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Publisher Richard Loller's  Journal
For Year 2021
Index to All Journal Years

Flash! 
News From Our Writers 

2022 Contests 
New Rules now posted

Contest Judging
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All Contest Winners
Winners Circle Winners

Scroll down for the most recent stories
Blackberry Brandy
 





Joyce Benedict


 
© Copyright 2021 by Joyce Benedict

Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash
Photo by 
Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash
                           

. . . .The  operation completed I awoke with my right arm encased in a thick cast from shoulder to hand. It was Christmas 1952. I had just undergone the second of three orthopedic operations  performed due to polio contracted when I was four. I cried quietly each night from pain, self-pity and loneliness.  I wanted to be partying. I was just a junior in high school. . . .

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Easy Kill




James L. Cowles

  

© Copyright 2021 by James L. Cowles

 

Graphic courtesy of Pixabay.
Graphic courtesy of Pixabay.


This might interest a few of you, I don't know. It started as a story a friend told me, that was just too hard to believe. If you have a couple of minutes, I hope you'll read it and give me your thoughts. . . .

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What Lies Beneath





Christin Kaiser



 
© Copyright 2020 by Christin Kaiser


 

Photo property of the author.
Photo property of the author.                      


The foundation of our old farmhouse was dry laid fieldstone, which Dad pointed in the early 1940’s when he placed a concrete pad for the new furnace. The pad covered the central portion of the dirt floor, leaving much of the rest of the cellar under the midsection and the barn apartment unimproved. Never one to waste builders’ material, Dad pointed much of the stone foundation at the same time, using the remaining mortar. . . .

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The Abandoned





KC Chan Wing Haw



 
© Copyright 2020 by KC Chan Wing Haw


 

Photo by the author.

Photo by the author.                      


This story tells how I as an individual who likes to think we have forgotten our roles the way our daily lives take us on. Storeroom is one place we rarely spend time tidying up or even use our free time thinking bout what contains inside. I decided to open this door and I see a different self. . . .

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Lost in Switzerland





Justina Ogodo


 
© Copyright 2021 by Justina Ogodo

Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash
Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash                                                

. . . . The journey was totally unplanned, and it was past midnight as we wandered about in a foreign land. We had never visited Switzerland before, neither did we understand the language. Everywhere we turned was like a dead end — the streets were deserted, of course. . . .

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No More Innings




Lew Goddard

Edited by Anne Goddard



 
© Copyright 2021 by Lew Goddard

Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash
 
Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash                                             

That felt extremely good! There it goes, the baseball I just hit! Up, up, soaring toward the fence, and over it! My twenty fourth, an even two dozen, home runs for my team. . . .

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The Seagull'
 


Joyce Benedict


 
© Copyright 2021 by Joyce Benedict

Photo by John Higgitt on Unsplash
Photo by 
John Higgitt on Unsplash
                           

. . . . In the summer of 1984 I had decided to take a trip. I was recovering from what had begun as a beautiful relationship, but ended by being destroyed by the ravages of alcoholism. The trip was my prescription for a broken heart.  I believed it was impossible to ever love again. This man had satisfied me intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually.  I was 47, mourning the loss, and drained in every way from my efforts to ‘cure him.’  The change of scenery eagerly anticipated. . . .

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Half-Starved As A Child, She Fed Everyone
Life Lessons Mama Taught Me



Karla Bowen Herman


 
© Copyright 2021 by Karla Bowen Herman



Photo of Mama.  Property of the author.
                     Drawing of Dortha as a girl. Property of the author.

Everyone who comes into my house for the first time always comments on the wall of photos featuring family members cooking in the kitchen. It is to honor my mother, Dortha Fox Bowen, who was half-starved as a child, but made sure her younger siblings were fed—as well as everyone around her, for the rest of her life. . . .

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The Morning After The Murder
I Unwittingly Went To The Murderer's House



Karla Bowen Herman


 
© Copyright 2021 by Karla Bowen Herman



Photo by Rachel Lees on Unsplash
Photo by Rachel Lees on Unsplash

He was STOMPED to death! Who murdered this young, well-liked police officer?
You are about to read a secret I have kept for 45 years. Something happened when I was almost 16 years old that chilled me to the bones. I have never revealed it to my parents, my siblings, or even to my friends—past or current. Only my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time it happened) has heard my account. . . .

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A Mother Always 'In The Mood'
 




Joyce Benedict



 
© Copyright 2021 by Joyce Benedict

Photo by Jens Thekkeveettil on Unsplash
                                        Photo by Jens Thekkeveettil on Unsplash
                           

. . . . It was April 12, 1945. My sisters and I came home from school one day to our little house in Corpus Christi, Texas. It was deathly quiet. We three looked at one another questionably. Always, mother would be ironing in the living room, a stack of clothes piled high on the floor, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and other familiar sounds  blaring away  on the old Philco radio. My mother dancing  her boogie-woogie style as she ironed. . . .

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You Can't Always Tell A Priest By His Collar




Frank Stern

 
© Copyright 2021 by Frank Stern




Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
                                                   Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Rented klieg lights illuminated the concrete walkway, lending a festive air to the quiet suburban neighborhood. Cameras snapped and whirled as community leaders, church dignitaries, parishioner families and invited guests in animated conversation trekked their way through the open maple doors. The minister said “Welcome” to each person who entered – as did the President of the Board and the President of the Women’s Auxiliary. The local Methodist church was dedicating its new sanctuary. . . .

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My Most Memorable Visits




Okoye Gosife Janefrances


 
© Copyright 2021 by 
Okoye Gosife Janefrances



Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash
                                              Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

. . . .The 5th of August, 2017 was a day I will never forget. That very day, we were to have the grand finale or the national level of a quiz I had been participating in right from the parish level. I and my partner together with a few others including the MCA animators travelled to Benin for the quiz to represent Lagos Archdiocese being that I was the first and my partner was the second position at the archdiocesan level. . . .

