Award Winners 2018

Twelfth Annual Solas Awards Winners

Announced March 1, 2018

Grand Prize for Best Travel Story of the Year

Gold ($1000)
All the Grains of Sand by Angelique Stevens

Silver ($750)
Crossing Shibuya by Aaron Gilbreath

Bronze ($500)
Mitty in Rome by Juilene Osborne-McKnight

Category Award Winners

Adventure Travel
The best story of high adventure, danger, or physical challenge
Gold: The Five Wise Men of the Voodoo Trail by Kevin Dimetres
Silver: That Old Time Religion by James Michael Dorsey
Bronze: The Highest Summit by Chris Kassar

Animal Encounter
The best account of meeting snakes, elephants, rhinos, gorillas, birds, or other creatures
Gold: Lightning Strikes Twice by Matthew Felix
Silver: Death in the Lagoon by James Michael Dorsey
Bronze: He Who Swims with Sharks and Stingrays by Joelle Renstrom

Bad Trip
The best account of when things go wrong, or the shadow side of a culture or individual
Gold: Lobster Trap by Tod Brubaker
Silver: There Wasn’t a Wall by Rosalie Justus
Bronze: Welcome to Tangier by Matthew Felix

Cruise Story
The best account of a trip on the water in any vessel, from the smallest kayak to the largest ship
Gold: Rogue Wave by Tina Dreffin
Silver: Boob Deck by Paulette Perhach
Bronze: The Stare of the Halfway There by Steven Law

Culture and Ideas
The best story or essay about how art, history, currents events, fashion, or music affected a traveler or a trip
Gold: Selling Vintage Records in Tokyo by Aaron Gilbreath
Silver: The Last Surviving Sea Silk Seamstress by Eliot Stein
Bronze: Alien Negrita from Outer Space by Julie Hackett

Destination Story
The best story about a place that captures its essence and reveals its attractions, making the reader want to go there
Gold: On the Road with the Lady of the Rockies by Linda Ballou
Silver: Port Aviation by Jerome McFadden
Bronze: Saisho: A First on Iwo Jima by Dina Eastwood

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: Welcome Back Again by Matthew Felix
Silver: Window of Opportunity by Jan Burak Schwert
Bronze: A Precious Gift by Tania Amochaev

Elder Travel
The best story from a traveler 65 years of age or older
Gold: Echoes of Okunoin by Tania Amochaev
Silver: Sitting with Buddha by James Michael Dorsey
Bronze: Finding the Home My Father Built by May Gee

Family Travel
The best story about traveling with family of all generations grandparents, parents, children, cousins, siblings or journeying to discover roots
Gold: Time Travelers by T. Stores
Silver: The Day of a Thousand Sighs by Steven Law
Bronze: Saying Something by Leslie Oh

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: Let It Flow by Matthew Felix
Silver: Don’t Be Silly by Scott Morley
Bronze: A Cuernavaca Caper by Helen Meservey

Love Story
The best account of love or romance on the road
Gold: Walkabout Love in China by Dustin Grinnell
Silver: Why Tinder Is Different in Paris by Dufflyn Lammers
Bronze: Burning Love by Dina Eastwood

Men’s Travel
The best account by a man of a testosterone-fueled encounter or experience on the road
Gold: The Last Muezzin of Timbuktu by James Michael Dorsey
Silver: The Last Tattoo Master of Bangkok by Gordon Hopkins
Bronze: The Fare to Aunu’u by Marc Hess

Most Unforgettable Character
The story that best captures how one individual or group of people affected a traveler in a meaningful way
Gold: A Life Not Chosen by James Michael Dorsey
Silver: Hung, The Boat Woman of Hue by Maxine Rose Schur
Bronze: Kindred Journeys by Keith Skinner

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: Dim Sum by Jamie Wong
Silver: The Leaping Entree of Suzhou by Bonnie Morris
Bronze: An Orchard-to-Orchard Trip through Ireland’s Hard Cider Boom by Sylvie Bigar

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: Fortifications by Christina Ammon
Silver: The Spirit of St. Louis by Marie Shelton
Bronze: Letters from Dad by Dustin Grinnell

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: Mideast Uprising by Sharon Kreider
Silver: My Father’s Journey Around the World with Stolen Plane Tickets by Naomi Bishop
Bronze: I Never Want to Leave Here by Jillian Schedneck

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: Goyard Yourself by Gerald Yeung
Silver: Everyday I’m Hustlin’ by Cheong Kim
Bronze: The Body Bag and the Behemoth by Bill Zarchy

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: Racing the Rain on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua by Monica Puccetti
Silver: Getting My Kicks in Bangkok by Gordon Hopkins
Bronze: Biking Across Borders in the Balkans by Tim Leffel

Travel and Transformation
The best story about the inner journey or pilgrimage, whether religious, mystical, psychological, or emotional
Gold: On the Verge of Flight by Kristin Winet
Silver: Ritacuba Blanco by Charles Hinriksson
Bronze: (tie): My Father’s Vietnam by Cristina Luisa
Bronze (tie): What You Trade Two Years For by Paulette Perhach

Women’s Travel
The best account by a woman of an encounter or experience on the road
Gold: Pura Vida by Alison Konecki
Silver: Sugar Granny and Her Dancing Shoes by Lisa Alpine
Bronze: Passage by Sivani Babu

Honorable Mention

Finding Stegner Country by Margot Bigg
Hula Is Life: The Legacy of Hawaii by Michele Bigley
In the Middle of Nowhere by Rosie Cohan
Blessed Buns by Heather Diamond
Into the Bush by Tina Dreffin
Queen of Oceans by Tina Dreffin
The Concrete Corpses of Cyprus by Darrin DuFord
Uninvited Guests by Matthew Felix
A Turkish Bath in Morocco by Matthew Felix
Regali by Eileen Guastella
The Worst that Can Happen by Gretchen Howell
Take Your Kid Fishing by Steven Law
Disconnected in a Landscape of Sand and Salt by Tim Leffel
Calling Ancestors Through the Butterflies in Guatemala by Tim Leffel
Amristar Anniversay by Esther Rigby
Whale-Watched by Shelly Rivoli
Cold Blooded Conservation by Joseph Robertia
Let’s Dance by Susanna Stromberg
Walking Budapest by Kristin Winet
Alive Among Italy’s Dead by Katerina Wozinski
Bangkok, the Saudis, and the Jism Balls by Bill Zarchy
Mendocino: The Smells of Nature by Bill Zarchy
Siberia: The Moon, the Snow, and Doctor Zhivago by Bill Zarchy
Sweet Home Shenyang by Bill Zarchy
Uganda: A World Together by Bill Zarchy

Travelers' Tales