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Excerpts from Trip of a Lifetime

     Central London. At the bus station in the cool, early-morning breeze a group of grey-haired travelers huddle together under an electronic destination board. Above them names of European cities, garish in neon-bright letters, chase each other insistently across the screen: Brussels… Pisa… Florence… Rome… Venice… Geneva… Berne… Paris… Hamburg… Here at the departure point for their trip of a lifetime the group watch the board attentively, as eager as greyhounds to be released from their traps.
—from "Rainbow's End" by Dianne Bown-Wilson

     Our room was straight out of an Agatha Christie novel with two large beds and a writing desk. On the ceiling, a huge fan rotated, sending a cool breeze circulating throughout the spacious interior. At one end of the room, French windows led out to an enormous balcony offering a breath-taking view of the Nile.
—from "Memoir: Don't Drink the Water" by Carole Bellacera

     He took Joan into his arms, and they savored a long kiss in anticipation of spending time together in such an inspirational spot. A warm glow filled Joan as his lips caressed hers. This was the sort of thing she'd come to Italy for. The romantic interlude was a short one, though, as people started jostling them when the crowd suddenly surged toward the ticket kiosks.
—from "A Fairy Tale Ending" by Tony Wayne Brown

     By mid-afternoon we can see a thin blue sliver against the horizon. It gives me shivers to see it. So much water, so much sky. It's like all of a sudden the world's opening up. I take Dan's hand and hold it tightly. For some reason, tears form. I don't let Dan see me brush them away. Today isn't for tears.
—from "So Much Water, So Much Sky" by Jen White

     I stood, stretched, and looked at my watch. It was just about six in the evening. The late lunch and comfort of the warming shack had put me to sleep. Our convoy of six, four-wheel-drive trucks had spent a long day of playing in the deep mountain snow. Although we all arrived together, apparently everyone else had cleared out and left us three to fend for ourselves. An old saying about friends like them came to mind.
     Getting down off the mountain before dark was crucial. Driving on several feet of snow was crazy enough in the daylight, but after dark in the backwoods of Washington was really pushing the luck. Help could be a long time coming if an accident occurred.
—from "Snow Angel" by T. A. Branom

     The fox whipped its head, and it darted by her, brushing her cheek with its length of furry tail. It ran around the house, and she followed it, picking up her skirts to give chase. She ran through thistles, but she felt no sting. She ran to the drive, but she could not find the fox. She scanned the streets, but the blind animal had run on the wind and slipped down the path between worlds.
     She went back to the house and grabbed her keys off the coffee table. John wouldn't notice her missing, not until dinner. She left her mobile phone on the table.
—from "Walking to the Otherworld with the Blind Fox" by T. Fox Dunham

     The Bangalore bus station is much larger than expected—a vast parking lot—two city blocks with buses crowded in at every angle, some unloading, others trying to escape the labyrinth, horns blaring. There are hundreds of these small privately owned bus lines. Competition is ferocious and the objective is to squeeze as many passengers on board as possible. Some carry children, others suitcases and boxes…plants. They scramble ant-like down the narrow passageways created by their would-be transportations. Some form lines at outhouse-sized, framed ticket stations, one for every destination. Multitudes of signs with arrows point in alternate directions. Information printed on them has been painted in four languages, none English. I'm on my way to Tiruchirappalli, in Tamil Nadu, two hundred miles south of Bangalore. They call it, simply, Trichy. It will be a 10-hour bus ride, if I can find the right bus.
—from "Memoir: From Bangalore to Tiruchirappalli" by Bruce Louis Dodson

     When it had all started he'd sensed them. He'd felt them as soon as the street went dark and thought he'd caught a glimpse of them, even heard faint whispers of voices, but then the whole of the world went black and then he was on that train with all of the others, and then he was here. He did not know where "here" was and he needed to know. It was a question which he kept feeling kicking inside of his consciousness but he was afraid to let it out.
—from "The Field of Reeds" by Joshua J. Mark