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.

Crossing Shibuya

travelers-talesBy Aaron Gilbreath

Grand Prize Silver winner of the Twelfth Annual Solas Awards

Within Tokyo's populous Shibuya ward lies the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing. By some estimates, 2,500 people cross here during rush hour each time the signal changes. Locals call it “The Scramble.” Every day, over two million passengers pass through neighboring Shibuya Station, commuting to work and enjoying the area’s countless shops and restaurants. Many of them pass through The Scramble. When traffic lights turn red, they all turn red simultaneously, stopping ten lanes of automobile traffic and sending pedestrians from five separate crosswalks into the massive intersection. For nearly one full minute, people flood the street in what seems an explosion of human buckshot. To the casual observer, the surge resembles chaos ─ all these bodies, weaving and darting, moving in different directions across each other’s paths. Yet there is order to it, a choreographed chaos. As Los Angeles Times writer John M. Glionna said in 2011, “Despite so much humanity inhabiting such a confined space, there’s rarely a collision, sharp elbow, shoulder-brush or unkind word.” When you watch footage of The Scramble, you can’t help but wonder what holds this system together. How do people remain so well-behaved?

Crossing Shibuya 2018-03-07T21:03:57+00:00

All the Grains of Sand

travelers-talesBy Angelique Stevens

Grand Prize Gold winner of the Twelfth Annual Solas Awards

It was a full moon, which meant from my vantage point, I could see his naked silhouette shining blue as he washed his body behind the big lorry. I was naked too, behind the Land Rover. The body was so familiar, that wiry frame, those graceful hands, the shaven head and the point of his beard. We had both gone, separately, to bathe behind the circle of vehicles that surrounded our camp. I had been so careful about choosing a spot farther away from the men sitting around the fire that I hadn’t realized I moved myself closer to the place where the crew washed. At some point, mid-bath, I turned my head and there he was, no more than 20 feet away bent double scooping water from his basin and splashing it on his chest.

All the Grains of Sand 2018-03-01T19:30:50+00:00

Spring Books and Solas Awards

Our spring book lineup is rolling out, with three titles already available and another coming in June. All are available for order on Indiebound, Amazon, or at your favorite bookstore. First up is Tania Romanov's Mother Tongue, her poignant memoir of life stretching from the Balkans to San Francisco and back again over three generations. Next is La Dolce Vita University, an unconventional guide to Italian culture that is witty, charming, whimsical, and loaded with fascinating insights, truly an A to Z experience. James Michael Dorsey's Baboons for Lunch, a poignant, powerful, and sometimes funny series of encounters with the world's remotest places and people, is just out. Look for 100 Places in Cuba Every Woman Should Go by Conner Gorry in June.


On March 1 we announced the winners of the Twelfth Annual Solas Awards for Best Travel Story of the Year! Grand Prize winner Angelique Stevens collected $1000 for “All the Grains of Sand,” her evocative rumination on the metaphor of keeping clean during weeks of travel in South Sudan. Aaron Gilbreath won the silver award and $750 for “Crossing Shibuya,” his engaging account of navigating “The Scamble,” the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing in Tokyo. Juilene Osborne-McKnight took the bronze and $500 for “Mitty in Rome,” her imaginative tale of wandering the streets of Rome finding stories everywhere she goes. See the complete list of winners.

Spring Books and Solas Awards 2018-04-30T17:02:20+00:00

The Fan Over the Dining Table

travelers-talesBy Donna Lawrence

A reach for understanding of an unknowable past.

My grandmother wrote a genealogy tracing her family, the Corbins of Virginia, and it was fun to flip through the slender book and find interesting connections. Some of it was speculation. One Hanna Corbin married John Augustine Washington, brother of George Washington. She may have been connected to our family of Corbins—that was uncertain. But one connection that Grandma was sure of was William Tappico, King of the Wiccocomico Indians of the Algonquin tribes, whose granddaughter, called Mary Tapp, wed our ancestor, John Corbin in 1799. My dad was so proud of that, our Native American blood. But, among the records of births and marriages and deaths, one entry stopped me cold. It was the last will and testament of William Corbin of Culpeper County, who died on December 3, 1796: “I give and bequeath unto my son Benjamin Corbin one Negro wench Sarah and her child Lydia and all their future increase.” Reading those words, I forgot to breathe.

The Fan Over the Dining Table 2018-03-07T20:35:56+00:00