Larry Habegger

About Larry Habegger

Larry Habegger, executive editor of Travelers’ Tales, has visited more than fifty countries and six of the seven continents, traveling from the Arctic to equatorial rainforests, the Himalayas to the Dead Sea. In the 1980s he coauthored mystery serials for the San Francisco Examiner with James O’Reilly, and for thirty-one years wrote a syndicated newspaper column, “World Travel Watch.” Habegger regularly teaches travel writing at workshops and writers’ conferences, is a principal of the Prose Doctors (prosedoctors .com), and editor of the Travel Guide to California, an annual magazine (californiatravelguide.travel). He lives with his family on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco.

Cubana Be, Cubana Bop

travelers-talesBy Tom Miller

Grand Prize Bronze Winner (tie) in the Fourteenth Annual Solas Awards

The best guitar maker in Cuba.

Three events—baseball, Pope Jon Paul’s visit, and the Elián González case—exposed Cuba to the American public far beyond the embargo. Yet it was the improbable success of a handful of aging musicians that exposed a Cuba few knew and expanded the country’s audiences far beyond its bashers or its cheerleaders. The musicians went by the name of the Buena Vista Social Club, their music came from the 1950s and earlier, and their appeal was resolutely apolitical. On a visit to Havana, the American musician and producer Ry Cooder, not finding the musicians he sought, teamed up with Cuban producer Juan de Marcos to produce an album of exquisite sounds from another era.
Cubana Be, Cubana Bop2020-04-30T11:32:33-07:00

Our Ravaged Lady

By Erin Byrne

Grand Prize Gold Winner in the Fourteenth Annual Solas Awards

Little by little, his spirit expanded in harmony with the cathedral.
—Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame


She’s had many lives and here was the burnt offering of another.

Notre Dame’s lace spire sizzled and crumbled as it fell, and the gigantic hole it created became a cauldron. Flames, golden to orange to red, assaulted the lavender-tinged Paris sky, and smoke billowed in gray and white explosions. Silhouetted against glowing cinders, her bell towers stood dignified but unprotected.
Our Ravaged Lady2020-04-17T22:47:20-07:00

Dark Train to Cusco

travelers-talesBy Chase Nelson

Grand Prize Bronze Winner (tie) in the Fourteenth Annual Solas Awards

A modern-day rescue mission raises questions of life and death.

With her husband looking on, we took turns pumping her heart for her, pushing blood to her organs, to her extremities, hoping for a gasp to bring her back, tearful and afraid, from wherever she was now.

Technically, they were called compressions. Less technically they were called rib-breaking, breast-exposing, desperate attempts at resurrection.
Dark Train to Cusco2020-03-31T16:59:36-07:00

Fourteenth Annual Solas Awards Winners

We're pleased to announce the winners of the Fourteenth Annual Solas Awards for Best Travel Story of the Year. Grand Prize winner Erin Byrne collected $1000 and the gold award for “Our Ravaged Lady,” her powerful evocation of Notre Dame Cathedral’s symbolism for generations of the French people and for herself personally. Amanda Castleman won the silver award and $750 for “Love in a Time of Abundance,” her poignant account of vanishing cultures and our own mortality on a safari in Botswana. Tom Miller and Chase Nelson shared the bronze award and $500, Tom for his inspirational profile of the “best guitar maker in Cuba” in “Cubana Be, Cubana Bop,” and Chase for his dramatic tale of life and death and conquest en route from Machu Picchu in “Dark Train to Cusco.” Here’s the complete list of winners. Read the Grand Prize Gold winning story in our Editors' Choice section.


Now Available: The Creative Spark

We're very excited about Michael Shapiro's latest collection of interviews, The Creative Spark, on the subject of creativity. In it he talks with 32 of our most inventive individuals from the worlds of music, literature, film, exploration, and cuisine about their process and what creativity means to them. Each chapter is prefaced by a short biography. Among those interviewed: Smokey Robinson • Barbara Kingsolver • Francis Ford Coppola • Jane Goodall • Amy Tan • David Sedaris • Graham Nash • Pico Iyer • Joan Rivers • Merle Haggard • Lucinda Williams • Frances Mayes • Judy Collins • Melissa Etheridge • Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson • Lyle Lovett • Robert Earl Keen • Dave Alvin • SF Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow • Jerry Garcia Band keyboardist Melvin Seals • Ukulele wizard Jake Shimabukuro • and many more. Order a copy now!
Fourteenth Annual Solas Awards Winners2020-04-29T17:00:06-07:00

Love in a Time of Abundance

travelers-talesBy Amanda Castleman

Grand Prize Silver Winner in the Fourteenth Annual Solas Awards

Navigating grief with the Okavango Delta’s last generation of Bushmen hunter-gatherers.

When he was 15, Ditshebo “Dicks” Tsima took his spear into the bush. Hunting was still legal in Botswana’s Okavango Delta then, so he could follow an ancient coming-of-age tradition, practiced for around 200,000 years by his people: the Bushmen.

Most young men ran down giraffes, their lean muscles churning to pace the world’s tallest animals, which can cruise comfortably at 10 mph. Hour after hour, they pursued the lolloping giants through the mosaic landscape where Africa’s last wetland wilderness drains into the Kalahari Desert. Islands, scrub, and grasslands all flashed by: a fractal terrain of riverine lushness and heat-seared dust. “You chase them until they get exhausted and stand their ground,” Dicks explains. “Then you spear them. That’s the best way for a family to judge your worth. If you can chase down a giraffe, then your in-laws know you will take good care of your bride.”
Love in a Time of Abundance2020-03-02T15:49:20-08:00