The 2018 I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition -- The Results!

Again this year the I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition has been a storm of stories from around the world. From the mountains of India to the depths of the oceans, from Mongolia to Maine, you've taken us there--and for this we're grateful. We love being part of your adventures.

This year's judge has been Amanda (Mandy) Huggins, who currently has not one but two short fiction collections out: Brightly Coloured Horses (Chapleton Books) and Separated from the Sea (Retreat West Books). The writers of the three highly commended entries below will receive a copy of Separated from the Sea. Huggins, also an award-winning travel writer, will share her thoughts on the pieces and the competition in her judge's report, which will be published here in September.

Congratulations again to everyone who made the long list and the shortlist. We hope you'll participate in next year's competition.

The Winners of the 2018 I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition:

First Place

"My Name is Mai" by J L Hall (Scotland)

Second Place

"Not Your Mother's Travel Porn" by Douglas Weissman (USA)

Highly Commended

"A Fighter in the Waste" by Nolan Janssens (Chile, Belgium, Canada)

"Beyond the Reef" by Brittany Rohm (USA)

"A Peaceful Warzone" by Hannah Elkak (UK, Saudi Arabia)

These five entries will appear at I Must Be Off! in September and October. There is still a Readers' Choice Award to be given, so please comment on and share your favorite pieces.

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of Other Household Toxins (Matter Press) and Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire). Allen's fiction has appeared, or is forthcoming, in [PANK], Eclectica Magazine's 20th-Anniversary Speculative anthology, Indiana Review, Split Lip Magazine, SmokeLong Quarterly: the Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Longleaf Review and Lunch Ticket, among many others great places. Read his book reviews in Necessary Fiction, Word Riot, and The Lit Pub. His creative non-fiction has been featured in Bootsnall Travel, Chicken Soup for the Soul and others. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen is a multiple nominee for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, The Best Small FictionsstorySouth's Million Writers Award and others. In 2017 Allen was both a finalist (as translator) and semifinalist for The Best Small Fictions. He is presently the co-editor of SmokeLong Quarterly and a consulting editor for The Best Small Fictions 2018  


  1. I loved Brittany Rohm's piece about snorkeling. Not only is snorkeling one of my favorite things to do, I have known Brittany since she was a little girl when she was part of my writing group as a kindergartner.


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