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Covid Castaway




Stanley Bloom

 
© Copyright 2021 by Stanley Bloom






Photo by Ross Stone on Unsplash
                                                                  Photo by Ross Stone on Unsplash


My travel story begins with a scheduled three-week visit to family members in California. That was early in March last year. Countless flight cancellations, travel restrictions and ESTA extensions later, instead of being six thousand miles away, I was still there. But life for me was not to be a simple matter of seldom venturing beyond the front door, mask-wearing and social distancing whenever I did step outside, thoroughly washing hands and ordering supplies online for delivery. Much more drama lay in store. . . .

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Cross Country Jaunt




Tiffany Smith

 
© Copyright 2021 by Tiffany Smith




Photo by Julia Karnavusha on Unsplash
           Photo by Julia Karnavusha on Unsplash

On June 2nd, 2020, at ten am in the morning, I started driving out of Long Beach, California, where I had lived for several years, toward a friend’s house in Millsboro, Delaware, not far from the city where I grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But Philly, with relatives of mine still stuck in 20th century thinking, wasn’t my ending destination. I wanted to go and be of help, service, and what I thought was to be love, to a friend who had suffered some very personal losses in her life. . . .

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War and Woman




Arad Niksefar


 
© Copyright 2021 by Arad Niksefar



Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

                                                    Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

I was busy playing on the family farm when I heard the sounds. A boom, shots firing, fear and Parisa’s mother screaming out her name. Sounds that are never heard in the village of Boustaan. I could hear fear, chaos and the need to escape in the sounds around me. The loud noise of bullets firing sounded like pop-corn bursting in the fire. They sped past the terrified villagers and once in a while someone would fall to the ground. . . .

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Behind The Masks

 

Shivaji K. Moitra 

 

© Copyright 2021 by Shivaji K. Moitra 
   

 

          Photo by Swarnavo Chakrabarti on Unsplash
                                                                Photo by Swarnavo Chakrabarti on Unsplash

The hellish curse, the inferno, the vicious plague, the pandemic, by whatever name we may wish to describe the most terrible scourge of modern times, still seems to be an understatement. . . .

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The Philippines is a Rice Place to Live









Gloria Lauris

 
© Copyright 2021 by Gloria Lauris




Photo property of the author.
                                                   Photo property of the author.

When people talk about SE Asia, typically Thailand, Malaysia, Bali and Indonesia spring to mind. But the Philippines? This ‘Pearl of the Orient Sea’ is often overlooked by tourists and by foreign retirees as an affordable option. . . .

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Camping and Covid-19




Sally Quon

 
© Copyright 2021 by Sally Quon




Photo property of the author.
              Photo property of the author.

How’s that?” My son asked. “Does it have enough air?”
Even though I could feel the cement pad below the tent brushing my spine, I was quick to acquiesce. The mattress was firm enough. The problem was that I weighed too much. If we added any more air, the plug would just plop out the first time I rolled over in the night. I’d rather deal with a slightly less than perfect mattress now than deal with sleeping on the ground later. Besides, my mattress at home was firm. It wouldn’t be that different. . . .

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My First Glimpse into the Real Mexico




Michelle Lin

 
© Copyright 2021 by Michelle Lin





Photo by Michelle.
                         Photo owned by the author.

Is Chipotle an accurate representation of what Mexican food is like? I have always been a passionate Mexican food lover. But, people often laugh at me when I appreciate the burrito bowls from Chipotle, calling them "Mexican food." Last year, I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend a language exchange program in Mexico where I built life-long connections and saw the authentic "Mexican food." . . .

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Campground Gods on Padre Island




Janda Raker

 
© Copyright 2021 by
Janda Raker



Photo by Brittani Burns on Unsplash
                                                     Photo by Brittani Burns on Unsplash

Like most gods, campground gods are subtle, almost impossible to perceive, difficult to determine their wishes and the results of their judgments. My mom had always told my brother and me to leave the world a better place than we found it, and I have taken that literally, in many ways. I wipe off countertops in public restrooms, volunteer for social-justice organizations, sat on the board of the local PTA, vote, and of course, tidy up campgrounds I stay in, always trying to pick up litter around my campsite. . . .

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Life Was Calling, And I Had To Go




Ankita Bagri

 
© Copyright 2021 by 
Ankita Bagri



Photo by the author.
                             Photo by the author.

. . . .In her usual disillusioned style, my friend, Prerna, used to say, “Europe would be the high point of our lives, nothing after this will ever come close.” Looking back, the 36 days Euro-trip, was so chock full of memories that every word spoken then, every thought from those times, became unforgettable. . . . .

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Travel Solo, Not Alone




Hilary Bryn Thomas

 
© Copyright 2021 by 
Hilary Bryn Thomas





Phoyo by the author.
      Hilary's journals, guidebook,
      and maps. Photo by Hilary

In this essay, Hilary Bryn Thomas captures memories of a journey fifty years ago, when she traveled from Canada to Argentina by land and a little by sea. She traveled solo, but not alone. . . .

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Bison, Bear, and Elk - Oh My!




Suzanne Anderson

 
© Copyright 2021 by Suzanne Anderson






Photo by Goutham Ganesh Sivanandam on Unsplash
                            Photo by Goutham Ganesh Sivanandam on Unsplash

Tourist visit Yellowstone National Park, hoping for wildlife encounters. Being from the Midwest, I’ve encountered bison in fences and elk in nature. I’ve even sighted a black bear in my front yard as I drove into my driveway. My first visit to Yellowstone exposed my latent fear of grizzly bear. . . .

