Award Winners 2007

First Annual Solas Awards Winners

Announced March 1, 2007

Grand Prize winner Tom Joseph collected $1,000 for his moving story about scattering his brother’s ashes on a final adventure together in Bolivia in “Fishing with Larry.” Nancy Penrose won the silver award and $750 for “Flamenco Form,” her evocative tale of pursuing the Spanish art form in Granada, Spain and at home. Taking the bronze and $500 was Jennifer Baljko’s “Castles in the Sky,” her taut, suspenseful account of performance art cum gymnastics in the streets of Barcelona. Read these stories on the Great Stories page.

Some 300 stories were entered in 21 categories. Winning stories will be posted on BestTravelWriting.com and many will appear in future Travelers’ Tales books.

Grand Prize for Best Travel Story of the Year

Gold ($1,000)
Fishing with Larry by Tom Joseph

Silver ($750)
Flamenco Form by Nancy Penrose

Bronze ($500)
Castles in the Sky by Jennifer Baljko

Category Certificate Awards

Adventure Travel: The best story of high adventure, danger, or physical challenge
Gold Certificate: Fishing with Larry by Tom Joseph
Silver Certificate: The Burden of War by Wendy Knight
Bronze Certificate: Jurassic Shark by Gail Harrington

Animal Encounter: The best account of meeting snakes, elephants, rhinos, gorillas, birds, or other creatures
Gold Certificate: Jungle River by Peter Mandel
Silver Certificate: Safari Night by Nancy O’Connell
Bronze Certificate: A Surfeit of Bears by Helen Sowers

Bad Trip: The best account of when things go wrong, or the shadow side of a culture or individual
Gold Certificate: Getting into El Cielo by Pamela Alma Bass
Silver Certificate: Eiffel: What Goes Up by Bill Zarchy
Bronze Certificate: Shake and Bake on the Equator by Tim Leffel

Cruise Story: The best account of a trip on the water in any vessel, from the smallest kayak to the largest ship
Gold Certificate: Heroes of the Caribbean by Kevin McCaughey
Silver Certificate: Superior Sanctuary by Michele Bergstrom
Bronze Certificate: The Galapagos by Small Ship by Peter Mandel

Culture and Ideas: The best story or essay about how art, history, currents events, fashion, or music affected a traveler or a trip
Gold Certificate: As the Wind Moves by Todd Pitock
Silver Certificate: Sara Kunda: A Homecoming in the Gambia by Joshua Berman
Bronze Certificate: Dunkeld Folk Session by Scott Crawford

Destination Story: The best story about a place that captures its essence and reveals its attractions, making the reader want to go there
Gold Certificate: Castles in the Sky by Jennifer Baljko
Silver Certificate: Somewhere Beyond Time by Michael Shapiro
Bronze Certificate: A Place Prepared by Catherine Watson

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 Certificate: True Relic by Mary Beth Ray
Silver Certificate: Red-Faced in the Red Light District by Jeff Vize
Bronze Certificate: Sliding into Grace by Cindy Rasicot

Elder Travel: The best story from a traveler 65 years of age or older
Gold Certificate: My Favorite Injury by U. Joy Wooderson
Silver Certificate: Finding Franz by Jan Burak Schwert
Bronze Certificate: From the Log of the Sheer Folly: Crossing Queen Charlotte Sound by William Raney

Family Travel: The best story about traveling with family of all generations grandparents, parents, children, cousins, siblings or journeying to discover roots
Gold Certificate: Finding My Rock by Jennifer Baljko
Silver Certificate: Thank God for the War by Lone Mørch Schneider
Bronze Certificate: Driving Lessons by Janet Riehl

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 Certificate: English Lessons by Nina Krieger
Silver Certificate: Miami in Heat by Dave Mondy
Bronze Certificate: Chartres: Ecstasy at the Altar by Bill Zarchy

Love Story: The best account of love or romance on the road
Gold Certificate: The Trout Baron by Diane LeBow
Silver Certificate: Anusha, Saver of Splashed Cats by Kevin McCaughey
Bronze Certificate: Feeling Fizzy by Jann Huizenga

