Travel Writing Competition 2014 Entries Page 2

A Bear Hunt

We started our month in British Columbia with a wish list: eagle, moose, elk, orca, coyote, chipmunk, racoon, bear. In Vancouver we learned that bears were everywhere except in the heart of the cities, even suburban gardens were troubled by them.

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A Bovine Adventure

Naturally we wanted to see more of the south island of New Zealand and, heading north from Hanmer Springs, our plan was to cut through the Molesworth Station crossing the Acheron river and 200km on to Marlborough and Blenheim.

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A Breath in Belgium

The first steps off the plane in Belgium felt refreshing, particularly after a journey that had lasted well over 13 hours. I had left Los Angeles in search for the leisurely pace and the organic air of Europe.

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A bridge like no other

I arrived at Hua Lamphong station, in Bangkok, in good time to catch the 6.30am train to Nam Kok, stopping at Kwai station. Humidity was high, even at that early hour, and the station vendors were already out and about offering cooked fish and meats to early travellers.

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A day in the life of an Easy Rider

On my second day in Nha Trang, Vietnam, I met Kim, a fellow Dane who had lived in Vietnam for the past fourteen years. Kim had a small bar in the western quarter of Nha Trang and had done pretty well for himself, selling watered down beer to tourists.

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A Peruvian jungle encounter

Look out for red eye! said Lewis, pointing to his own squinting torchlit eye. This was the last piece of advice I heard from the Peruvian biologist, who had disappeared suddenly with the rest of the group into the sticky night.

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Africa stays in your soul

Leaving Africa is undoubtedly one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. When I reached passport control at the airport, I turned back to say a final goodbye to my hiking guide. I gazed wistfully into his eyes wishing I could convey even a drop of the deep feelings of respect and gratitude I felt towards him.

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Animal Magic

Our visit to the San Juan Islands, the archipelago west of Seattle, was planned to see orcas. But alas the weather hadnt read the script and unending rain and high winds meant that the waves were too high for decent visibility and safe passage.

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Australias Outer Barrier Reef

Down Under in the Outer Barrier Reef, fish are wild, aggressive, and hungry. The sea creatures starve, and will do anything to kill. When large humans step foot into their territory, many could attack for their six o’clock dinner.

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BATANES Near yet so far

Batanes is an island province comprising ten islands that are located in the Luzon Strait between the islands of Luzon and Taiwan. It is the northernmost part of the Philippines

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Bewitching Tales of Winter Exorcisms

Its 02.55am on a grim winter night when my flight touches down at the Sofia-Vrazhdebna Airport, the main international hub of Bulgaria. I had hoped for a refreshing clear sky but the damp tarmac and an oppressing nip hint at a thick layer of sludgy clouds above my head.

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Breathing Space

It is my second night on Koh Si Chang and I have sighted the gecko clinging to the side of the palm trunk again. Earlier, I tried for a photo. I moved he disappeared.

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Breathtaking Bryce

Our waitress, Kimberley, is in overdrive. Its awesome that Ive ordered the pulled pork and equally awesome that Im from Wales.

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China Doll Hands

My hands. My God, my hands. So cold. I am convinced if I struck them carelessly against my ice axe they would shatter like porcelain and tumble down the side of the mountain.

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Confusion in Kefalonia

Whilst on holiday for the first time on the Greek island of Kefalonia, my friend and I decided to take day trip that had been recommended to us, to the Monastery of Agios Gerasimos.

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Culture Shock

Stepping into the arrival lounge at Bali Airport I was unprepared for what was to come. A sea of faces stared back waving pieces of paper with every name but mine displayed.

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Cycling to the end of the world

In 1980 two gangly teenagers cycled across the arctic tundra to find themselves heading over the rocky wastes of Mageroy to the Nord Kapp - the most northern tip of Europe.

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Dashing through the snow

For the huskies on Icelands glistening glacier Langjokull, the word Walkies has a very different connotation from the norm.

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Decrypting the lost tribes of Himalayas

As I unrolled the map of Ladakh, my eyes were certainly intrigued by the quaint little village of Dah-Hanu, nestled on the rugged cliffs of Batalik region.

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Down the Garden Path

My youthful entourage, which in no time at all had swelled to imminently unmanageable proportions, pulled me, grubby little hands in mine, off the dusty track that cut through the sprawling Casamance village and down a narrow, palm fringed footpath.

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Elephant Enlightenment

Chiang Mai is a beautiful little town in Northern Thailand situated along the Ping River. Home to ancient temples and history, the town offers an inviting ambience

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Evening In The Sky

My husband had always wanted to go on a balloon ride but I had never been that keen. However, I had always said I would give it a try if the place interested me and an opportunity presented itself.

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Finding beauty in the chaos

A single month does not contain enough days to unravel the mysteries and wonders of India. While I may be leaving the country without unearthing much at all, I have had the fortune of experiencing twenty-eight days of shocking discoveries.

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Ghosts in a downpour

The gates of Hell have opened...so bring on the food and festivities its time to party with some hungry ghosts!

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Grateful to Be

My best friend Edaine and I walk on the narrow path leading into the heart of the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces in Bali. A short way ahead is Diana, our driver and tour guide.

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Helwa ya baladi

What is your name? The dark, friendly eyes of the bus driver studied me curiously. The plane just landed on the old airport of Cairo. It was around three in the morning and the air smelled of gas and summer heath.