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Deep in the Canyon




Robert Sperry

 
© Copyright 2021 by Robert Sperry




Photo by Parsa Mahmoudi on Unsplash
                                        Photo by Parsa Mahmoudi on Unsplash

We continued to sing and laugh in the back seats of the old station wagon as it rumbled through the wilting early June desert heat. The excitement and anticipation began to build as we gradually approached our destination. Finally arriving, we clamored out to get our first look. As a teenager in the 70’s, I was well practiced at looking cool. Not much could elicit emotion from me, or so I thought until I stepped to the edge of the south rim of the Grand Canyon that bright summer morning. “Wow” was about all I could muster in breath taking awe of the overwhelming beauty and enormity of it all. And then the realization truly hit home - we were somehow going to the bottom to camp for a week. . . .

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The Old Normal




Aditi Neelakantan


 
© Copyright 2021 by 
Aditi Neelakantan




Pboto owned byy the author.

It was the January of 2020 when my sister and I visited the beautiful country of Vietnam. It had been a couple months of planning, syncing schedules, drawing up itineraries and occasionally yelling at each other, but now we were walking into the airport with the sweet trepidation of having successfully coordinated our first international trip together. It was around midnight when we walked to the terminal and patiently waited to board our flight to the city of Ho Chi Minh. I recited random facts about Vietnam as my sister, or Akka as I called her, nodded, politely feigning interest. Life was good. . . .

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Somewhere In Between




Arch Ramesh

 
© Copyright 2021 by Arch Ramesh




Photo by Bna Ignacio on Unsplash
                                                    Photo by Bna Ignacio on Unsplash

. . .Walking down streets like these, debating between the two-dollar fresh juice at the local hawker center or the eight-dollar bottled juice at the retro-chic juice shack, I always found myself in between these Singaporean contrasts. Unfazed, I swerved down the scrubbed alleyways in search of something that fit. Indian by origin, American by design, I had always found myself trapped in the space in between the two words...and worlds. . . .

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Who Says The Best Trip Is An Unplanned Trip?




Tya Ulfah

 
© Copyright 2021 by Tya Ulfah




Photo owned by the author.
                                                          Photo by the author.

At exactly 01.00 pm ACST, I stepped out of the bus. Today was the deadline for the Finance and Accounting group task. The course that had been running since last month was the toughest course I have ever taken in my life. How not, this was a foreign major for me. Luckily, I received an Australian Awards scholarship, but the program that I followed was a double degree with a predetermined major. Like it or not, I had to finish what I started. . . .

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A Park Reborn - Gonarezhou National Park



Diane McLeish



 
© Copyright 2021 by Diane McLeish



Photo by the author.
                                            Photo by the author.

The roads less travelled in Africa lead to exhilarating places and some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. The more I travel in Africa the more I yearn to discover new wild, remote and untouched areas. For me the African bush is a feast for the senses with different excitement and energy every day. . . .

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Come Away, Step Across the Tide




Avani Sudhakar


 
© Copyright 2021 by Avani Sudhakar




Photo by Ravit Sages on Unsplash
                Photo by Ravit Sages on Unsplash

Your journey begins across the beach.

It’s five o’clock, and the tide is still low. To your left, you have the murky green waters of the sea, and to your left, you have the brownish sands of the beach. Take off your shoes or sandals; roll up your trouser legs. You begin your trek on wet sand that the tide has shaped into lovely ridges. . . .

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A View From Above



Edie Jones



 
© Copyright 2021 by Edie Jones





Photo by Jordan Steranka on Unsplash
            Photo by Jordan Steranka on Unsplash

ACA 2000, Albuquerque, New Mexico. That is what I read on my cup, as I sit here relaxed looking down at the waves. 2000 was the year of the last American Camping Association conference my husband Ted and I attended. . . .

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Sharing



Edie Jones


 
© Copyright 2021 by Edie Jones



Photo by Ethan Richardson on Unsplash
         Photo by Ethan Richardson on Unsplash

My heart is heavy as I listen to the radio and hear devastating news from around the world. First there’s the terror experienced in Afghanistan as the Taliban takes over the country. Then Haiti and the horror of the earthquake and now a torrential storm that has them reeling. On top of that, are the many reports of hospitalization and deaths from the Delta Variant, in our country and all corners of the globe. And closer to home, wildfires burning out of control with smoke cascading down upon us and a Hurricane gaining force on the east coast. . . .

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Lost and Found in Los Mochis




Brian Wettlaufer

 
© Copyright 2021 by Brian Wettlaufer




Photo by Marv Watson on Unsplash
                                Photo by Marv Watson on Unsplash

Are coincidence, fate, and good fortune different experiences than divine intervention? I suppose it depends upon circumstances and your personal convictions. I faced this question head-on years ago while on a journey through Mexico. . . .

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Foreign Anxiety




Stephanie Maldonado


 
© Copyright 2021 by Stephanie Maldonado



Photo by Victor Rodriguez on Unsplash
                                                 Photo by Victor Rodriguez on Unsplash

Medellín, Colombia.

The once upon a time home of Griselda Blanco and Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, infamous for the creative paths they paved in life. Idolized by those aspiring to follow in their footsteps, by those who enjoy a clever mind and a damn-good true story. Loathed by those who disagreed with their unorthodox ways and those who are first hand victims of their actions. . . .


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Indelible India
\\





Mari Zipes Wallace


 
© Copyright 2021 by Mari Zipes Wallace




Photo by Sonika Agarwal on Unsplash
          Photo by Sonika Agarwal on Unsplash

My husband, Alan, suffers from “itchy feet”. No, not Athlete’s Foot...but the itchy feet that one associates with a wanderlust, a great desire to hit the road. In essence: to travel. And ever since we’ve been a couple, I’ve benefited from this desire of his. . . .

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The Pedestrian Baritone




Laurie Hall

 
© Copyright 2021 by Laurie Hall




Images provided by CCSearch.com. "Bari, Italy" is by L.C.Nřttaasen licensed under CC BY 2.0
                    "Bari, Italy" is by L.C.Nřttaasen. I
mage provided by CCSearch.com.

