Best Travel Stories of 2018
Here are our top travel articles for the year 2018. We published many dozens of stories, a story every weekday during the year. We first created a list of stories based on the editor's preferences and based on the number of pageviews the stories received.
Then we sent out a survey and asked dozens of of our readers to weigh in, and share their own favorites with us. Here is a link to last year's Best Travel Stories of 2017
Once again, we are pleased with the breadth of the stories and the interesting diversity of destinations represented. One thing we were able to discern from our survey was that the places most people are interested in reading travel stories about are Europe and the United States. So we will keep this in mind as we publish more stories in the new year.
Our Best Travel Stories of 2018
- Tuscany: Greve and Montepulciano
- Thailand: Staying on a Raft House on Chiaw Laan Lake
- Tolotongo Hot Springs in Mexico
- The Tropic of Cornwall, England
- Tanzania: A Different Kind of Safari
- Gulets: A Sparkling, Sailing Experience
- Kyiv: A Misunderstood Destination
- Italy's Postumia Trail Across the North
- Petaluma California: A Sonoma County Hotspot
- Erie Canal by Slow Barge
Tab Hauser was the author of our first Best of 2018 stories with his comprehensive story about the vineyards of Tuscany. Tab is one of our regular contributors and is a voracious traveler. His Tuscany photos were superb and he managed to fit a whole lot of practical and useful information about one of the world's most popular destinations. Tab is your host to a place that everyone wants to visit!
"Driving west for about an hour on the scenic back roads of Tuscany is the walled city of San Gimignano, known as “the city of fine towers.” After entering its 13th century Porto Giovanni gate we walked directly to a storefront called San Gimignano 1300 to help us understand what this city looked like in its prime 700 years ago."
Hayley Anderson is the London-based author of our second Best Story of 2018, her piece on a stay in a Raft House on Chiaw Laan Lake in Thailand evoked the exotic and affordable, all at the same time. Readers picked her story because of its authentic voice and cool destination. Her trip to Thailand had been marred by being bitten by a leech, and they were just about to bail when the lake part of trip revived her spirits and love for the place.
"Making our way through Chiaw Laan Lake, I lost count of the pictures I took and the times I had to stop myself so I could appreciate the moment with my own eyes rather than through a lens."
Karolee Bulak is an Arizona-based life coach and author of self-help books, who had a strong showing this year--two of her stories made it to the Best Stories category, with her piece about Mexico's delightful Tolantongo Hot Springs winning. Part of why she won was the topic--a gorgeous out of the way set of waterfalls with flowing hot water, with mountainside hot pools. Once again a GoNOMAD author finds serendipity by truly following the untrammeled path.
"Everyone said I was putting my safety at risk by traveling by bus to such a remote place, but I knew I had to go to this magical place of thermal hot springs, underground caves, and waterfalls. I also knew that fear would not prevent me from reaching my destination."
Mary Charlebois is a Northern-California based writer who has also become quite the regular contributor for GoNOMAD, and her piece about the tropical feeling of being at the very tip of England, Cornwall, won the day. Mary's topic, the unusual Gulfstream-fed warm climate of this edge of England and the gardens you can visit there, came alive with her gorgeous photos that made the place feel so inviting.
"Kept warm and moist by the Gulfstream, tropical gardens host beautiful and rare plant collections ranging from English Cottage to Tropical Paradise. On Cornwall’s less traveled southeast coast, in a thirty-five-mile range, three outstanding tropical gardens share the little-known Tropics of Cornwall. "
Richard Graham, who lives in London, got the top honor for his story about visiting a remote village in Tanzania and learning to hunt with the local people. We've published many stories about safaris and Africa but never got to share an experience so close to the ground with villagers.
"Yaeda Chini is a long way from anywhere. Other than itself. But it’s where my family and I find ourselves one bright blue morning in August, sitting (rather apprehensively) with Bagayo and his extended family. Bagayo is a Hadzabe, a small group of hunter-gatherers. And we’re going to spend the day with them."
Max Hartshorne wrote about Gulets, unique boats made in Croatia that may be chartered in the sparkling waters of this scenic country. The combination of the destination, Croatia, one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, and the freedom of being on your own boat is what won the honors.
"I had a wonderful time exploring Croatia by gulet! Being aboard a gulet allowed us to see so much of the Croatian islands in just a week. The water was just as turquoise as I had imagined and the Croatian towns we visited were filled with so much history and beauty."
NR Venkatesh has become a regular contributor to GoNOMAD in 2018. He lives in Toronto and spent many years as a film critic in India. NR's story about his first trip to the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, inspired his story. This isn't a place that most websites write about, and thus, it won top honors for providing information about a less-traveled destination.
"The rewards of visiting lesser known, nay maligned or even shunned, destinations are many-fold, including affordability and less tourist traffic. Especially, if the concerns about visiting these destinations are misplaced or not justified, as was the case with both Ukraine and Romania that I visited recently on a 10-day trip with Mann Rai, my friend from Mumbai, India."
Kurt Jacobson is a former chef who now lives and writes in Baltimore MD. Kurt is truly a case of learning and trying and hard work. He came to us as a rookie and now Kurt is writing and traveling everywhere! His piece on Petaluma, California earned kudos from readers and from our survey, it's another case of finding a lesser known destination and making a great case for it.
"My Coast Guard buddies and I used to visit occasionally while stationed nearby in Two Rock. Instead of the dive bars and tired old shops in the downtown core, I found trendy restaurants, brewpubs, fine dining, and a new theater district. This was not the town I remembered from the 1970s."
Sharon Roth is a retired teacher and writer from Greenfield MA. Her story about a slow trip down the Erie Canal in New York state won honors this year with her thoughtful piece about the value of slow travel and discovery. She captures the spirit of this slow, methodical summer time journey perfectly.
"It could be that when you live your day slowly you smile more, you stop and talk more and as one fisherman said who got out a fishing tool to help us repair a bike pedal, “I’m just watching the day go by.”
Congratulations to all of our 2018 Best Stories of the Year winners!
If you like the articles we publish, maybe you can be one of our writers too! Make travel plans, then write a story for us! Click here to read our writer’s guidelines.