Editors’ Choice

Editors’ Choice Articles

Pteropods in the Balance

By Laine Gonzales

Seventeenth Annual Solas Award Gold Winner in the Animal Encounter category

Clad in three layers of thermal underwear, insulated bib overalls, a parka, and waders, my range of motion is seriously impaired. I cautiously step into the Antarctic waters of McMurdo Sound — inching my bulbous “bunny boots" forward, carefully securing one foot before taking the next step. I am undeniably out of my element. This Southern California science teacher lives a routine existence, my days dictated by a 5:30 a.m. alarm and the structure of a high-school bell schedule. That’s not to say I don’t navigate tough terrain in the classroom, ever pivoting between the biological wonders of our world and the stark facts of a changing planet. My students, who are inheriting both the awe and the urgency, hang in the balance.  Read more.
Pteropods in the Balance2023-06-06T00:06:28-07:00

Encounter at Hadrian’s Wall  


By Connard Hogan

Seventeenth Annual Solas Award Bronze Winner in the Travel & Sports category

The early hour, along with the jet lag which gripped me like a vise, muddied my senses and conspired to mute my enthusiasm. But I re-stuffed my day pack, and with Hadrian’s Wall Path guidebook in hand, legged it the quarter mile under gray overcast to the ruins of Segedunum Fort, the eastern terminus of Hadrian’s Wall. I could’ve hired a car or used convenient countryside buses. I could’ve accessed “the Wall” from two-lane roads in dozens of places, taken short strolls, and arrived at my evening’s lodging with my feet none the worse for wear. But no! I wanted to hoof Hadrian’s Wall Path westward for the entire eighty-four miles from Segedunum (Wallsend, Newcastle) to Maia (Bowness-on-Solway). I’d decided to collect the six stamps on a “Hadrian’s Wall Path Summer Passport.” Read more
Encounter at Hadrian’s Wall  2023-05-13T01:52:30-07:00

A Long Century


By Yefim Somin

My cousin Suzanne left Russia for France in the early 1970s, when only a few managed to emigrate. Little communication was possible across the Iron Curtain, but one thing stuck in my memory: there is a place in Paris, she wrote, where the name of our common relative is on a memorial wall. Almost 30 years later I am taking my teenage son on a grand tour of Paris. Metro Picpus is in the outer 12th arrondissement, far from the tourist crowds, but that’s where we are heading one day. Read more
A Long Century2023-05-08T22:23:11-07:00

The Hotel Ricardo


By Taylor Jennings

Of all the gin joints in all the hotels in all the countries in Africa, the Hotel Ricardo in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, probably most resembles Rick’s Café in ‘Casablanca’ if not physically, at least metaphysically. It was long after sunset when we left the endless desert behind and entered a populated area where golden charcoal fires flickered across the hills.  Accordingly, I was completely unprepared for the shock of electricity when the driver stopped at the end of a short driveway in front of a two-story tin-roof hotel with a welcoming open doorway. Read more  
The Hotel Ricardo2023-05-01T04:58:18-07:00

Letting Go of Hungary


By Ying-Ann (Annie) Chen

Seventeenth Annual Solas Award Gold Winner in the Funny Travel Category

When I turned twenty, all the things I wanted got in my head. So, I went to Hungary. I scrolled through the program website of simple synecdoches. Brazil: Christ the Redeemer, Croatia: lakes, Mauritius: monkeys, Mongolia: yurts, Thailand: temples, Poland: colorful buildings, and Romania: Medieval architecture. Hungary: sunflower fields. Off I went. I stood in a clean suburban house under a slanting red tiled roof and windows that opened outwards. This was my host home in the village of Zalaegerszeg. I gifted my host-family Ghirardelli chocolate, a Sather Gate magnet, and pineapple cake. The city near where I live, where I go to school, and where I am from, I explained. Read more
Letting Go of Hungary2023-04-23T02:17:52-07:00