Bari, Italy. Remembering it, I have an impression of broad, bland boulevards and grandiose civic buildings drenched in unrelenting sun. And the blister blooming on my ankle inside my hiking boots. . . .

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An Unlikely Bunch






Marie-Eve Bernier


 
© Copyright 2021 by Marie-Eve Bernier





Photo by Bianca Ackermann on Unsplash
              Photo by Bianca Ackermann on Unsplash
A short story about how 11.5 people found themselves in a large van in Poland

Of the roughly 24 million tourists who visited Poland in 2014, very few were from Quebec. In fact, the number is so low that no one collects data on just how many. Which is why it is astonishing that I found myself in a large van in Poland with my very Quebecois family and husband-to-be. . . .

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Journey Into Kurdistan
 


Eva Bell    


© Copyright 2021 by Eva Bell 


 

Photo by kimia rezaie on Unsplash
                       Photo by kimia rezaie on Unsplash
                         

In January 1977, the Shah of Iran was still on his throne and entry into the country was not as difficult as it is today. I was on my way to a small Mission hospital situated high up in the Zagros ranges, which catered to the health needs of the Kurds of Iran. . . .

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Sleepless Near Seattle




John C. Hollinger

 
© Copyright 2021 by John C. Hollinger





John.
Photo by the author.

Rain, coffee, granola, and grunge. As we hit the outskirts of the Mecca of all these things, none were on our Seattle to-do list. This visit would be a targeted suburban strike: two goals, three to four hours. In and out, quick and easy. Or not. . . .

More. . . .



Culture Shocked (West Coast Bias)






John Smistad

 
© Copyright 2021 by John Smistad




Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
                Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 I am a western USA guy. Born and have lived most of my life in western Washington state. Grew up in Texas. Spent a stint in Salt Lake City. . . .

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Lioness in the Maasai Mara




Cathleen Gianetta

 
© Copyright 2021 by Cathleen Gianetta





Photo by the author.
                                                       Photo by the author.

My husband and I traveled to Amboseli and the Maasai Mara in Kenya in October 2019, just before the recognition of the
COVID-19 pandemic.  This story is one of many amazing experiences we had with the help of experienced guides.

Not far from the dirt road, in the shade of a sausage tree, the lioness sat perfectly still with an air of calm, but also with a sense of command that perhaps resulted from the tension in her muscles that gave an impression of high alert. . . .

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The Feeling of Nationality Beyond the Boundary of Nation (Country)


Milan Rijal

 
© Copyright 2021 by Milan Rijal



Photo by Rach Teo on Unsplash
                                                      Photo by Rach Teo on Unsplash

The recent U.S. Bangla Aircraft crash in Tribhuvan International Airport reminded me of my trip to Thailand. It was a matter of pleasure and honor for me to have the opportunity to represent Nepal in the international forum as a young apprentice. It was back in October 7, 2017, I was making my first international flight heading to Bangkok. My flight had been reserved in the Thai Airways by the travel agent named 'Sunshine Travel Agency' of Jawlakgel. . . .

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Folly Beach




Kamuka


 
© Copyright 2021 by Kamuka




Photo by Bre Smith on Unsplash
                                                                   Photo by Bre Smith on Unsplash

Travel is about so much more than external travel. I was born in South Carolina but I grew up in Wisconsin and have lived in New York City for 30 years. Time travel seems impossible they say, but the past is always with us. I’ve always wanted to connect with South Carolina where I was born. . . .

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Bite, Chew, Swallow, Repeat




John C. Hollinger

 
© Copyright 2021 by John C. Hollinger





John snf Heike.
John and Heike.  Photo by the author.

When you think of Maine, cookies and cream might not be your first thoughts. But after an unexpected challenge for the ages, John now knows that Maine is all about makin’ Whoopie… Pies.

With Heike riding shotgun, Boo asleep in the back, and Tino sunning himself on the dash, John navigated the backroads of Maine. In addition to being transportation across exciting new lands, our little red Kia Rio hatchback had also been acting as our home away from home the past two months. . . .

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Driving Down Highway 101



Deon Matzen


 
© Copyright 2021 by Deon Matzen


 
Photo by Georg Eiermann on Unsplash
                                        
Photo by Georg Eiermann on Unsplash

Sounds intriguing? Sounds like fun? I must admit, it was only a small section of 101, the Pacific Coast Highway. We are camping in late October. Not in a tent, but we are camping in a trailer. We started in Port Townsend, Washington this morning and have traveled to the Long Beach Peninsula, the southern and western-most region of Washington State. . . .

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What No One Told Me
Heidelberg, Germany 1969


Deon Matzen


 
© Copyright 2021 by Deon Matzen


 
Photo by Yutacar on Unsplash
                                        
Photo by Yutacar on Unsplash.

It was autumn and my sister and I were off to Europe for a grand tour, more like modest, but still a great trip for two young women on their own. I had been working for about three years after I had graduated from college and had finally saved enough so I was treating myself to a trip, to a special vacation. . . .

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Camping in Torrential Rains

Deon Matzen


 
© Copyright 2020 by Deon Matzen



 
Photo of cranberries.
                                            Photo by the author...

We couldn’t have expected much other than torrential rains visiting this time of year. It is late October. Not much happens on the Long Beach Peninsula in October. It is Thursday and the hot deal tonight is prime rib at the Lost Roo. . . .

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A Trip Through Culture



Nischal Samrat


 
© Copyright 2021 by Nischal Samrat




Photo of author.
Photo of the author.

Never had I known that a single day field trip could be experienced like a fortuitous cultural unearthing opportunity at a young age. I can still feel the reminiscence of my indelible field trip of my fifth grade. It made me understand the rich cultural roots of my ancestors, marvelous places yet to be visited out there in this enormous world, and how the modernization has led an impact on our culture and the new generation of citizens. . . .

