Editors’ Choice

Editors’ Choice Articles

How the Swiss Make You Say Bad Words


By Ben Ren

Silver Solas-award Winner in the Funny Travel category

It was during dinner that Mom uttered a most terrifying sentence: “I want to visiting Europe again.” Dad, who was in the midst of airlifting a swath of noodles into his mouth, immediately paused operations, the carb-heavy threads dangling precariously from his chopsticks like loose wires. I gulped as a wave of anxiety washed over me. It had been three years since we last set foot on the continent, and for that my feet were grateful. The blisters–our painfully-won souvenirs–had only just healed. Read more
How the Swiss Make You Say Bad Words2023-11-27T05:37:56-08:00

In the Garden of the Fox


By Anne Sigmon

Gold Solas Award-winner in the Travel and Healing category

My visit to Kyoto’s famous Fushimi Inari shrine veered off track even before I left the parking lot. One of Japan’s oldest and most revered Shinto shrines, Fushimi Inari was the one site I’d most wanted to explore in depth as I traveled around the country with a group of friends. Fushimi is a UNESCO World Heritage site founded in 711 AD. The shrine sits on a holy mountain, a shaded retreat with altars dotted on a tangle of forested trails that snake up a seven-hundred-sixty-four-foot peak. It is guarded, believers say, by magical foxes, those tricky denizens of Japanese folklore. Read more
In the Garden of the Fox2023-11-16T22:23:03-08:00

Shopping for Salvation in Nicaragua


By Tiffany Hawk

Silver Solas Award-winner in the Travel and Shopping category

My Spanish 101 may be buried under 25 years of rust, but when our bus driver says, “quince minutos,” it’s clear that I’m in big trouble. Our guide, Jesus, doles out facts about Lake Nicaragua’s freshwater sharks and the lagoon atop the nearby volcano, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. A woman across the aisle complains about her knees as her husband pretends not to hear her. The couple behind us teaches bridge strategies to the couple behind them. In our mid-40s, my husband and I are 30 years younger than anyone else on this tour, which is important: it means no one on this bus can help me. Read more
Shopping for Salvation in Nicaragua2023-11-13T07:57:23-08:00

The Treatment of Dead Enemies


By Laurie McAndish King

Gold Solas Award-winner in the Most Unforgettable Character category

              Four decapitated heads, each the size of a large grapefruit, materialize as my eyes adjust to the shadows. The heads, which hang at eye level on thin cords, each have long dark hair and shiny black faces, with eyes and lips that are sutured shut. They are human heads, on display in a tall glass case at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, England. I creep forward until my nose touches the glass and gawk. Two of the heads sport long, braided hair with red and white feathers plaited in, and decorative threads sewn into their upper and lower lips. The other two look more natural, with straight hair and no facial adornments. They are tsantsas—shrunken heads—made by the Shuar and Achuar people who live in the Amazonian rainforest. Read more...
The Treatment of Dead Enemies2023-10-06T20:17:23-07:00

Ghosts in the Black Forest



 By Marianne Rogoff

Gold Solas Award-winner in the Love Story category

  Jayne and I are traveling to Switzerland, to an international conference on the depth psychology of Carl Jung. On our way we’re staying overnight in Freiburg with Josef, a German she met here over thirty years ago when she was a young American exchange student. She had told me he was her first true love and first hard breakup so I am a little worried about the plan, but when we arrive he welcomes us with warm hugs and smiles as we leave our shoes and baggage at the door. We’ve been on the move through airports and train stations for days; we’re animated, wired and tired, and when Josef offers fancy house slippers to wear, they are all so sparkly we can’t decide. He is excited, playful, as he slips his favorite pairs on our feet and carries our carry-ons upstairs to show us around, sliding across the wood floors in his socks like a kid. He suggests “some good German beer and a bite to eat” and we accept and settle in while he bustles around, aiming to please, at home in the kitchen, arranging plates of food with panache and ease. Read more
Ghosts in the Black Forest2023-09-24T04:40:27-07:00