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Indigenous wedding and a sea turtle

A sea turtle washed up on the beach, a small cut on its underbelly and a dent in its shell. Two of the neighbours carried it between them, placing it carefully next to the hose in the yard.

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Key chains

New Delhi was like nowhere I’d been before. Prior to this my only understanding of life in India had come from Slum Dog Millionaire. I was a naive girl on a business trip. I thought poverty would be hidden down back alleys or limited to slum neighborhoods. I was wrong.

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Lets go for a swim

“Mama mia, here I go again, my my how could I resist ya?” It was 2am on a Wednesday morning in June, I hadn’t slept for 19 hours and found myself singing accompanied by two Italian long-distance lorry drivers in the cab of their huge vehicle, carrying cows from France to Italy.

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Lost at Sea

In March this year, our little red boat departed from El Hierro in the Canary Islands, to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. It was a voyage we had been planning for nine hectic months.

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Manatees in Belize

Theres a rumour that Manatees have been spotted in the area today said Levi, our Rastafarian tour guide in a thick Caribbean accent.

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Mogamma

Theres a building in downtown Cairo, an imposing off-white structure that sits in the tempest of noise swirling around Tahrir Square. Its called the Mogamma.

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My camping safari in Kenya

Imagine walking among the world’s greatest game herds and the Big 5 on the plains of Masai Mara, the ‘pink’ lake-Lake Nakuru, or even the Special 5 of Samburu.

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On the road again

It was Tuesday at 2:36 PM when it all went black. Above, the grey skies mirrored the austerity of the crash. Below, a frenzy of helicopters and blood, of life and death, of trepidation.

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Our of the door, into the World

Ghana. It isnt mind- blowing, fun or inspirational. There is no respect for hygiene or no sense of adventure. Its pretty banal... and its my home.

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Salt of the Earth

The dwarf stood a metre tall, was smartly dressed and wore a stern, no-nonsense expression, but the twinkle in his eye suggested he had a cheeky streak. Or maybe it was just the way the crystal caught the light.

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Shoeshine Sir

I met a shoeblack the other day in Istanbul, right next to Hagia Sophia. On my way from one sight to yet another, he was sitting at the street corner offering to polish my shoes while I passed by

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Surfing the sparkling waters

Surfing the sparkling waters off the far North Coast of Australia, or getting lost amongst the colourful wares of vendor boats floating on the murky waters of the Mekong in Thailand.

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The Day I Confused the Mountains

I believe that more often than not, peoples lives turn out differently than they could ever expect. It is up to each person to decide how to handle the unexpected curve balls which life occasionally throws our way.

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The Meeting

You’ve been in Orkney 1200 years but I’ve only been here three weeks. We both travelled a long way to get here – me 11,000 miles, you 1,200. My journey was by plane, train and boat, yours by long ship.

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The Most Scottish Thing Thats Ever Happened

We were standing outside of the pub when we heard it. Bagpipes. We could just barely make out a piper on top of the hill in the distance.

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The real life wickerman

Stepping onto the platform my girlfriend (at the time) and I realise we are literally at the end of the line. The locomotive(from the Harry Potter films) disappears into its own smoky haze with a shrill noise.

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The Reluctant Butcher

‘You will be the butcher man’, at once everyone read my weak smile and laughed. I don’t mind killing a chicken, but a goat was a whole new ball game. My bravado had preceded me and now I was paying the price.

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The road to Everywhere

As the van pulled away, I stood on the porch of my Nebraska home and wondered what life would be like now that I was fatherless.

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The Sound of Silence

Total silence is a commodity rarely afforded to anyone these days, and should you happen across it, it can be a little unnerving, until you come to terms with it.

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The Spice of Life

The Marrakech boys gathered round the economy flight smelling fresh meat that had just landed in the centre of the spice filled Jemaa el fna.

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The Stars and I

Ive always been fascinated by the stars; luminous flecks dotting an ink-black canvas with borrowed light. My breath-taking travel moment is a sky darker than most, a horizon that seemed planets away and the biggest stars I have ever seen.

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The Worlds Best Natural Treasure

Ever since I can remember I wanted to visit the Down Under, particularly The Great Barrier Reef. I had always been curious to know what that side of the world looked like and Finding Nemo did not seem to settle my curiosity.

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This feeling of peace

No background noise, no irritation, no deadlines to meet or time keeping to make, no questions to be answered or questions to ask, no plans to create or problems to solve.

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Travels with my family

During the summer before I turned 15, my parents sat me and my two younger brothers down, and told us that our family was going travelling for the next 8 months. Not only was this unexpected but I wasnt the least bit enthusiastic about the idea.

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Umrah A Pilgrimage of Peace

Florida to Saudi Arabia. A thirty-hour journey that was, to say the least, exhausting. But as soon as I stepped foot onto the bus that would be transporting our group, a fresh burst of energy and vigor swept over me.

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Urubici Summit

"There are poisonous snakes here, so you have to be careful", said our guide Jorge turning back to look at us as we walked. "When it´s sunny in the Winter I always see a Jararaca or a Cruzeiro Snake in the path", he said.

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Weathered walls and radiant smiles

It had been over a week since I had immersed myself into Cairo culture, but was it the culture I was after? I had done all the touristy business, Pyramids( from the popular and grand Giza trio! to the lesser visited but more interesting area of Dashur the Red and Bent Pyramids!)

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