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To Taste the Moments of Coffee: the Roots & Resiliency of a Rio de Janeiro Café Owner




Kate Morin

 
© Copyright 2021 by Kate Morin




Photo by Agustin Diaz Gargiulo on Unsplash
                              Photo by Agustin Diaz Gargiulo on Unsplash

 As an ICU travel nurse on the front-lines of the pandemic, I took 4 months off to rest, recover, and live in Rio de Janeiro. During my time here, I met a lovely woman named Anna. This is Anna’s story amidst the backdrop of current day Rio de Janeiro. . . .

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Portal, North Dakota




Nikki Everts

 
© Copyright 2021 by Nikki Everts





Photo by the author.
So, do you have a gun?” The young US customs official asked me as I stood across the counter from him and his two colleagues.

No!” I replied. His question made me feel cranky and offended. I was a middle aged, verging on old, woman tired from a week of driving in the summer heat without air conditioning. Raised in the US, I had moved to Canada in my twenties and fully accepted my adopted country’s persona of non-violent civility. Couldn’t the young man see that I was a Canadian and therefore unlikely to be carrying a firearm? . . .

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It's A Small Town
A Generous Act Can Bring Trouble



Marcia McGreevy Lewis


 
© Copyright 2021 by Marcia McGreevy Lewis




To say that my partner never met a stranger is an understatement. He chats easily with many generations and has found his way across the globe by doing what he calls a “shout out.” People are always happy to give him directions, and the response he gets is heartwarming. He talks to nurses, barbers, uber drivers, bellmen and food servers. Board chairs, tech geniuses and doctors--no problem. He truly cares about getting to know people, and they pick up on his genuine interest by rewarding him with gratifying interactions. . . .

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A Long "Summer" Vacation to Remember



Justina Ogodo


 
© Copyright 2021 by Justina Ogodo



Photo by Timothy L Brock on Unsplash
                                          Photo by Timothy L Brock on Unsplash

What do you see when you do groceries in the produce section? I see hot peppers, and I remember. This story is set in 1974 when I was a young girl. I was born in a small seaport city with a humble background. At the age of six, we moved to a bigger city. Like every city dweller, my siblings and I were unfamiliar with rural life where most of our extended family resided. Because of our city dwelling, our cousins in the village often thought differently about us, much like those living abroad in the Western world, Europe, North America, etc. My father planned my school long holidays for 1974 for my sister and me. I was ten years old. We would spend the entire vacation with our uncle on his farm situated in a rural part of the country. . . .

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Reptilian Brain




Zandi Eberstadt

 
© Copyright 2021 by Zandi Eberstadt




Photo by Dominik Lalic on Unsplash
                                                  Photo by Dominik Lalic on Unsplash

. . . .Every doctor talks about me like I’m the problem. Panic DISORDER. Well, maybe I’m not the problem, the issue is a world that expects people to live in crates without being anxious. To lug ourselves around underground tunnels like rats. . . .

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Coping With PTSD




Kelly Maida



 
© Copyright 2021 by Kelly Maida



                                                   

I have already felt like a misfit and that I did not fit in before I was diagnosed with PTSD. And ever since I found out almost five years ago that I have Ptsd, I feel now more than ever that I really don’t fit in. I feel the biggest problem is society does not even understand ptsd at all. . . .

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In Armenia You Would Never Starve




Elena Bubeeva

 
© Copyright 2021 by Elena Bubeeva




Photo by Gor Davtyan on Unsplash
                                              Photo by Gor Davtyan on Unsplash

If you were given a chance to see gorgeous mountains higher than the Alps and embrace Stalinist-style architecture, would you say no?” asked Alex in a rush. It was summer as I sat idly in Hamburg. He just received a response from the Chair of Expeditions Committee. . . .

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The Revolution or the Co-existence?




Somaya El-Absawy


 



© Copyright 2021 by Somaya El-Absawy




Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash
                          Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

I have different overlapping stories. They raise a confusing thorny philosophical question about the choosing between revolution and coexistence. . . .

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To My Beloveds
(You know who you are)




Kirthana B. Raj


 
© Copyright 2021 by Kirthana B. Raj





I haven’t written anything remotely good in the past year and this was not the piece I intended to begin with, see I have all these messy webs of stories, poems, essays about pandemic, about all the new people I got to shake hands with, the new things I got to learn, the social media and hundreds of others but this is important because this is all I keep thinking about (so we write what we must, not what we want).  . . .

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My Aunt Went To Victoria Falls




Natisha Parsons

 
© Copyright 2021 by Natisha Parsons





Photo by the author.

 
Although this story is written as a story told by a niece, telling of her aunt’s trip, the trip was taken by my daughter and myself as a seventieth birthday gift from her to me.
 
My Aunt enjoyed telling me about her visit to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. They had a lovely, though short, journey in a South African plane. She went with her best friend forever. . . .

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It's Never Enough
 






Joyce Benedict



 
© Copyright 2021 by Joyce Benedict



                           

A most unusual afternoon luncheon in a New York mansion brings a valuable, life  lesson to a young married woman. . . .

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The Route To My Root





Samuel Edward

 
© Copyright 2021 by Samuel Edward







This nonfiction piece is a travelogue which narrates the story of how the contest of who gets elected in the revered elders' council was settled by means of the most traveled person. Here, the writer had garnered enough experiences through his extensive travels through countries in the West, East, North and South of Africa. His traveling adventures subsequently won the crown for him as he emerged the winner from the pile of contestants. . . .

