Here at Yahoo Travel we read a lot of travel writing. It’s something of an occupational hazard. Every day we receive submissions from contributors and new freelancers. We read through what other sites are doing and pick up the latest travel essays and anthologies. We meet writers of every walk of life through social media, and in the streets. To say we read a lot is an understatement. But when we find something we love, we hold on to it.
Related: 5 Must-Read Books That Define Brazil
Below you’ll find our favorite travel writing of 2014. These stories didn’t come from us, but we wish they had.
And while you’re reading them, enjoy some of our favorite photos from the Yahoo Travel Flickr Group from 2014.
1. Chasing Alexander Supertramp, Eva Holland for AOL Skye
In this long read, the always-adventurous Eva Holland follows along the trail Christopher McCandless took to his death, made famous by “Into the Wild.” She not only nails down the trouble in the route, but also in the followers of McCandless who tend to romanticize his ordeal in the woods and that infamous bus where he made his final home.
2. Spin the Globe: Don George Embraces the New El Salvador, Don George for Afar
Celebrated for his passion for narrative writing, Don George’s tale of the new people who make up the new colors of El Salvador does not disappoint. It’s a quick read, but has all the nuggets you want in a good travel story: an amazing place and detailed stories of the people within.
3. Sleepless in Seville, Andrew McCarthy for Travel + Leisure
Andrew McCarthy visits Seville for the first time in twenty years, to both argue the images he has in his head of the city, and make some new ones to take home with him. He fills his head, and ours, with taverns, religious icons and sensual flamenco dancers.
4. Surfing the Embargo, Alexa Van Sickle for Roads and Kingdoms
Writing for intrepid travel site Roads and Kingdoms, Alexa Van Sickle takes us to Havana with surfboard in-hand, and introduces us to a group of Cuban surfers who defy stereotypes and bridge cultures. We leave with a lot of questions about what the surfing landscape will look like once American travelers return in droves.
5. The Algarve’s Wild Western Coast, Lola Akinmade Akerstrom for Lonely Planet
This piece is short and colorful, and takes us away from the typical view of vino in Portuguese cities to paint a picture of Portugal’s coast from the point of view of a photographer. The bits of history and fact are just as fun to read as the large, bright photographs are to devour.
6. A Return to Limoatour, Simone Gorrindo for Vela
In this very personal story Simone Gorrindo takes us into her life and talks about place as it is viewed with context from her family. She also shows us the affect destination can have on people. When you’re done with this piece, click around the site: it’s difficult choosing just one favorite from the lovely Vela mag.
7. Roaming the Bronx’s Champs-Elysees, Robert Reid for National Geographic Traveler’s Digital Nomad blog
Because of his dead-pan humor, or in spite of it, Robert Reid is one of our all-time favorites around the office. Picking up the Nat Geo Traveler Digital Nomad hat, Reid visits an area of New York City often ignored by both tourists and residents and makes you want to stop whatever you’re doing to get up there.
8. Don’t Date a Girl Who Travels, Adi Zarsadias
You probably read this piece on Medium, Huffington Post and everywhere else it was featured. This tongue-in-cheek diatribe says what all wanderlusty women want to say and can’t find the words to. Whether you are a woman who travels often, or happen to be attached to one, you’ll be able to appreciate this sassy response to the conundrums and questions most often facing that demographic.
9. Dreaming of Jollywood, Amos Barshad for Grantland
It might be a stretch to call this post, for Grantland, a travel piece. It’s a fantastic story that talks about the struggles of a troubled nation trying to make peace with the sort of normalcy we have here in the States, and it gives us a lot of perspective as to the day-to-day problems - and even some fantastical issues - of a country’s coming-of-age in modern times with ancient problems.
10. The European Greenbelt, Ethan Shaw for Atlas Obscura
Atlas Obscura is fun. It’s one of our favorite sites to scan through for extremely little-known places and accounts of incredible jaunts by adventurers more daring than we. Ethan Shaw’s story is a little different than the usual photo-driven Atlas quick-hit, but just as satisfying. Shaw takes us through an area that has been touched by politics, but not by people in some time.
11. Looking for Pie in All the Wrong Places, Sarah Baird for Modern Farmer
Whether you are traveling home for the holidays, or getting your own shopping list together, this story of pie will hit home for you. Where did it come from? How do we eat it? How did it become such a staple of the American holiday table? And don’t stop there. Modern Farmer is filled with short stories from farms, gardens and the people across the US who make your dinner possible.
12. Where is Home For the Child of Nomads? Ruth Behar for aeon
Proving again that personal context can add a lot to a travel story, Ruth Behar talks about what home is and what it means to someone with nomadic tendencies, something every active traveler can identify with.
13. Ottoman, Elif Batuman for The New Yorker
A story to save for a long commute or a night in by the fire, Batuman’s New Yorker essay is one part entertainment story and one part historical analysis of a country.