The Seventh-annual I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition Long List

Thank you to everyone who entered this year. Thank you for sharing your adventures, your disasters (quite a few disastrous stories this time), and your inspiring moments on the road. This year 25 of you made it to the long list. Congratulations to all of you. Please keep an eye on I Must Be Off! […]

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An Interview with Michelle Elvy, the judge of the 7th annual I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition

Thank you, Michelle, for judging the seventh annual I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition. Each year we read hundreds of stories by writers around the world. In June we led a workshop focused on travel writing. What in your opinion makes a great piece of travel writing?  Thanks for having me, Chris – and […]

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My Name is Mai by J L Hall

Every time I climb the stairs to the Skywalk, I look for her. For Mai, small and filthy in her yellow dress. She sits here against a pillar, baht scattered and glinting around her, a tattered cardboard sign propped in her lap etched in marker pen that says: My Name Is Mai. I think she […]

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Not Your Mother’s Travel Porn by Douglas Weissman

We came to theboma, a gate that encircled the village beneath the shadows of the distant mountains. Outside the main streets of Arusha, hidden in the brush and discarded trash that bordered some semblance of harvested gardens, we followed our Maasai guide as he toured us through the local village. The sunlight in the Tanzanian […]

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A Fighter in the Waste by Nolan Janssens

Tossing dead scorpions to chickens, slicing through a tangle of thorny scrub with a machete, and shitting in a dirt hole has become our daily routine. The cattle-pen that we had volunteered to build is almost complete. Our goal is to help an orphanage near Chinandega (Nicaragua) become self-sustainable, but we haven’t yet spent time […]

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A Peaceful Warzone by Hannah Elkak

During the first 12 hours in Aleppo, we hadn’t seen any war. It was almost as if everything we had seen on TV and the harrowing pictures splashed on front pages were a fabrication. On the street outside the flat, Wissam’s uncle and I waited in his car whilst Wissam ran back home to collect […]

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Beyond the Reef by Brittany Rohm

Warm water licked my bare feet as I waded into the South Pacific. Sand the color of lightly toasted sugar tickled my toes. Behind me, towering palms swayed in the sea-salt breeze, guarding the tiny island of Lifou. Through the narrow strip of jungle, in the protected bay on the opposite side, swimmers bunched together, […]

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Forbidden Fruit by Fiona Dixon

Whenever the rain stopped or slowed long enough for the mist to lift and reveal the steaming hills, I took to exploring. At the far edge of the settlement, past the family of black pygmy pot-bellied pigs, I began to climb the hill on the ridge that looked most accessible. It had been peering down […]

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Old Foreigner by Fiona Rintoul

‘They are dead,’ grinned Mrs Wu, who had met me at the airport. I looked out the minibus window. Four bloodied bodies lay on the road. Behind them, two vans, crushed like tin cans, were fused in a wonky embrace. The men were indeed dead but they hadn’t been for long. Their blood was as […]

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