Travel Writing Competition 2014 Entries Page1

13,000ft Above

Climbing out of the door, I dangled my body out over the edge and embraced the chilling air on my skin as my heart raced. I looked straight ahead at the top of the Alps that seemed to cover as far into the distance as I could see, each all lightly covered in snow.

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A Bump on my Head

In March of 2003, my girlfriend, Amy, and I trekked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. Looping for 210 kilometers (130 miles) around an entire mountain range with the same name, the Annapurna Circuit also traverses...

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A Market Place in Fiji

What I pictured all of Fiji to be like when I found out I was going: 1.Warm, Pacific waters, sparkling and glittering with every ray of sun, 2.White sand beaches, as soft as silk and comfortably hot underneath my toes...

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A Silent War (Hills Of Paradise)

It’s true that a single moment can change your life forever. What you don't expect, however, is for this moment to come when you get off a bus in a dusty village in Laos.

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A Swallow in Vienna

My story starts in Tehran 1997.I and my family decided to move to the America forever. It took us many years of waiting to get our petition to immigrate and to enter United States legally. Finally the time came in July of 1997 but there were still a little complications.

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A taste of better times

It was our second night in a motorway service station. We had just escaped the clutches of a pervert with wandering hands disguised as a friendly truck driver, and now we faced another long wait, fidgeting on hard greasy tables...

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A View Worth Freezing For

The frigid wind whipped my hair across my cheek. The fleece-lined hood of my jacket kept flying off in the wind, freezing my scalp in the process. I hugged myself to keep warm, but the below zero temperatures were...

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A Walk on the Wild Side

Experience the Grand Canyon from top to bottom, one step at a time.

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Affair with Havana

I was worried. I had just arrived in Fidel Castro´s island at Havana´s international airport expecting to be met and no –one was there to meet me.

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Alcala de Henares

As soon as I arrived in the centre of the old university town of Alcalá de Henares, my heart skipped a beat, my knees went wobbly and I felt like fainting (with desire). I was surrounded by policemen. Spanish policemen.

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An Enchanting Excursion to Italy's Jewel Town

I'll never forget the day that I went to Vernazza, one of The Cinque Terre, the five coastal villages located on the Ligurian coastline of Northern Italy. Literally meaning five lands, The Cinque Terre also includes...

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Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are India’s best kept secret. A chain of islands, sunken peaks of oceanic mountains, located on the east coast of India, but geographically closer to Thailand.

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Any Dangerous Freedom Tallied in Youth Unscathed

Because of some ultra-mindfucky, nefarious human schemes and some unintentional collateral damage too, so much of the man-made world has become a devastating force to my freedom.

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Around the World

Dictionaries define experience as “direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge”. Yet the cold dictionary definition leaves out the most important part of “experience” - the lasting impact on ones’ life.

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Ashram Gandhi Puri

They say to me, "Should you know yourself you would know all men." And I say, "Only when I seek all men shall I know myself." – Gibran Khalil Gibran

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Barefoot

For the first weeks I was in Kenya, my father was with me. We’d gone on safari at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro and bought jewelry in the market.

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Better Living in Manila

It was the 1st of November 2012, I was on my gap year attempting to work out if I wanted to sell my soul to the government or to a company in the promise of a piece of paper.

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Booderee Camp n Surf

Looking to get away from the bright lights and intrusive noises of the city, my girlfriend and I made a plan to visit the Booderee National park to camp, surf, drink and relax for a weekend of solitudue.

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Breathless Steps

The hacking cough of a fellow traveller kicks up clouds of choking dust. Fine grains of sand scratch my eyes and the air tastes like a filthy cloth stuffed down my throat.

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Breathtaking moments in time

There was nothing ahead except sand and sea on this notorious stretch of coastline dubbed ‘Doodsakker’ or ‘Acre of the Dead’ that is known to claim at least five vehicles per year.

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Bullfighting at the Maestranza, Sevilla

A slender, fragile figure richly adorned in silver and gold stood awaiting his fate, watched by 10,000 Sevillanos. They waited silently and alertly for the arrival of the entertainment. A minute passed.

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ChandiChowk

“Sir, Madam, please, jump in, you’ll bump around, smell and hear everything going on and if you have questions Vijay, your driver has driven rickshaws for 20 years” was our guide Sanjay’s parting shot on commencing...

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Check-In @ Checkpoint Charlie

Separated from his tour group in East Berlin, a young college student from New York gets seriously lost and says, “Ich bin ein Berliner!” (I am a doughnut!), but, er, for exactly how long? It’s a race against time to find “Chuck” and bust through the border crossing before the infamous “Iron Curtain” closes.

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Cock-A-Doodle-Don't

Cockfighting In The Philippines: John M. Edwards attends a horrific, but breathtaking, “cockfight” on Bantayan Island in the Philippines, only to end up wondering what exactly were the ingredients in the national dish of adobo.

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Elysian Fields Forever

In Search Of The Elusive Rare Blue Morpho Butterfly. Monte Verde Cloud Forest. John M. Edwards compares Costa Rican ecotourism vs. narcissism

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Experience Eternity In Shimbulak Ski Resort

The most amazing stillness I have experienced was in the Alatau mountains near Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan.

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Gestresst In The Himalaya

Claudia burst into our Kathmandu hotel room shouting above the shrieking chaos outside the open window, `This Rinpoche I go to, ja? This lama my München friends tell me I must see to receive the teachings!’

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Gold Rush in Silicon Valley

A visit to Google Headquarters is more than a glorified playground

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Headache At The Border

The Afghanistan/Iran frontier, 1973. Even at mid morning it was hot. We’d already wrestled with the Afghan border formalities and ahead lay the Iranian customs post.

