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Publisher Richard Loller's  Journal
For Year 2020
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Scroll down for the most recent stories
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





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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The Ghost Lake






Niloufar Behrooz

 
© Copyright 2021 by Niloufar Behrooz


 


Northern Iran is home to the most beautiful and mysterious sites anyone could ever visit. Located at the heart of the richly forested province of Mazandaran, almost 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) from the city of Noshahr, there exists the haunting Mamraz lake, more widely, and aptly, known as the Ghost Lake.  . . .

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Captivated by the Local Animal Population




Erin Boyd

 
© Copyright 2021 by Erin Boyd





We give ourselves away when we travel.  

Sometimes it’s in the clothes that we wear. Jeans and a t-shirt are seen as a standard uniform from certain parts of the world. That clutching of a backpack by someone decades removed from the schoolroom mark my mother as someone who’s cobbled together a stash of random necessities: water bottles, wipes, umbrella, jacket. . . .

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A Prophecy Never Fulfilled



Adejumoke Oluwole


 
© Copyright 2021 by Adejumoke Oluwole







Photo of author.
Photo of the author.

In the midst of hardship and continuous disappointments, there are few parents who would go the extra mile to fend for their children. My father - Oluwole used his wit and time when that was not enough, he sacrificed his blood and life in ardent pursuit of betterment for his children. You will find in this man, the courage of a soldier, the persistence of a martyr, the faith of a saint and the love of family all combined. Unfortunately, he was a prophecy never fulfilled, the genius the world never met. . . .

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Return to Utopia



Linda Jones Weber


 
© Copyright 2021 by Linda Jones Weber





I roll the jeep slowly through the dusty cow town of Utopia, Texas, absorbing each detail—the antique store fronts, every tree, the raised wooden sidewalk—and pull up in front of the Lost Maples Café. Here there are signs of life. It looks like a good place to slake our appetites and inquire as to where we might find the old “Jones Homestead.” My father, William E. Jones, and his sister, Maizelle Jones Prucha, are eager to find a house that only exists as a vague memory. . . .

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A Treasured Bucket of Buttons
   



Lane E. Dooling





© Copyright 2021 by Lane Dooling



  


Timing can be an amazing thing sometimes. There are times in our lives that we don’t feel whole for a number of reasons. Before I met Helen, I was in the midst of navigating a deep decline with my folks and had assumed the role of the “parent”…and I felt lost and alone . . .

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The Cancer Chronicles






Jen Eve Taylor


 
© Copyright 2021 by Jen Eve Taylor



Photos of Jen.
Photo by the author.

  Dancing in the rain amongst the ruins of an abandoned prison in Latvia, I’m surrounded by other dance music festival pilgrims. The bass pulses through my body, beating in time with my heart so I can't tell them apart. It’s summer, but it’s been raining for days and my shoes are caked with mud, heavy as I dance. . . .

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Strange Concoction

Richa Dewangan


 
© Copyright 2021 by Richa Dewangan



Photo of various tiles.
Artwork by the author.

Learning the realities of life as we grow makes us mature or scared or aware or practical or.... until we realize that acceptance is the only way. Not in, nor out, but through the tunnel. Reality and imagination go hand in hand, incomplete without each other. Strange Concoction is the story right about it. . . .

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Aurora



Tilottarna Chowdhury



 
© Copyright 2021 by Tilottarna Chowdhury






She stopped and looked through the glass window of the clothes store. The window was decorated with Christmas trees and New Year jingles. Two mannequins wearing, what looked to be, the shiniest clothes the store could find, stood faceless gazing out at the streets. . .

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Pandora's Box



Maryann Donovan


 
© Copyright 2021 by Maryann Donovan





Today was the day to tackle cleaning out my mother’s room. Much of it had been just as it was three years ago when I had to put her into assisted living. It had been several weeks since she died at the nursing home with me at her side. I have avoided going through her belongings and clothes, for that would be forcing myself to face the fact that she was really gone. . . .

