Editors’ Choice

Editors’ Choice Articles




By Rosie Cohan

Silver Solas Award-winner in the Travel and Healing category

I land in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital in April, 2000. Kosovo, a small land-locked republic that was part of the former Republic of Yugoslavia. This ravaged land was part of the Serbian massacre of Muslims, as was Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1998-1999 Balkan war. Trudging down the metal steps onto the tarmac in the Spring of 2000, I see at least fifty UN and NATO soldiers in brown and camouflage uniforms, loaded down with ammunition belts and automatic weapons. They scurry around guarding a few commercial and military planes, tanks, and several white Red Cross ambulances. Entering a temporary metal shack that serves as an arrival area, a bald, middle-aged man is eyeing each passenger. Below his faded, black leather jacket is a slightly wrinkled white shirt that resembles his pale, drawn face. I am one of the few women and my bewildered look must have identified me. He asks my name, and introduces himself as Mustafa, Vice President of the Riinvest, the economic think-tank I am to consult with on behalf of a Washington, D.C. non-profit. Read more

Negotiating with Nomads


By Mike Bernhardt

Seventeenth Annual Solas Award Gold Winner in the Travel & Shopping category

A parade of tables lined the sunny, cobblestoned promenade, displaying hand-inlaid wooden boxes, ceramic vases, fossils, and silver teapots. A beige stone wall, festooned with colorful tapestries and inset with arched, wooden doorways, bordered on one side. A hint of brine wafted on the light breeze. As I strolled in Essaouira, my favorite town in Morocco, a man called out to me from the entrance of his emporium. "Come into my shop and have a look around!" His ample frame was clothed in a brown robe and a black turban; his round face wore a smile radiant as the morning sun. "I'm not buying, I did all of my shopping last year," I called back. On that first visit to Morocco, my copious purchases nearly exceeded the airline’s weight limit. Somehow, his smile brightened even more. "No problem, just have a look anyway!"
Negotiating with Nomads2023-07-30T19:30:14-07:00

The Ride


By Heather Williams

Seventeenth Annual Solas Award Silver Winner in the Bad Trip category

It was 1972 and I was hitchhiking with my friend Wendy in Northern California. It's hard to believe now.  Women eagerly climbed into cars with strange men back then, especially in California where everything, anything, was possible. I was an adventuresome 22-year-old. I had dropped out of Oberlin College and traveled west on my own.  Wendy was eighteen, from New York.  She and I became friends in Los Angeles where we were volunteer community organizers for Cesar Chavez’s lettuce boycott. Now, having moved to Berkeley, we were headed far north for our next adventure: visiting her brother at a rustic summer camp high in the Trinity Alps. The campers hadn’t arrived yet. We would be hanging out with counselors as they prepared. Read more
The Ride2023-07-17T07:53:09-07:00

Lines of Duty


By Lauren Napier

Seventeenth Annual Solas Award Gold Winner in the Family Travel category

A chain-link fence topped with barbed wire guards a collection of crumbling adobe buildings. Scrawled graffiti warns “DANGER” through splintered wooden beams. On the other wall, “home” and “daddy” can be made out — the spray paint faded. I cannot step any closer to read the graffiti in its entirety. Cowboy boots cover my ankles and protect against snake bites, but the brambles and burs collected in the dry ditch between the unpaved road and the base of the fence, roughly six feet away, prove treacherous. No car has passed since my travel companion, Vic, and I pulled over at this forgotten site in Arizona. Driven by a never-waning desire to seek the less seen, we had followed roads that looked like pencil sketches on the map. On this day, my journey here is not yet personal. Read more
Lines of Duty2023-07-06T16:40:12-07:00

The Cauldron of Calamities


By Masha Nordbye

                                 Seventeenth Annual Solas Award Gold Winner in the Bad Trip category

On an unseasonably cold January evening in Los Angeles, I excitedly boarded my flight to Barbados. After several years of unpredictable travel due to the pandemic, I had signed on for a small Caribbean cruise (with only 60 guests). With COVID cases declining and being triple vaccinated (and everyone onboard required to wear face masks), I surmised that my risk was fairly minimal. The voyage would depart from Bridgetown, the capital, and sail on to St Lucia, the Grenadines, and Grenada, with final stops at the Dutch ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. Having just completed an intense work project, I looked forward to tranquil sailings amidst the tropical islands. But after landing, security informed me that I had taken an incorrect PCR test, and thus needed to repeat one at the airport.

...little did I know then the dramatic fate that awaited me in the weeks ahead. Read more
The Cauldron of Calamities2023-07-03T13:57:37-07:00