#25 Jean Gill
When I discovered Hunawihr and storks, in 1990, the nests on village spires were an empty hope, a reminder of times gone by. The village has not changed. In autumn, the white trails of wood-smoke hang over the half-timbered houses, up a crooked hill to the distinctive one-spire church famous from local wine labels. Through the alchemy of grape and harvest, the vintners turn mountain water to ‘pinot gris’ and ‘Gewurztraminer’, mountain water turned to wine, the taste of the terroir. And hope has returned. My heart takes wing and settles with a pair of black-and-white birds, homing.
#24 Judian TJ Cooney
Imagine awakening to the warm caress of the Caribbean sun. Palms whisper and coves beckon. Languid sands stretch out before you. And a breeze embraced by turquoise waters gently cools you. .
This is your wake up call, inviting you live out your daydreams. And begin your most important beginning, in Paradise. The epitome of laid-back luxury, Barbados.
Arriving here is like being transported back to a bygone era of elegance. All of sudden, this shooting star went by, and all I could think was that they were listening to us somehow.
#23 Jacky Donovan
The Road Not Travelled
Case packed. Check.
Whips hidden. Check.
Fake cat explained. Check.
As I await my taxi, I feel like Clark Kent spinning into an alter ego, readying myself for potential transformation.
From heroic cats of the feline variety to my trusty cat o’ nine tails, the tools of my trade sit forlornly on a mental shelf. Temporarily on hold.
With only a one-way ticket to Bangkok, who knows what paths I will tread, which people I will meet, and who I will be when, or if, I choose to return.
My transport beeps its arrival. I step into the unknown…
#22 Cinda Brooks
A beam of light spears through a crack, spotlighting dancing particles in the darkness of a smoky mud-cow dung boma. My hostess hands me an overflowing tin cup of boiling chai, her hardened, cracked fingers brush mine in the darkness. The chai drips on the dirt floor; a wordless message that I am very welcome in this home. I hear the sizzle as she spits into the fire in the floor of the one room hut. Baby goats’ bleating beside me in melody with the tinkling cow bells, the morani warriors calling, and children coughing outside.
#21 Shirley Ledlie
As I snorkelled alone in the warm Gulf of Aquaba, I was transported to a different world. It was easy to lose track of time and I soon found myself at the drop-off ridge.
I’ll watch this shoal of fish for a few minutes and then I’ll head back. With a blink of an eye they vanished!
What’s frightened them? My blood ran cold, I felt alone.
Effortlessly gliding up behind me, the reef shark returned my stare. He stopped in front of me.
This is it.
Then, with a flick of his tail, he was gone, shooting off into the abyss.
#20 Charlotte Smith
The Dog’s Dinner.
While travelling from England to Spain with our dog, Billy, we stopped in the French town of Blois, and went in search of much needed refreshments.
Happily, the French welcome dogs in restaurants, and the waiter didn’t bat an eyelid when I dredged up some Franglais and ordered ‘un petit burger’ for Billy.
On the bill, I noticed ‘steak hache de cheval’, which at eight euros cost more than my salad.
We left the restaurant muttering a silent prayer for the poor horse that had become our dog’s dinner.
At least he enjoyed every mouthful.
#19 Jill Dobbe
Jose led us into the jungle toward the ancient birthing site of Los Sapos (The Toads). Mayan women once traveled here to give birth atop large boulders that resembled toads. In rapid fire Spanish he briefed us on the history then waved me over.
Jose motioned for me to climb on a rock. He then pushed me onto my back and grabbed my legs forcing them apart. With my limbs spread eagle he gestured wildly between my thighs, as if about to catch a real baby from my vagina.
“OKAY, I get the idea!” I shrieked and jumped from the rock.
#18 Kelly Reising
The week my dad passed away, I was staying where my parents lived. The hotel had outdoor pools. There was even a lazy river through the aqua park! A lovely setting along Lake Conroe even in a horrible time, with dad ending his year long battle against cancer. My now husband flew in after I had been there a week. After the airport we decided to take a dip in the closed lazy river. In our clothing. Luckily at midnight, no one at the hotel seemed to notice we were blowing off our sadness by having a little swimming fun.