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Beneath the Waning Tide





Hannah L. Bercovici



 
© Copyright 2021 by Hannah L. Bercovici




Photo of Hannah and sea turtle.  (c) 2021 by Hannah Bercovici.
                                               Photo
© 2021 by Hannah Bercovici

Coral reefs are quickly disappearing because of human interference. In this story, I try to create an emotional landscape for the reader to experience being underwater with these organisms and explain why it is so important for humans to act. . . .

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A First Time For Everything




Petro Van Rooyen


 
© Copyright 2021 Petro Van Rooyen






They say there is a first time for everything. Well, De Jerez, who was one of Columbus’s crewmen, was apparently the first European to inhale the smoke of burning tobacco leaves.

He tried it, after seeing the native people of Cuba, at that time, doing it. When he repeated this stunt in Spain, however, it did not end all that well for Rodrigo de Jerez. People thought it was the work of the devil when they saw smoke coming from his mouth and the Inquisition was informed, which led to his arrest. It was not a good idea to start smoking for the first time in those years; it was 1492 after all! . . .

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An Angel By My Side






Michelle D. Smith



 
© Copyright 2021 by Michelle D. Smith



Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash
                                  Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash

My life has been filled with otherworldly occurrences. Since an early age, I have dreamt about deceased relatives as well as future events. None of these things were odd to me, but they did require explanations from my family. . . .

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Lerdine



Michelle H. Davis




 
© Copyright 2021 by Michelle H. Davis



Photo of baby Michelle and Lerdine.
Photo by the author.

Lerdine is a story written about the relationship between Michelle and the woman who would come to clean her home when she was little. A child of emotional neglect by her mother, Michelle understood even at four years old, that Lerdine was teaching her not only the lessons of keeping a home, but of what it is to love and be loved unconditionally. Although Michelle has not seen her beloved Lerdine since she was 7, these are conversations and lessons Michelle has never forgotten and has carried with her into adulthood. . . .

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A Daydreamer



Nischal Samrat


 
© Copyright 2021 by Nischal Samrat




Photo of author.
Photo of the author.

June 10th, 2006. It was on the occasion of the afternoon when I took my first breath and gave out my cry to announce to everyone about my presence into the world. I didn’t knew that a long journey was waiting for me to get started. I didn’t knew about the people whom I would likely to meet in the future who would end up deceiving me. . . .

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Small Acts of Courage
Biography of Lidia Gawroń




Anna Burns



 
© Copyright 2021 by Anna Burns


Lidia and Antonina.
                    Lidia and Antonina

This is a biography of my grandmother, Lidia Gawroń, born on the 2nd. of December, 1900. She brought me up and was my friend and mentor. Her resilience and careful planning allowed her children to survive WWII and the deportation to Siberia. Without her, her grandchildren would not have had a chance to be born. My family owes her a debt of gratitude. I want to share the story of a life, that was both difficult and lonely but always courageous. . . .

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Redial for Freedom




Pamella Laird



 
© Copyright 2021 by Pamella Laird




A slow smile spread across Chuck’s angular face as he stared into his beer. It was the smile of a man who has just pulled off a pay-packet fiddle for himself. . . .

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The Squeezo



Nancy McAtavey



 
© Copyright 2021 by Nancy McAtavey




Photo of the squeezo.
         Husband Jim and Son Todd work on the squeezo.

Every aspect of our daily lives changed with the Covid-19 pandemic: how we ate, where we shopped, what we did with our families and our homes while we were hunkered down. For many, the backyard garden became a chance  to get outside, get dirty and put fresh produce on the table. And for these two veteran gardeners, there was yet another challenge.  Finding a little-known kitchen gadget that no one had ever hear of and suddenly was, you got it, ON BACK ORDER! . . .

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The Dalit Patron



Arnav Darnal


 
© Copyright 2021 by Arnav Darnal






Born in Bhojpur, Nepal to a Dalit family, deemed lower caste as maintained by the Hindu Varna system and, therefore, untouchable, Padam Sundas resists social conventions and champions the rights of the marginalised to become the first Nepalese male diplomat of his caste. . . .

