This year marks the first time I’ve been able to defend a title.
When the 2014 Travelers’ Tales Solas Awards were announced over the weekend, I was fortunate to scoop up the gold medal in the Travel and Shopping category for “The Power of a Stare,” my story about the evil eye amulets of Turkey. Last year, a piece I wrote about Guyanese cassareep, a thick, bitter sweet flavoring sauce, scored the gold medal in the same category.
So what does this mean for me? My acquisition of stuff while traveling is justified. And not just to remember a place (souvenir means “to remember” in French, after all). Stuff, especially stuff peculiar to a locality, can have the ability to open a window into a culture and its values. Sometimes the window just leads to more closed windows, more questions. But the journey to find answers is part of the allure of travel, at least for me.
Objects that can fit in my luggage were not the only things that worked out well for me last year. I was also fortunate to win a gold medal for “Dark Meat, Bright City: Feasting on Seal Meat in Montreal,” and bronzes for “A Message for the Cabbage Head Man” and “The First Astrotourists of Panama.” My largest haul ever.
Congratulations to all the winners of the 2014 Solas Awards! The complete list is here.