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The Shine In Us




Siti Nabihah

 
© Copyright 2021 by Siti Nibihah




Photo by Phil Desforges on Unsplash
                       Photo by Phil Desforges on Unsplash

It has been a pretty good day. So a little dirt on me is fine. It’s fine. Not that it matters much anyway, with four days passed since my last bath. I grimaced slightly without looking down on my feet. They felt damp and cold. Tufts of muddy grass must have taken a grip in between the spaces of my toes. I wriggled them discomfortingly and hoped they hadn't touched anything more unpleasant. Clearly, tracing the vast fields of Altanbulag Sum in Ulaanbaatar at ten degrees celsius in flip-flops was not a very good idea. . . .

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A Trip Back To Time




Ilhamul Azam

 
© Copyright 2021 by Ilhamul Azam






Hey Ilham, get up!” says my sister while shaking my dozing body.
 
This time I didn't ask to let me sleep for five more minutes as the excitement of going to the most beautiful place in Bangladesh had had its enchantment for a few days in me. I and my sister get ready on a foggy morning, this is the first time we see the first sunshine peeking through our balcony. We don’t have sleep dangling from our eyes, rather we look forward to having an adventurous experience incorporating the primitivity of Bandarban. . . .

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Skytree





Sarah Hozumi

 
© Copyright 2021 by Sarah Hozumi




Photo of the skytree.
Photo by the author.
                                        

Though I’d arranged the time and place, I still found myself hiding in a boutique near the train station when he showed up. He was in a nice shirt with dark pants – a slim figure amid the crowd of people filtering through the station’s entrance. I could see him from the boutique’s window as he sat down on a bench nearby in the humid summer heat, resolutely scanning the crowds for me. . . .

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What Happens Here





Barry Purcell

 
© Copyright 2021 by Barry Purcell




Photo by Nicola Tolin on Unsplash
                                                        Photo by Nicola Tolin on Unsplash

Everything I know about Las Vegas I have learned against my will. My first time, in 2003, was part of an extended honeymoon with my first wife which also saw us take in Hawaii and San Francisco. Originally we had planned to get married in Las Vegas, but it turned out that she did not want our marriage to be a post-modernist statement, filled with irony and self-referential humour. In retrospect, I can see her point. We spent two blurry days in that salt lake neon cabaret, blurry because this city will not allow you to slow down. . . .

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The Story of a Mountain Girl




Nawshin Anjum

 
© Copyright 2021 by Nawshin Anjum




Photo of a river in the mountains.
Photo by the author.

There is a river on one side and mountains on the other side. The green water of the river seems to merged into the sky. And the mountains? They will surely touch the sky today. The mountains seem to have conquered horizon after horizon, standing proudly with heads held high. They must meet the clouds today. And the blue sky also seems to have welcomed and wrapped them in a sheet of clouds. The yellow-white wild flowers on the mountains are like the ornaments on a velvet .Can you imagine this heavenly beauty? . . .

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The Kooteny




Frank J. Stewart

 
© Copyright 2021 by
Frank J. Stewart





It was 1964 and it was a proper morning of mountains and rising sun. Quail in the bushes, the Raven discovering some irritant on the beach below A new day awaited and the young man had decided on a course of action. It was a moment that he had been awaiting and had done much preparation for. This was the day that he and his cousin would go to the high River. The north Kootenay of British Columbia. . . .

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Trip Through The Western Part of New Mexico



George Pintar
 
© Copyright 2021 by George Pintar






I recently read an article about the severe traffic congestion on the roadways around the Albuquerque area, which reminded me of a trip I took from Grants to Deming. I had anything but congestion on this trip. I was lucky to see more than a handful of oncoming cars and only a few more pickup trucks. . . .

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El Viejo




Giles Ryan

 
© Copyright 2021 by Giles Ryan




Photo by DaYsO on Unsplash
                     Photo by DaYsO on Unsplash

Once you've had a long and deep immersion in another culture and language it will mark you, and some things will abide long after, including attitudes and indeed behaviors previously unknown, so that you become just slightly someone else, and the effect may not always please you. I have another proof of this on the Camino. . . .

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Re-Construction




Lew Goddard

Edited by Anne Goddard



 
© Copyright 2021 by Lew Goddard

                                               

I jumped when Jaxon burst through my field office door. “Boss, he hollered, come with me, ---hurry! He turned and ran back to the construction site. . . .

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A Prince of Thieves
Crime and Antic of a US deported Jamaican Youth


Winston Donald

 
© Copyright 2021 by Winston Donald




The Green Line bus came down the hill with such a speed, missing the retaining walls of my grandmother’s home by just a foot and braked suddenly at my gate. The accompanied jolt threw the baggage , boxes and some jute bags of pumpkins onto the recently asphalted rural road . I disembarked from the bus and looked to my right to see the little thief picking up another person’s property. “ Pumpkin thief” , I shouted jokingly and Prince looked up with the typical ominous grin , frontal teeth glistening with gold , red and green, typical colours that are part of a Rastafarian attire. The sly look on Prince’s face hid his devious character that preyed on the village butchers, baker, shopkeepers, small farmers and even my grandfather the parish cabbage farmer. . . .

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Simon's





Lew Goddard



 
© Copyright 2020 by Lew Goddard


Photo by Kayle Kaupanger on Unsplash
Photo by Kayle Kaupanger on Unsplash

This story is the continuation of another story of the homeless, The Streets.  That was about the time when Simon was on the streets and was forced to survive. That story was just the beginning to his new and different life in the big city.

Simon has obviously made a name for himself after becoming the manager of what use to be Helpers and is now Simon’s. . . .

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Lost and Found





James L. Cowles

  

© Copyright 2021 by James L. Cowles

 



                    


It was there all this time, I guess, huh(?), but, how could I miss it? I must have walked passed it a thousand times, but if it was there, I missed it. But, every time? No way!  Someone must have known I have been looking for it for months; someone who felt guilty they took it, so now they put it where I could find it? But, who and, and, well.... why? . . .