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Forgotten




Michelle Louange


 
© Copyright 2021 by Michelle Louange 




Photo of Michelle.

Photo of the author.


Kate, Kate… wake up, you need to be ready in 10 minutes, your uncle is coming to pick you up with your sister so that you could both go to Kivu beach to have fun and get along with your cousins” My Mom woke me up after shutting my alarm two hours ago. Yes, she managed to wake me up because she knows that at the mention of any touristic place, I can sacrifice anything, just to be there. . . .

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"Jewel Book" of Anna of Bavaria
And It's Secret Meanings



Jule Ross




 
© Copyright 2021 by Jule Ross





Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria is a very unique item. It was commissioned in 1552 by Duke Albrecht of Bavaria. The manuscript is an inventory of the jewelry owned by Duke and his wife. It contains 110 drawings of precious gems, necklaces, brooches, and depictions of other scenes, in example Duke and his wife playing chess. . . .

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Of Larkin, Death, and The Algebra of Love





Yeshwant Sridhar

 
© Copyright 2021 by Yeshwant Sridhar




Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash
                                  Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

I was 9 years old when I got to see a funeral for the first time. It was close to home; it was my uncle’s. I remember there was a phone call from my grandpa. Before my mom could pick it, the line had cut off. She called again and heard the grueling voice of her father, who had witnessed his only son crumble to the ground without warning. . . .

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Unexpected Adventures





Pranali Vira



 
© Copyright 2021 by Pranali Vira




Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash
                             Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

Splash! My feet were full of sluggish mud when I stepped into a narrow gap between the rocks. This was totally a new escapade for me. I wouldn’t ever forget this in life. . . .

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The Simple Life
 



Joyce Benedict



 
© Copyright 2021 by Joyce Benedict



                           

As a child I loved Nature and all of its creation.  When movies were viewed of the early days of the pioneers and their struggles, I found myself rooting for the Indians, feeling sad with their people being literally mowed down,  their lands being taken. . . .

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The Courage To Press On
 


Eva Bell    


© Copyright 2021 by Eva Bell 


 


                         

 It was December 30, 1968 and the smell of fruit cake baking in the oven wafted through the apartment. For the umpteenth time, my children and I peeped over the balcony at the sound of every car cruising by. We were expecting my husband, Jacob, who had been on duty over Christmas somewhere in South India. We had planned to make up for his Christmas absence by celebrating with a gala New Year’s party. . . .

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I'm Not the Nutrition Grandmother





Marcia McGreevy Lewis




 
© Copyright 2021 by Marcia McGreevy Lewis




I always knew my grandmother loved me,” says my friend in the midst of her analysis of her neglectful parenting. “She saved me, gave me any confidence I have today, and her chocolate chip cookies were the best.” . . .

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"Said the Spider to the Fly"




Valarie J. Anderson


 
© Copyright 2021 by Valarie J. Anderson



Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash

                                 Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash

How much for that one?” a sailor asked, gesturing toward me as I chopped onions on the worn linoleum countertop in the back of the diner. He sat at the scared work table a few feet away eating breakfast with the owner, Mrs. Green, another sailor, and a girl from high school with an iffy reputation. I laughed, thinking he was making a joke about me being some type of food. Tears streamed down my cheeks—not from the joke. I was never good with onion. . . .

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The Hunchback of Sacred Heart


Iris Leona Marie Cross

  © Copyright 2021 by Iris Leona Marie Cross

Photo of a piono and piano bench.

                                         Photo by Eva Elijas from Pexels 

On my bookshelf is a 1,095-page tome I was awarded for coming first in the Cambridge Royal College of Music practical exam, grade six.  Its tattered sleeve and torn pages brown with age hold so many memories. Among the abiding memories is a most humiliating experience suffered at the dark, wrinkly hands of my music teacher, Miss Millicent Roberts. . . .

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Cronicles of a Newly Wed




Ikechukwu Echebiri


 
© Copyright 2021 by
Ikechukwu Echebiri




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