#17 Val Vassay
My husband, baby son and I were on a BA flight from Bahrain to Bangkok: our first trip to the Far East. Lunch had just been served when suddenly food and drinks were flying everywhere. No, not turbulence: a tall, red-headed guy and two Asian guys were fighting like mad up and down the aisle. The stewards managed to get them to sit down then the Captain came out of the cockpit and told them they’d be tied into their seats if they didn’t behave. At the time I wasn’t scared. Now, after 9/11, I’d be terrified.
#16 Graham Higson
I’d been commissioned to write about a ramble up a famous peak: three naked men, one naked woman. And me.
Rex was being super cool, carrying his shorts on his shoulder; standard issue in case you met the public. In soaring heat, we reached the top and collapsed on the bench. Then a lone woman approached. All the nakeds hurriedly donned shorts, and Linda her velco-fastening skirt, top and wide-brimmed hat.
But Rex had lost his shorts! And the woman was almost upon us ... At the last moment Linda planted her hat over his middle region and all was saved.
#15 John Findley
Our trip almost over, an announcement made that all seats to be placed upright. My seat would not budge a look of annoyance now on the face of our hostess. She pushed the button again, the man behind pushed. The backrest made a crunching noise, and moved forward, I was pushed into the seat in front. With acid tones instead of her normal voice our hostess announced that she would have to move me, “and me,” announced my wife, we gathered up our hand luggage, we headed up to first-class the only seats available and found our rightful place.
#14 - Sarah Jane Butfield
Stepping off the aeroplane my face, cool from the flight was bathed in the warm breeze from the Indian ocean as the aeroplane fuel fumes confused my senses. A shuttle bus awaited us for transit to the sea planes. The intense noise of the sea planes engines made conversation impossible. No words were needed. Looking through the tiny windows the islands resembled stepping stones in a turquoise pool, the beaches forming halos around them. Landing in Kuredu, I was swept off my feet by a Maldivian man and like a movie scene he carefully placed me down in paradise.
#13 - John Rayburn
“How about a different kind of travel?” by John Rayburn
This one inside Hoover dam on the border of Arizona and Nevada. Our trip started with an elevator ride going through the rock wall of Black Canyon. We went down, down, down more than 500 feet in barely more than a minute. There’s a viewing spot above pipes 30-feet in diameter. Your unusual voyage seems paltry in witnessing fantastic water power rushing through on the way to hydroelectric generators, feeding them 90,000 gallons of water every second! Earth or space excursions would be unbelievable if that energy could be harnessed.
#12 - Jackie Parry
I found a small mirror in my compass case.
I flicked open the lid and a stranger peered back at me. Thick grey strands had taken root in my fringe. I had wide, white horizontal lines between my eyes and above my nose where I’d creased my face in worry and the sun hadn’t reached inside the folds. With my dirty t-shirt, cracked lips, and damaged skin and hair, I looked quite a picture. I looked down at my short nails: they were dirty and chipped. My fingers were smudged with ‘Neddy-dirt’ where I’d recently scratched his itchy-spot.
#11 - Maretha Botha
I found a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow – soaked all over by the swirling mists of the mighty Zambezi River – laughing out loud and singing at the same time. Unbelievable! After fifty years of looking longingly at its pictures, I finally stood at the crest of a 330-foot abyss, reverberating with the never-ending sound of millions of voices; a thundering curtain of water, dropping into the depths below. Although I travelled far and wide, I’ll never forget the Victoria Falls near a town called Livingstone.
#10 - Ann Patras
“Mummy, I’m going to be sick”. Here we go again, I thought.
“Brad, is this ‘I’m going to be sick’ like when we were on the airplane flying into Africa? But then you weren’t sick. Or like when you were sick over the taxi driver? ”
“I don’t know, mummy.”
“Be a good boy and if you think you’re going to be sick, be sick in this.” I said handing him the paper bag. “Then take it to that nice lady wearing the hat.”
I hoped he realised I meant the air stewardess, not the passenger wearing a colourful turban.
#9 - Judy Testard Bauer
The Kite Festival was Awesome. It was one thing I had looked forward to. We took a bus there and walked way back into the woods near the ocean to see it. There were people all over in their special coats with markings of their town. Food all over to enjoy.
It took 20 guys to get the kites up into the sky. The kites are huge and when they are way up in the sky, they look so tiny.
