An Interview with Graham Mercer, winner of the 2016 I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition

Graham Mercer was born and brought up south Lancashire, England. He spent nine years in the Royal Navy before becoming an elementary teacher. Mercer lived and taught for 34 years in Tanzania, East Africa where he met his Pakistani wife, Anjum. Now they live in north Cheshire, England. Interests include wildlife, writing, travel, reading, photography, […]

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An Interview with the 2016 I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition Judge, Paola Fornari

Travel writer Paola Fornari was born on Ukerewe Island in Lake Victoria, Tanzania. She has lived in a dozen countries over four continents, speaks five and a half languages, dabbles in several others, and describes herself as an expatriate sine patria. In every new posting, her curiosity leads her to explore every corner of her […]

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Announcing the Winners of the 2016 I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition

First of all, each of the Top 18 entries in this year’s competition deserves high praise. The entries on the long and shortlists also deserve recognition. We received so many memorable stories from writers around the world. Thank you to all 647 writers who entered the I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition. You made […]

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This is Jalala by Nadia Elkadri

Any horror is better than your own. It was our third scary movie in a row, and at this rate I knew I wouldn’t get any sleep that night. Seeing as sleep was a commodity in the region, I requested that my Movie Night friends could perhaps try watching something a tad lighter. I will […]

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Finding Atlantis by Hal Ackerman

No summer will be remembered more passionately, in more vastly different ways that the summer of ‘69. Events that occurred within sixty days redefined the outer limits of humanity. In both directions. There was sublime peace and love at Woodstock. There were bloody corpses in Bel Air. Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell/Charles Manson. Helter Skelter. Teddy […]

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A Kiss of Oranges and Myrtle on Crete by Mihaela Lica Butler

Ah, Crete, the Minoan cradle, that place of legend, where Basils of the world still hope for Zorba to teach them how to dance the sirtaki at Stavros. That iconic tune of “Zorba the Greek” still echoes here, with every kefi, for Cretans are born to dance, and they couldn’t care less that before 1964 […]

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A Very Cuban Lesson in Kindness by Ruth Colmer

‘I taught myself English, by candlelight, in the Jungle. In the Jungle!’ He repeats the last phrase with delight as if freshly astounded by the unlikeliness of his tale. This is only the second thing that Roberto has ever said to us, the first being the obligatory ‘Where are you from?’We are stood outside a […]

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Vladi’s Castle by Nathaniel Morris

Soon after we had set off for Thethi (Theth), the driver pressed a phone into my hands. “Vladi,” he said by way of explanation. I had no idea what this meant, but one of the three German hikers seated beside me in the van explained that ‘Vladi’ was the young man who had organised their […]

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The Heart of What Matters by Elizabeth Eidlitz

Nothing ahead is man-made. Behind us, sailboat masts are matchsticks at the Key West wharf.The bow of our catamaran creates a windy monotone as it crosses turquoise ribbons on a sea of royal blue.Cumulus clouds hang low in a sky with frigate birds, and flying fish jump like skipping stones. Six of us are making […]

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A Glimpse of the Future Coming from Behind by Paula Veselovschi

The strong August winds were swiping the barren fields of this tiny village on the Bolivian shore of Lake Titicaca. Don Tomas invited me into his house. Surely, he wouldn’t leave me sitting outside to freeze. Don Tomas, the organizer of my homestay there in Santiago de Okola, was trying to get a hold of […]

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