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A Day Out on the Death Railway by Toni Marie Ford

‘This is the start of the Death Railway’, says Pai and I look back at Nong Pladuk station as we chug into motion and leave it behind. Sun-scorched yet saturated with colour, it’s a station in miniature. The walls shed snowflakes of blistered paint and clutches of jasmine and frangipani drip their scented sweat onto […]

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A Thousand Cranes by Mandy Huggins

As we emerged from Hiroshima station a man on a bicycle cut across in front of us, wobbled perilously, and sent a bag of leaflets fluttering across the station forecourt. He quickly dismounted and swooped down on them like a bird of prey, apologising profusely as we went over to help him. After we’d returned […]

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Wild Encounter by Graham Mercer

When I was about five my Aunty May took me to the theatre to see Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I came away with a doomed infatuation for Goldilocks (I was short-sighted and from the stalls, in her short skirt and stage make-up, she must have looked like Degas’ Dancer with a Bouquet of Flowers, […]

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The Fairies of Faerie Glen by Michele Ivy Davis

When you reach the lochan (pond), you know you are close to Faerie Glen. In the Highlands of Scotland on the Isle of Skye is a magical place called Faerie Glen. You won’t find it on any maps, but it is real. I know, because I’ve been there. To reach it, you must begin at […]

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The Seven Headless Dwarfs by Matthew Wolfe

The outdoors, “backstage” area of Disney World stood as a boundary between the organized chaos of family entertainment and the natural order of a wetlands. Alligators to the north.Peter Pan land to the south.I was a teenager in limbo. My own family for this trek to the Magic Kingdom was the roughly 100 members and […]

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The Chase by Moira Ashley

I gasped and sat up straight as a meerkat in the rattling Land Rover, but didn’t say a word. I’d embarrassed myself enough today. ‘Crouching lion cubs!’ had turned out to be nothing more than termite mounds; ‘White rhino!’ a sun-bleached rock. The light was fading rapidly, both sky and dense fynbos the hue of […]

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Muerte! Muerte! by Ben Woollard

The Sevillan river water ripples by the miniature castle landmark where we gather, three of us, here now for a show we’ve heard so much about. We wander over to the arena, as it is called, some surviving relic of Roman games, a coliseum in guise by any other name. The purpose of the day […]

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David and the Girl by Cari Oleskewicz

It is the end of June and hot. We are in a line snaking along the ancient buildings on via Ricasoli, around eleven a.m., and the girl is whining. She doesn’t care about the museum and she doesn’t want to do it and why can’t we have a gelato and where are we having lunch. […]

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The I Must Be Off! 2016 Top Ten or maybe . . .

Eighteen! This year we received so many entries that we’ve decided to publish a few more than ten. Paola Fornari has narrowed the entries down to a Top 18. In the coming weeks, each of the pieces below will go live on the date indicated. While first and second places have been decided, there is […]

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The 2016 I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition — The Shortlist!

Narrowing down the field of entries this year has been a Herculean feat, one I can’t take credit for at all. This year’s judge, Paola Fornari, has had her work cut out for her. The quality of writing this year has been stunning. Many many thanks to Paola for all the time she has put […]

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