The strings rub together and friction breaks each others kite strings to bring them down. The last one up wins.
#8 - Patrick J. McNeill
On the Istrian Peninsular, I found Solaris Autocamp at Lanterna. Fee paid, I pitched my tent near the sea. Bathers in the waves weren’t wearing swimsuits. I’d stumbled on a naturist site, but I’d paid my money, so I would stay. Christina and Deitrich, in the next tent, wore clothes, reassuring me, and soon we were making a meal together.
Invited to badminton I was the only one clothed, and not wanting to be the odd one out, joined in as nature intended. In the restaurant and supermarket I quickly forgot no one was wearing a swimsuit or anything else.
#7 - Susan Joyce
Krakow boasts of magnificent sculptures and monuments. The most impressive is in “Ghetto Heroes’ Square” in Kazimierz. A community where Jews and Christians lived side by side in harmony. Until the 20th century.
This eerie display of empty, over-sized, bronze chairs honors the murdered Jews of the Podgorze Ghetto. They were ordered to bring earthly possessions to the square, and were then taken away. Most perished in the concentration camps of World War II.
I sat on one chair and blessed the bright minds silenced because of war. I wept, grateful to have survived the Cyprus War of 1974.
#6 - Renee Moon
It's not MY travel nightmare but it did end up with me purchasing numerous gifts including two "I survived Hurricane Sandy while my friend was in Caymen" shirts!!
I waited 2 years to go to Grand Caymen and when I got there Hurricane Sandy hit my home in New Jersey. The lights were on the day I landed, my house/dog sitter hasn't spoken to me since. She flew in from Wisconsin, for a FUN, AFFORDABLE New York vacation. I have pictures and bills of storm damage. :(
#5 - Nancy McBride
Her lover picked us up in a limousine. Openly, they conferred, “Where can we be SEEN?”
At the right restaurant, shown to the right table, as hoped, we were “SEEN” by the elite of Melbourne. “You’re Coral’s American friend? How IS she?”
Without Coral, a famous former fashion model, these wanna-bes were nothing. Bored, Coral travelled the world, skiing, and now lived in my working-class hometown.
She was wearing a floor length mink coat—a last vestige—when I met her at a local pancake house. She told me to tell them all she was studying to be a nurse.
#4 - Frank Kusy
THERE’S THE RUB
‘I don’t believe it!’ said Anna, bursting out of the room with just a towel clasped around her. ‘I just woke up and that guy was massaging my tits!’
Well, I wasn’t having that. I marched over to Allan, the proprietor of our modest guest house in Jodhpur, and said: ‘You told me that massage man was the best in Jodhpur. What’s he doing massaging my girlfriend’s breasts?’
Allan went deathly pale.
‘He is massaging your girlfriend? I thought he was massaging you. This man, he is a eunuch. He has never touched a woman before!’
#3 - Julie Haigh
My travel highlight has to be my trip on a shoestring: a return flight to Belfast for £5! It cost more for the bus trip from the airport to the city centre than to travel from Yorkshire to Ireland! It was a fun day out-yes-I know-not very ground-breaking or exotic-but really cheap! We had a long browse in the book shop which mum wasn’t too enamoured with as she’s not really a reader-she thinks you could be cleaning the windows while you’re wasting time reading a book! It was actually a lovely day out and just that little bit different.
#2 - Fran Macilvey
Warm breath that escapes in rhythmic huffs, clouds the air ahead of me affectionately. Deep, strong flanks, supporting my sinewy over-stretched legs, keep me cosy through autumn breezes flecked with threatening rain. A momentary hesitation, a dip of the ears, and then we go out, striding across the yard and under the trees, heralds of the great, old estate. Old Boy stumbles, but I sit forward and pat his flank, happy to be travelling high, gazing up and dreaming beneath bent, leafy heights.'
#1 - Robert Fear
A real shock awaited me.
The police were there making a check of the guest house.
While sitting on the verandah with an American guy, Stan, I remembered with horror that Scott had given me a small container of grass and that it was lying on my bedside table. I just hoped that my friend Graham had managed to get rid of it somehow.
My heart fell when I was called into the room and confronted with it. I didn't have much choice about confessing that it belonged to me.