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High in the Tatra Mountains

My bum cheeks feel like ice. My three layers of clothing, including lycra pants, thermal long johns and leggings, are insufferably damp from my fall into the soft, white abyss of snow. And now my ass is drenched.

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Imperturbable Kodaikanal

Deep down in India’s tropical south lies nature’s gem in the form of a serene hill station known as Kodaikanal. We were on a long South India tour, Kodaikanal being our last stop in our itinerary.

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Island Friends

They are an archipelago of islands often ignored by maps all over the world. Lying just 300km north-west of Scotland, it is surprising to realize how few people are even aware of the existence of this unspoiled...

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Kanyakumari: the end is the beginning

“Some say this is the end of all India, here where the three seas meet. But there is only one sea, and this is the place where everything begins."

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Laos: Buddha System

Body Laotian: John M. Edwards sings the Buddha electric, embarking on a quest in the Laotian capital for the world’s most unique body posture

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Learning The Importance Of Preservation In Borneo

The swirling chocolate waters of Borneo’s Kinabatangan River are flanked by rainforest so dense that it is easy to forget the destruction wrought upon the country’s fragile ecosystem by the palm oil industry.

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Memories of a hypnotic hour in the trees

One of the few joys of being back from holiday is reliving through photos. At my PC, I'm looking at my hour spent with three rescued orang-utans of the Rasa Ria rehabilitation sanctuary on Sabah, Borneo.

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Mother Theresa: an inspiration to all

I woke up early feeling rough. I had slept badly and it didn’t help that we had gone for cocktails and danced the night away in the only club for miles around.

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My first and important lesson in Africa

Looking out at the spectacular African sunset, I saw that twilight had chosen to wash the sky with deep hues of orange, as it kissed the day goodbye. I watched the faint outline of the setting sun melting into the horizon.

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My trip through West Africa – Five airports, five countries in 1 day

When I sent my friends my itinerary they scrutinized it and pointed out that I only had an hour to connect in Benin. Then came rhetorical questions about my sanity, what if I missed one of the connection flights?

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New York, Wait For Me

Bright lights, thousands of people all rushing to be somewhere, skyscrapers, the smell of coffee and hotdogs and taxi fumes. New York. If you’ve ever been there, you can pin-point the exact smell...

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Night Watch

On lookout. Twenty-three hundred hours. My eyes are distracted from the horizon by a strangely glittering star. After reading about the number of asteroids, meteors and other chunks of space rock that pass alarmingly...

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Ode to Lysefjord

Green. Deep, strong and stretching into every horizon. The grandeur of the pine-covered hills is interrupted intermittently by a secluded community of log cabins, or an icy-black body of water usually fenced by rugged crags.

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On-Off

In March of 2003, my girlfriend, Amy, and I trekked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal’s Himalayan Mountains. Circling for one hundred and thirty miles (210 Km) around the entire Annapurna range...

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Osa Peninsula

We fluttered down hidden steps, crawled under fallen trees and side stepped razor grass. We reached a swamp with thick grey water that settled at our thighs and filled our boots; it was a maze of hanging vines and reeds...

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Slow Boat to Bagan

You hop on the back of motorbike before any light is in the sky and ride through the streets of Mandalay, the headlight illuminating a pre-dawn market spread out in the middle of the street.

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Snakes alive!

As a former student of Russian kept at bay by the Iron Curtain, I had for long harboured a desire to travel in Central Asia; and last year I managed it.

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Stone Towers Of Mount Svaneti, Georgia.

Leaning forward, holding tightly to the roof beams, we poked our heads out of an 800-year-old stone tower in the country of Georgia. From our vantage point some 25 meters above the ground, we saw scores of other ancient...

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Swathe of Silk

Before I visited Kyoto, I had read countless articles saying the same thing: True geisha are notoriously difficult to spot.

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Tales from the Rio Grande

"One more beer señor?" The voice echoed vaguely in and out of the dull thumping in my head as I forced myself to look up from the bar that I had fallen asleep on.

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The Island Owner

It was year 2007. My husband and I were looking forward to a special holiday on Petit St. Vincent in the Caribbean. It was this island`s unusual atmosphere that first attracted me, the fact that the villas do not lock...

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The Number One

Ireland is the most romantic place in the world. Its not Paris, “The City of Lights” or “The City of Love.” It’s not the sunny vineyards of southern Italy or the art of Rome, the waterways in Venice, the seaside in Greece...

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The Piano

“Six hundred miles mate,” the trucker emphasized. “No lift for me, no lift for you.”

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The Queen of Haiti

I sat on the window ledge listening to the rain as it hit the white tents outside of our hostile. Just minutes before, when it had only been drizzling, the brash music of a marching band had poured through our open windows.

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The Roof of the World

The wind was howling and we were enveloped by a thick dense darkness. The faint glow given off by my head torch could not penetrate the intensity of the black velvety night.

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The Swim

It’s surprising how much colder the Arctic air feels when you’re completely naked. Although of course it could be argued that doing pretty much anything in the Arctic is likely to be colder than doing it anywhere else.

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Time-tripping through the Yucatan

From the modern resorts of Cancún and Playa del Carmen, the mysteries of the Maya, the entrance to the underworld and the city that sparked the Mexican Revolution are in close proximity, yet centuries apart

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Where India and Pakistan meet

Punjab, India, after 10 nights of sleeping in third class trains.

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Whew!

There’s nothing like kayaking down a lazy river, and South Carolina’s Salkahatchie is a true gem.

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White Wonderland

With the mist hanging over the ship like a cold, grey curtain, we crept forward slowly in the pale light.

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