Announcing the Winner!
Monologging.org is pleased to announce the winners of its first annual “Travelogue Contest” The contest drew entries from all over the world, and has helped connect a greater network of writers. Participants compiled short, 250 word stories based on there travels. The contest was judged by Jeffrey F. Barken and Menachem Kaiser. Submissions were rated based on story telling technique, and the author’s accompanying original photograph from their travels. Monologging.org looks forward to repeating the contest next summer.
This years winner is Caitlyn Taix. Her travelogue, entitled “Casino Forests” recounts a dispiriting breakdown in Nevada, and a night’s stay in Reno. To read Caitlyn’s travelogue and view her winning picture please scroll below. Contest runner-up, Emily Villela’s piece, “Bogden Voda,” is also below.
-By Caitlyn Taix-
Reno sounds agreeable if completely unfamiliar. Beth’s Rav was ill with MS like tremors, so we decided to stop there and give the car a rest. But we’d already pushed her too hard, so she died there instead—right off the interstate. In the core of a hectic intersection. I panicked. We were supposed to make it to the Redwoods tonight. “We’re gonna need to push it, Caitlyn.” Up a goddamned hill. Two sweet Mexicans and 30 seconds later, we were at a gas station calling a tow truck. Beth laughed and made things easy; her optimism never faltered. I mean, she finds 2 four-leaf-clovers in a mile wide field. When the tow truck finally arrived, the driver was charitable and offered us a ride to the hotel that my sympathetic father bought us. “You don’t wanna pay cab fees. Just buy me a Happy Meal and we’ll call it even.” We bought him two.
We found that Reno is not California. Glass elevators are not hiking trails. There aren’t
Redwood forests, but acres of casinos. Orange, wrinkly women with bedazzled pants and purses playing slot machines in gas stations. Everything neon and ching-chinging; everyone graying and smoking cigarettes. We were in a concrete carnival nightmare instead of in a tent under lush trees. The only friend we made was a thug named Avon who asked us to come party. Sensibly, we fled. So we got drunk and trespassed and pissed on the hell-hole. We mailed postcards. “Reno sucks. Never come here.”
-By Emily Villela-
Lou and I had been dating a year when we went on the road for four months. We bussed from
Albuquerque to New York, flew to Barcelona. From Spain, we traveled to Marseille, Zagreb, Bucharest. I was planning one week in advance: how we would travel, where we would sleep, where to buy groceries. Romania was Lou’s domain.
We were headed to the rural province of Maramureş. The conductor woke us before dawn and threw our bags onto the ground. We’d missed our stop. Outside, the mist turned to rain. We started walking.
The temperature rose with the sun. I tied my sweater around my waist and cursed my leather boots. Toothless old women and children stood on the roadside, thumbs out. I tied a scarf around my head and followed suit. We caught one ride, walked for miles, caught another.
The sun was setting.
“Where are you going?” asked our lady driver.
“The center of town?”
She laughed, drove home. After some discussion, she gave us a single bed. The next morning, her husband brought us bread, blueberry preserves, a steaming vat of milk.
“Is this pasteurized?” I said once he’d walked away.
“Oh for god’s sake,” said Lou.
I had no idea where we were going next, how we would get there, where we would lay our heads. Our host was tilling a garden plot by hand. The air smelled of hay and horses. Pale sunlight fell on thatched roofs. And I drank.