Travel Writing Competition 2011 Shortlist

A break in the haze

You'd have thought the gnarled, snaggle-toothed old man in his tiny wood-and-tin shack was several days' trek from the nearest village, such was the aura of isolation about the place.

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A copshop cuppa

Loitering outside the austere concrete monolith that were the police headquarters, instinct told me we should be lying low. Instead, we were trying to draw attention to ourselves while hopping around on the...

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A Moroccan Proposal

We sit, just a friend and I at the edge of a deserted road, edging closer to the bushes lining the road, desperately trying to stay in the shade.

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Cheese hats in Green Bay

“You won’t get a room,” Brenda says, shaking her head. She taps her immaculate red nails on the steering wheel and, for the first time since getting in the cab, her smile wanes.

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Coffee with the Queen of Sheba

‘Sit there’, he commanded, pointing his rifle towards the sand- filled sacks pushed against the walls of the main room. The tiny three- roomed stone bungalow was damp and freezing, yet despite this...

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Final Frontier

It’s a jawbone, the crunch beneath my hiking boot. A HUMAN JAWBONE! And there are still teeth attached. It is a grizzly reminder of why I’m here and to distract myself I focus on the colourful strings of prayer flags flapping around me.

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Highway 14 Revisited

The weather can descend fast in Wyoming, especially as it did on that day near the Big Horns, past Shell Canyon along Highway 14, a stretch mostly populated by soulful, lonely ponies and otherwise empty fields.

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La Vida Loca; travel encounter

Mexico Valle Nacional at four in the morning was silent save for the chirping of a cicada and a dog barking in the distance. We cycled south over a mine field of deep rain-filled potholes and crossed the Cosomoloapan River.

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The Otter

Isle of Mull, October 1st, 2010, and I was on a quest for otters. Two days before, I had joined a wildlife watching tour, and at the very end of this tour we had spotted an otter...

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The Sento Dilemma

It was with some confidence that I parted the blue noren obscuring the door of the Tokyo bathhouse, slipped off my shoes and strode up to the 'bath mistress', a formidable woman of middling age, with forearms like a sumo wrestler who was staffing the counter.

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