Men’s Travel: The best account by a man of a testosterone-fueled encounter or experience on the road
Gold Certificate: Meet the (Foreign) Parents by Jeff Vize
Silver Certificate: Money or Nothing by Ryan Kearney
Bronze Certificate: Join the Club by Dave Mondy

Most Unforgettable Character: The story that best captures how one individual or group of people affected a traveler in a meaningful way
Gold Certificate: Why Tuk-Tuks Make the Big Bucks by Kristin Barendsen
Silver Certificate: Pilgrimages to the Edge by Eileen M. Cunniffe
Bronze Certificate: Stalking Asparagus by Jann Huizenga

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 Certificate: The Village Kazani by Paul B. Hertneky
Silver Certificate: Mama Rose’s Coconut Bread by Celeste Brash
Bronze Certificate: Hardcore Pig Problem by Dave Mondy

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 Certificate: El Otro Lado/The Other Side by Pamela Alma Bass
Silver Certificate: Ask and Receive by Terri Hinte
Bronze Certificate: Roshan by Catherine Watson

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 Certificate: The Unquenchable Sea by Matthew Link
Silver Certificate: Key to the City by Catherine Watson
Bronze Certificate: The Tree by Carmen Semler

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 Certificate: It’s the Little Things by Jann Huizenga
Silver Certificate: Harlem Couture by Janet Forman
Bronze Certificate: Bridge Climb by Janna Leyde

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 Certificate: Smackdown in Tijuana by Jim Benning
Silver Certificate: Getting Up to Speed by Peter Mandel
Bronze Certificate: The Cresta Run by Janet Forman

Travel and Transformation: The best story about the inner journey or pilgrimage, whether religious, mystical, psychological, or emotional
Gold Certificate: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Mei-Ling McNamara
Silver Certificate: Recreating Jennifer by Jennifer Baljko
Bronze Certificate: The Magic by Elizabeth Striebel

Women’s Travel: The best account by a woman of an encounter or experience on the road
Gold Certificate: Flamenco Form by Nancy Penrose
Silver Certificate: Shoes Like Gondolas by Jann Huizenga
Bronze Certificate: Paolo Soleri and Me: The Artist’s Model by Margie Goldsmith

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 Certificate: Automatic Weapons by Jessica Kerry
Silver Certificate: no award
Bronze Certificate: no award

Honorable Mention

Berlin Memories by Terry Richard Bazes
Finding Nessie by Robert W. Bone
To See the Queen by June Calender
The Coin of the Realm by Nicole Clausing
Sleep It Off, Signore by Jacquelyn Coffee
Japanese Hot Springs by Ryan Cole
Aboard the Train by Christina Curran
Myanmar Days by Janet Forman
Hanoi Cooking: Didier Corlou’s Gallic Wand by Janet Forman
Balaton Breeze by John M. Edwards
Finding Home by Kimberly Foote
Campeche: The Other Yucatan by Nick Gallo
Speak in a Week by Jann Huizenga
The Banana Tower by Laurie McAndish King
Allure of Pittsburgh by Janna Leyde
Through the Eyes of a Porter on the Inca Trail by Tim Leffel
Tiger in Your Tank: On the Road in India by Peter Mandel
On the Easter Island Trail of Truth by Betsa Marsh
On Becoming of Age to Travel by Marilyn Suzanne Murrell
A Friend in a Kithera Garden by Roberta Sandler
The War to End All Wars: What Your Kids Can Learn In Flanders Fields by Sheila Scarborough
Finding Simoonga by Victoria Shaw
Funeral for a Legend by Robby Slaughter
A Portrait in Renaissance Art by Bonnie Smetts
Last Supper in the Sinai by Erika Trafton
Kidnapped by Syrian Hospitality by Jeff Vize
Bougainvillea and Barbed Wire by U. Joy Wooderson
The Ipau Motel by Chellis Ying
Summer Paramour by Bill Zarchy

Travelers' Tales