Defending Gold. And Consumption.

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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.

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About OmnivorousTraveler

Darrin DuFord is a travel writer, mapgazer, and jungle rodent connoisseur. His writing has won numerous awards and has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, BBC Travel, Gastronomica, Roads & Kingdoms, Narratively, and Perceptive Travel, among other publications. He is the author of Breakfast for Alligators: Quests, Showdowns and Revelations in the Americas (released in July 2016) and Is There a Hole in the Boat? Tales of Travel in Panama without a Car, silver medalist in the 2007 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards.
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