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Guilty or Not Guilty



Hiliary Chukwu


 
© Copyright 2021 Hilary Chukwu





There was nothing left. The doctors have tried all they could, they have exhausted their medical options and nothing seemed to work. The boy would not still come around. Dr. Smith walked out of the theatre and the look on his face said it all: all hope was lost! He was the most senior surgeon in the clinic, so if he could not handle it, then that’s it. There was no need asking him how Jire was doing, but his helpless mother had to ask anyway; even if just for the very sake of doing so. . . .

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Never Again



Hiliary Chukwu

 
© Copyright 2021 Hilary Chukwu





So I had to embark on this journey over the weekend, again without my car and again because my mechanic failed to deliver the job I gave him to do on the car since two weeks; going on three (a story for another day). I had to take my nephew back to the village. He had visited to spend the long holiday with my household. . . .

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A Cedar Pilgrimage




Angelina Saule


 
© Copyright 2021 by Angelina Saule






We’ve made it,’ breathes my mother. With our heads bobbing somewhere above numerous peaks, with a carpet of thick white cloud approaching, we’ve finally come to the Tomb of Job (‘Maqam Nabi Ayoub’ in Arabic). The massive checkerboard of negotiations crisscrossing the mountain ranges are behind us or below us, which, depending upon the perspective, seems to have dwarfed the daily human activity of the town Jezzine, where we had just stopped by a friend’s for a robust coffee. . . .

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Webber002






Lew Goddard

Edited by Anne Goddard


 
© Copyright 2021 by Lew Goddard


                                                   

It was just about midnight and he was on his daily, I should say nightly, walk through an area where the residents were in bed and he encountered no one. It wasn’t described as a stroll; in fact, it was a very rapid walk that extended his long legs and stretched powerful muscles. Muscles that were developed and refined over a long period in his life. His trip was five miles return summer and winter. Winter in this city, never saw snow. . . .

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Transatlantic Crossings




Francis Edwards

 
© Copyright 2021 by Francis Edwards






My grandmother for years and years filled my questioning ears with her revelations of going forwards and backwards from England and America on ships. She used to be invited to sing on board many Cunard Ocean Liners leaving Liverpool, UK to Philadelphia, U.S.A. up the Delaware River or to New York City. You can imagine how fascinated I was as a little boy. I knew how to get her talking about her experiences every time I took down from the mantel piece a wooden replica of an ocean liner she purchased from one of her trips and held it in my hands. . . .

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The Trip that Was...and Wasn't






Alice Burnett


 
© Copyright 2021 by 
Alice Burnett



Alice's drawing of her brother.
Drawing sent by author.

“Alice, a white skirt would be nice to travel in on the plane!” said my mother.To my eyes, a white pleated skirt was the height of fashion, and I was thrilled. Most of my clothes had been hand-me-downs lately, and I hadn't minded, but I had just turned thirteen, and fashion began to matter. “And I'll wear my good suit.” My mother was all atwitter, and wasn't thinking clearly about the practicality of such outfits. That's just how people travelled in those days, the early sixties. . . .

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1971 - Hiking the U. S. - A Memoir




Don Lubov


 
© Copyright 2020 by Don Lubov



 

Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash.
                                 Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash

Boredom and loneliness could not stand the adventurous light of this day. They both scattered like unwelcome insects blinded by the sun. Destiny roared into my apartment like a freight train on steroids.  Bam! Bam! There’s a knock at the door. It’s eight a.m. on a Saturday. . . .

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For Evermore




Priyadarshini Chanda


 
© Copyright 2021 by
Priyadarshini Chanda





Being a member of middle class family and being cautious regarding financial stability at the end of every month, going to extensive trips was something rare for person like me. But after my fourteenth birthday for a birthday gift, my parents arranged a trip to the nearby mountains for three long days. . . .

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Of Indian Food and Bhutanese Buddha




Mansi J. Sood

 
© Copyright 2021 by
Mansi J. Sood






Has your love for food changed someone elses course of life forever? Mine has.This is a story about my love for

 
Rajma-Chawal which led to me becoming a successful matchmaker in a foreign country. . . .

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Molted




Paul Farran

 
© Copyright 2021 by Paul Farran






Following Paul Farran’s survival from a Taliban suicide attack, we accompany him during his transformational hike along the Camino de Santiago across Northern Spain, from where he shares his introspections, struggles, and revelations as he perseveres in his efforts to recover from trauma. . . .

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Searching for Sloths



Žiga Povše


 
© Copyright 2021 by 
Žiga Povše




Photo of a toucan by Richard Loller March 2015.
Photo by Richard Loller.

We are standing next to our car in the middle of a wide dirt road when a loud bang scares the hell out of me. I turn around and the biggest iguana I have ever seen lies by the roadside; it fell from a tree and bounced off the tin shack onto the road below. Junior, a local surf instructor who agreed to take a day off to be our guide to the southwest of Costa Rica, runs after the iguana and brings it back. . . .

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Scratching the Surface




Fiona Kamal

 
© Copyright 2021 by Fiona Kamal





Niamh and I are both gazing abstractedly at the postcard scene before us, where red-fringed rickshaws buzz like flies around laughing, visor-shaded tourists, and the odd delivery van snails-paces it across crowded flagstones, driver dangling an ash-loaded cigarette patiently out of a wound-down window. . . .

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Liesl and Me




Scott Talbot Evans



 
© Copyright 2021 by
Scott Talbot Evans

Photo by Farrinni on Unsplash
                                                          Photo by Farrinni on Unsplash

When people ask what my relationship to Liesl is, I tell them she is my fiancée. The next question, of course, is, “So when’s the wedding?” That’s where it gets tricky. “Maybe some day.”. . .

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The Wake-up Call



Nancy McAtavey



 
© Copyright 2021 by Nancy McAtavey




Photo of an African wild dog.
Photo by the author.        

