Award Winners 2015

Ninth Annual Solas Awards Winners

Announced March 1, 2015

Grand Prize for Best Travel Story of the Year

Gold ($1,000)
Oranges and Roses by Amy Gigi Alexander

Silver ($750)
Remember This Night by Katherine Jamieson

Bronze ($500)
Deep Travel, Notre Dame by Erin Byrne


Category Award Winners

Adventure Travel : The best story of high adventure, danger, or physical challenge
Gold: Lost in the Himalayas by Ken Matusow
Silver: A Walk with a Cave Man by Jenna Scatena
Bronze: Dinner in Dushanbe, Tajikistan by Diane LeBow

Animal Encounter : The best account of meeting snakes, elephants, rhinos, gorillas, birds, sharks, and other creatures in the wild
Gold: Maw Versus Maw by Darrin DuFord
Silver: When Confidence Runs Amok by Rebecca Myers
Bronze: Missing the Best Shot by Rebecca Myers

Bad Trip : The best account of when things go wrong, or the shadow side of a culture or individual
Gold: Stolen by Lavinia Spalding
Silver: The Backpack by Inger Meyer
Bronze: A Business Lunch at the Café Etienne by Carrie Kirby

Cruise Story : The best account of a trip on the water in any vessel, from the smallest kayak to the largest ship
Gold: The Crap Between the Love and Us by Dayna Brayshaw
Silver: A Good Dose of Crazy by Laura Lincks
Bronze: Cruising the Yangtze by James Michael Dorsey

Culture and Ideas : The best story or essay about how art, history, currents events, fashion, or music affected a traveler or a trip
Gold: We All Dance Together by Rebecca Myers
Silver: The Death of the Red Devils by Darrin DuFord
Bronze: Translating Respect by Leonore Greiner

Destination : The best story about a place that captures its essence and reveals its attractions, making the reader want to go there
Gold: New York State of Mind by Erin Byrne
Silver: Sleeping Through the War by Pam Mandel
Bronze: The Magic of Mpumalanga by Rebecca Myers

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: Tesekkurlar by Gabrielle Leblanc
Silver: An Interlude on the Balkan Express by Joseph Murray
Bronze: Friends Who Don’t Bite by Jill K. Robinson

Elder Travel : The best story from a traveler 65 years of age or older
Gold: Mondika by Judith Hamilton
Silver: The Numbers Game by Joseph Murray
Bronze: Whales, Bears, and Stormy Seas by Sharon Morris

Family Travel : The best story about traveling with family of all generations grandparents, parents, children, cousins, siblings or journeying to discover roots
Gold: On Being American in Europe by Carrie Blackaby
Silver: Yuan Fen by Christina Ammon
Bronze: Halloween in Bulgaria by Angela Kirkman

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: Postcard from Kenya by Andrew Schwartz
Silver: An Occurrence of Silliness at N’djili Airport by Kevin McCaughey
Bronze: Good Night Irene by Bill Zarchy

Love Story : The best account of love or romance on the road
Gold: Pretty Red on the Emerald Isle by Kimberly Lovato
Silver: Salsa Lessons by Suzanne Roberts
Bronze: The Allure of a Parisian Romance by Alexandria Roger

Men’s Travel : The best account by a man of a testosterone-fueled encounter or experience on the road
Gold: Mugging in Amsterdam by Terry McGhee
Silver: To Hell or to Connaught by Stephen Dexter
Bronze: The Horror Atop Panama’s Volcan Baru by Luke Armstrong

Most Unforgettable Character : The story that best captures how one individual or group of people affected a traveler in a meaningful way
Gold: Woman Rain by Katherine Jamieson
Silver: A Propos De Paris by Erin Byrne
Bronze: My Second Father by Jessica Hill

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 Saffron Rabbit by Amber Kelly
Silver: The True Tagliatelle by Christina Ammon
Bronze: Love, Death, and Protein by Darrin DuFord

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 Star Woman by Amy Gigi Alexander
Silver: Ave Metro by Erin Byrne
Bronze: Paddling with Marigolds by Ky Delaney

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 Marco Chronicles by Elizabeth Geoghegan
Silver: Fan Over the Dining Room Table by Donna Lawrence
Bronze: Beauty, Beauty by Katherine Jamieson

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: Half-Yearly Blowout by Kimberly Lovato
Silver: Breathe In by Keith Skinner
Bronze: Carpet Seduction by Gabrielle Leblanc

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: The Legend of Sleepy Da by Erin Caslavka
Silver: The Mexican Golf Course that Survived the Drug War by Jeff Ritter
Bronze: Surviving the Salt by Lisa Alpine

Travel and Transformation : The best story about the inner journey or pilgrimage, whether religious, mystical, psychological, or emotional
Gold: Traveling the Sas by Barbara Robertson
Silver: Grasshopper by Amy Gigi Alexander
Bronze: Sea Change by Candace Rose Rardon

Women’s Travel : The best account by a woman of an encounter or experience on the road
Gold: The Vanishing Art of Losing Your Way by Sarah Coury
Silver: Duende in the Louvre by Erin Byrne
Bronze: Things You Can Learn from Nuns and Other Tales by Elizabeth Geoghegan

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: My Collection by Alyssa Civitello
Silver: One Hundred and Seventeen Miles from Rome By Zita Surprenant
Bronze: In His Steps by Kirstina Bolton

Honorable Mention

Ten Pounds from Eternity by James Michael Dorsey
Giving Thanks at Pulemelei by Celeste Brash
A Real Piece of Americana (in Russia) by Sarah Enelow
Searching for Cement in Acapulco by Judy Odenheimer
Dance of Betrayal in Nairobi by Camile Cusumano
Miss Associated Supermarket by Katherine Jamieson
Tall Grass/Shared Bowls by Wickham Boyle
Painting as Prayer by James Michael Dorsey
Which God Is Ours? by Angela Smith Kirkman
Caodai Calling: Victor Hugo in Vietnam by John M. Edwards
Nice Day for a White Wedding by Jocelyn Pihlaja
Buen Camino by Jaimee Joroff
No Age in Love by Melani Robinson
Parallel Lives by Ethelene Whitmire
Behind the Face Veil by Lenore Greiner
Questing the Sacred Maya Book by Mary Jo McConahay
Milagros and the Underworld by Jill K. Robinson
French Kissing in Dubai by Kimberly Bowker
The Seri Hills by Natalia Magnani
The Other Side of the Yucatan by Tim Leffel
No Other by Anna Elkins
Sweet Home Shenyang by Bill Zarchy
Ask Why Not by Bill Zarchy
Death in the Afternoon by Beebe Bahrami
Assumptions by Deborah Fryer

Travelers' Tales