg Rodgers
Bronze: Sleepless in Southern Africa by Dave Fox

Bad Trip : The best account of when things go wrong, or the shadow side of a culture or individual
Gold: Dura La Vida: The Other Side of Paradise by Jillian Bright
Silver: Remembering Jane by Simone Gorrindo
Bronze: The C Word by Sarah Enelow

Cruise Story : The best account of a trip on the water in any vessel, from the smallest kayak to the largest ship
Gold: Siren Song of the Capybara by Robin Cerwonka
Silver: Celebrity Cruising by Leena Tailor
Bronze: Creating Global Thinkers by John Girard

Culture and Ideas : The best story or essay about how art, history, currents events, fashion, or music affected a traveler or a trip
Gold: Notes into Lines by Hannah Sheldon-Dean
Silver: Ohio House Tour by V. Hansmann
Bronze: A Message for the Cabbage Head Man by Darrin DuFord

Destination : The best story about a place that captures its essence and reveals its attractions, making the reader want to go there
Gold: In Search of Dylan Thomas by Michael Shapiro
Silver: Surfing the Millennia by Jeff Greenwald
Bronze: Signs by Erin Byrne

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: The Chai Lai Orchid by Jeff Greenwald
Silver: Yo Soy by Suzanne Maggio
Bronze: Beneath the Almond Tree by Candace Rose Rardon

Elder Travel : The best story from a traveler 65 years of age or older
Gold: Rebelling in the Alps by Victor Atyas
Silver: Naked by Fern Salka
Bronze: No Award

Family Travel : The best story about traveling with family of all generations grandparents, parents, children, cousins, siblings or journeying to discover roots
Gold: Macau, My Mother, and a Blue Coat by Shannon Young
Silver: Day Dreamer by Erin Byrne
Bronze: 41 Years and Counting by Tom Joseph

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: L’Epiphanie by Dominick Domingo
Silver: My Vagine by Martina Clark
Bronze: Pilgrim Paddles the Amazon by Donald Moore

Love Story : The best account of love or romance on the road
Gold: From Lost to Loved in Bihar by Amy Gigi Alexander
Silver: Beginnings by Kimberley Lovato
Bronze: A Perfect Romance in Venice by Katie Hammel

Men’s Travel : The best account by a man of a testosterone-fueled encounter or experience on the road
Gold: A Moment in Lamu by Mark Willett
Silver: Zany in Zagreb by Terry McGhee
Bronze: The First Astrotourists of Panama by Darrin DuFord

Most Unforgettable Character : The story that best captures how one individual or group of people affected a traveler in a meaningful way
Gold: Deliverance: A Holy Bus Journey to Bosnia by Joelle Renstrom
Silver: The Guardian by Brian Spencer
Bronze: California Dreamin’ by Mary Wisniewski

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: Dark Meat, Bright City: Feasting on Seal in Montreal by Darrin DuFord
Silver: The Insect Diet by Nick Enquist
Bronze: I’m Loving It at the Beijing McDonald’s by Kelly Rowley

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: The Stance of the Toro Bravo by Erin Byrne
Silver: Three Curses in Kerala by Biju Sukumaran
Bronze: Trailblazing in Traverse City, Michigan by Luisa Chapman

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: Excavations by Lucy McCauley
Silver: A Magical night in Chau Doc by James Michael Dorsey
Bronze: Walking in the Wind by Eileen Smith

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 Power of a Stare by Darrin DuFord
Silver: Paying Attention by Margaret Wagner
Bronze: Fake Birds by Lola Akerstrom

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: On a Rope and a Prayer by Jeff Greenwald
Silver: Slow Food and Slow Travel: Biking through Rural Portugal by Tim Leffel
Bronze: Running with the Bulls by Ryan Danz

Travel and Transformation : The best story about the inner journey or pilgrimage, whether religious, mystical, psychological, or emotional
Gold: A Day in Dachau by Tami Hansen
Silver: Riding the Local by Brice Particelli
Bronze: Breaking the Silence by Kelly Hayes-Raitt

Women’s Travel : The best account by a woman of an encounter or experience on the road
Gold: Disappearances Have to Disappear by Alice Driver
Silver: They Hide Their Secrets Well by Annie Peirce
Bronze: At Home in Patagonia by Donna Dearborn

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: Southern Sandstone by Jessica Normandeau
Silver: Checkers and Humanity by TC Culberson
Bronze: 39 Hours by Aviva DeKornfeld

Travelers' Tales