SOUTH DEERFIELD, MA—The best of the year’s travel stories have been selected again this year by Max Hartshorne, editor of the travel website, GoNOMAD.com. “Every year we publish at least 300 stories, he said, “These ten have been carefully chosen to represent what we think is the very best in travel writing, from all sorts of points of views.”
What are the criteria for the top ten? It’s a combination of the place, its uniqueness, the point of view of the writer, and especially, how well the photos help to tell the story for the reader.
Each is important to giving the reader a true sense of ‘what it’s like there’ and capturing it in words and pictures. A few of the winners also provided top notch advice and information, which is another of GoNOMAD’s missions.
Here are the top ten best stories for 2013:
1. Photographing Magical Morocco by Kathryn Weir. Here we take a fantastic and photogenic destination, Fez, and Kathryn provides very specific and useful tips with examples of how to get the best shots when traveling. She’s got striking images and the advice is useful to any shooter on any trip.
2. Lalibela, Ethiopia: Trouble at the Churches by Terence Baker This story takes on a tough issue—a hurting local economy and the need to balance how much you can fairly charge to visit a historic church, in a place that needs many more travelers to visit to help develop its tourism. Baker represents each side and shares striking photos of this age-old place.
3. Madagascar: Getting to Know a Little-known country by Bike by Cath Harris
For us, once again it’s about the place, and what you do when you get there. Cath Harris decided to bicycle into local villages and explains how they create fantastic works of art from discarded materials. Our mission is to show how readers can help people in poor countries and Harris shows us the way she did it.
4. Paris with Mom by Connie Westergaard Connie might have once dreamed of a romantic trip to Paris, but as life moves on, she refused to wait for her prince. So she joined her mom on a tour of the City of Light. Her decision was one that many of our readers have faced, and she provides a practical guide in a good natured style to the fabulous City of Light.
5. Aix-en-Provence: A Beautiful City of Markets and Fountains by Gina Reisner
With this story it was the photos that won us over with an enthusiastic narrative guide to Aix. It’s a sunny, lush place and Paul Goldhagen’s photos capture the light, the ancient, and the new to provide a tempting portrait one of France’s finest cities.
6. Abruzzo Italy: Waiting for the Wolves by Adam Eagle
He went to the National Park in this sparsely populated mountainous part of Italy to see the wolves. He wasn’t able to see them but his persistence paid off when he heard their calls, and they heard his. His supplied wolf call audio clip sealed this winner, plus gorgeous photos of this region in Italy.
7. A Wonderment of Innocence: Fak Fak, West Papua Indonesia by Michael Britton. Nobody goes to Fak Fak, we learn, yet the author makes it seem like a place we should consider visiting. He offers candid advice to locals he befriends there, this story presents a familiar scenario to experienced travelers who sometimes get more involved than they mean to in the lives of others.
8. Paghman, Kabul’s Cottage Country by Jassamine Tabibi. The author returns from abroad to visit a peaceful place in her native Afghanistan. We often forget that tourism happens even in places torn by war. She provides an example of an open mind and tries to clear the path for a road back for this tough country through tourism.
9. In the Land of the Monarchs: Mexico’s Butterfly Reserve by Molly Beer
Not only is the reserve a top notch family destination, it’s a place that any photographer will enjoy visiting. Molly provides great information and tips for family travelers and makes this unique butterfly reserve, near Mexico City, come alive for readers.
10. Lost Luggage: Packing In What’s Really Important by Jeni James
James visits Barcelona with friends, and her luggage gets lost in transit. While she frantically checks her email, calls the airport repeatedly, she realizes that what’s really important, friends and the journey, not what’s lost in your suitcase.