I expected my African safari experience to be like one of those episodes on a travel documentary: happy vacationers aboard a Land Rover, listening to their guide point out the exotic animals and the ever-changing landscape of South Africa. My travel brochure never mentioned just “how up-close and personal” this adventure would be. . . .

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Hiking With Fireflies




Renata Pavrey

 
© Copyright 2021 by Renata Pavrey




Photo of fireflies by Renata.
Photo by the author.

The world was aglow with sparkling delight. It was Christmas in the middle of June, as nature lit up in celebration of life itself.

My love for nature has often taken me trekking and hiking on the outskirts of the city. I enjoy exploring the outdoors, climbing up forts, traversing trails, and appreciating life under the blanket of a night sky. It’s an enchanting experience to skedaddle from the busyness of city life, even if only for a few hours or days. . . .

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Bubbledon County





Mort Morford

 
© Copyright 2021 by Mort Morford





Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash
                                                 Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash

If you believe that water is water and rocks are rocks, you have not been to Bubbledon County. . . .

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Anaro



Zaynab Ben Allouch


 
© Copyright 2021 by 
Zaynab Ben Allouch




Photo by Anna Karp on Unsplash
                                        Photo by Anna Karp on Unsplash

Being alone was my biggest fear. And I never thought that destiny will take my parents and leave me alone against the world.

I quit morning jogging, I couldn’t wake up, I don’t why. After one month, I started feeling powerless and hated myself for that, so I decided to come back to my morning routine even without motivation. . . .

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Blue Highway Brew Tour




Richard Fulton


 
© Copyright 2021 by Richard Fulton





A beer tasting adventure along the blue highways from San Antonio to Bellingham, Washington. . . .

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Roots




Jaehee Son


 
© Copyright 2021 Jaehee Son




Dangsan tree.
Drawing by the author.

I don’t understand why we have to go, this place is boring and it smells.”

Seung Uk! Don’t talk like that! We haven’t seen your grandmother in years, and we promised to visit for Arbor Day”. . .

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D Short's Last Cruise

Cody Short
 


© Copyright 2021 by Cody Short 

 
 

Photo of the Cosy Anna.

Photo by the author.

A forty-five-foot Mainship trawler was launched in St Petersburg, FL in 1985, the same year that I became Cody Short, D Short and I finished the year by getting married and having a New Year’s Eve Party.

I always called Dennis Short “D Short” because that is how he introduced himself on the phone during our initial contact. We met through a dating service before computers were household equipment. . . .

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Chicago Revisited






Susan Taylor


 
© Copyright 2021 by Susan Taylor



Photo by Christian DeKnock on Unsplash
                       Photo by Christian DeKnock on Unsplash

What a great place! My husband and I recently were in “The Windy City,” (more about that later). It was early October, unusually warm; in fact, temperatures were in the high 70’s, with a smattering of rain. After a punctual and comfortable flight on Southwest Airlines, we disembarked at O’Hare Airport, pulled our suitcases through a corridor, and shed the layers of clothes we had put on that morning in our hometown, San Diego, California. . . .

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September







Laura Elizabeth Horgan



 
© Copyright 2021 by Laura Elizabeth Horgan


Photo by Rhys Fradley on Unsplash
                                Photo by Rhys Fradley on Unsplash

I’m breaking and I don’t know how to show you the cracks.

I’m not sure if we can be pieced together this time, but I’m trying. I keep my mouth shut and hold it all back. The dam won’t break even when its full. Even though this time, it feels empty. . . .

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I Gave Oxygen To My Wanderlust




TWP Tilden


 
© Copyright 2021 by TWP Tilden


 



During my very first sojourn to Los Angeles, all those years back, my nights were spent at no less a haunt than the Cecil Hotel. Back then, in the early aughts, memes didn't really exist, conspiracy buffs weren't mainstream, and “Cecil Hotel” meant absolutely nothing to me. But enter its name in any search engine nowadays and one can easily click himself deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of know-it-all YouTube plagiarists, replete with slick video-editing and tiresome voice-over narration. . . .

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The Other Man



Pamella Laird



 
© Copyright 2021 by Pamella Laird







                                       Photo by Alexander Nachev on Unsplash

He pulled the heavy, studded door behind him. Inside, a dull thud that mimicked his dejection echoed from pillar to pillar. Then silence. A silence that moved mist-like into the furthest corners and hung above him… waiting.

Ken hesitated, a stranger to an atmosphere that despite his misgivings said, ‘Welcome.’ The walls seemed to hold a serenity in their arms as if it were a national treasure, a gift to all who shuffled namelessly into its haven. Cautious, alone, haunted by the loss that had shattered his life Ken released his withheld breath. The world had moved on, leaving him in an airlock of thinking that skulked in his brain like a malevolent fungus. . . .

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A Needed Job





James L. Cowles

 
© Copyright 2021 by James L. Cowles


 


                    


      A few of my friends and family said, “Your time in the insurance industry will be short and very boring.” Almost everyone asked me if they had requested a list of prospects from me, you know, a list of friends, relatives and the like. They had, but I didn’t give anyone the satisfaction of an answer. This was a new job, and my new employer had arranged school to prepare me to get my license, even before I started work. . . .

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Lingering Memories




Kelly Maida




 
© Copyright 2021 by Kelly Maida



Photo by Peter Herrmann on Unsplash
                                                      Photo by Peter Herrmann on Unsplash

We never can pick or choose the memories that linger in our mind. If only it were that easy. Memories are like songs playing on repeat sometimes. But unfortunately we can’t pick and choose the songs on our memories playlist. I only have one memory of my uncle Mark. I was three years old and I remember him playing the Eagles song called life in the fast lane. I remember I couldn’t say fast lane. I kept saying play gasoline, play gasoline. . . .

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