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The I Must Be Off! Travel Essay Contest 2014 — Results

First, thank you to everyone who entered. We had lots of entries this year, and lots of different interpretations of the travel essay. Congratulations to the following writers. And a special thanks to this year’s judge, Robin Graham. First Place “Oh, Calcutta” by Paola Fornari   Second Place “The Scarlet Mile” by Gillian Brown   […]

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Whale Mothers by Dawn Reno Langley

“A very personal piece that takes the reader on a journey with a surprising destination.” — Robin Graham, travel writer and judge of the 2014 I Must Be Off! Travel Essay Contest ____________________________________________ Honolulu is a disappointment in a lot of ways. The Waikiki Beach I remember from movies like Elvis’ “Blue Hawaii” is wide […]

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Walking Istanbul by Ana Astri-O’Reilly

“Good style in this piece. Lucid and cool.” — Robin Graham, travel writer and judge of the 2014 I Must Be Off Travel Essay Contest ________________________ I felt unexpectedly at home in Istanbul. Sometimes it was a flavour that evoked that sense of familiarity, like the sweet peanut paste called halva, which took me back […]

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Genki deska? by Alyson Hilbourne

“An iconic image we’re all familiar with – the bathing monkeys of Japan – is itself refreshed in this behind-the-scenes account.” — Robin Graham, travel writer and judge of the 2014 I Must Be Off! Travel Essay contest _________________________ “Genki deska?” The red-faced monkey ignored me and continued to stare into the distance, unblinking, in […]

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Oh, Calcutta by Paola Fornari

All good stories test boundaries. The boundary here is the edge of the author’s comfort zone. Skilfully told. — Robin Graham, travel writer and judge of the 2014 I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition ____________________ ‘There are 330 million Hindu Gods.’ Ajit had only told us about four so far: Krishna, Radha, Shiva, and […]

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The Scarlet Mile by Gillian Brown

“This is good journalism. Both the chosen subject matter and the execution demonstrate a good grasp of story.” — Robin Graham, travel writer and judge of the 2014 I Must Be Off! Travel Essay contest ______________________ It is the first time I’ve visited a brothel. Perhaps this is why I picture a glamorous Madam, heavily […]

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Bodrum, Turkey’s San Tropez by Jack Scott

“Very professional – a knowledgeable and informative introduction to a destination that digs beneath the surface, in an engaging style.” — Robin Graham, travel writer and judge of the 2014 I Must Be Off! Travel Essay Contest __________________ The town of Bodrum (ancient Halicarnassus) sprawls along the southern shore of a chiselled peninsula in the […]

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Harvest Time by Rilla Norslund

“I was attracted by the poetry and ambition of this piece. How wonderful, and unsurprising, to discover afterwards that the author is a poet.” — Robin Graham, travel writer and judge of the 2014 I Must Be Off! Travel Essay Contest _________________ If you travel north into the delta of Bangladesh in May, you will […]

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From Lake to Lake to Lake to Lake — Rafting in Mecklenburg

The day before I’m scheduled to go rafting in northern Germany, I have a fever of 102, body aches and a migraine. I had a tick vaccination, which carried with it some pretty hefty added bonuses. I certainly hope the vaccination was worth the side-effects. If I don’t see at least one tick this summer […]

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