2008 Contest Winners

2008 Hell Trips Contest

Nightmare stories are a balm for the soul.

See, when you’re out on the road having a shit time, it’s easy to think it only happens to you. Everyone you meet is on their cosy gap years with return flights, wads of traveler’s cheques and are about to embark on highly-profitable careers. hey, maybe you’ll get to serve them fries at a ski resort some day.

That’s why we were delighted to receive so many tales of disaster, woe and suffering. It made our day. The world is full of travelers having a shit time!

We got hundreds upon hundreds of entries and have gone nearly blind whittling those down to 37 entries to run a day at a time. Writers tried to employ emotional blackmail, begged for the prize money and offered us sex and drugs in return to make the short list. Only the latter worked. Here are the 3 winners:

2008 Hell Trips Winners

1st Place

Harry Backland’s tale of a visit to a small village in Spain wins on merit of its writing style. Let’s hope he stays lost and drunk.

Lost, Drunk and Overwhelmed in Spain by Harry Backland

Time slows down in the Spanish countryside and then goes from side to side when drinking with the locals.

2nd Place 

Cat hit a special spot in our hearts with this tale set in the Himalaya. Falling off a cliff in India is only the beginning of the hell trip as is so deftly explained.

Falling Off a Himalayan Cliff by Cat Rainsford

When you’re at the bottom of a ravine with broken bones, only in India would the cop watching be disappointed you’re not dead. Bang goes his chance to extort someone for the attempted murder.

3rd Place

A little humor never hurts. Caroline’s tale of nature getting the best of a group of idealistic WOOFers won us over.

Bull Testicles, Ticks and Woofing in Central America by Caroline Nye

You arrive with a bag full of ideals but by the third day everyone is screaming for the DEET.

2008 Hell Trips Shorter List

After an arduous amount of reading, laughing and swearing, the editors at Road Junky have been able to narrow down the contenders to these 7 shorter list entries. Three of these will receive cash money for their well told tales of harrowing travel. All seven authors will receive a complementary copy of the Road Junky Travel Handbook.

Meals on Wheels in Phnom Penh by David Calleja

Third world countries are a challenge at the best of times; try to do some good in them and things get a whole lot weirder.

Falling Off a Himalayan Cliff by Cat Rainsford

When you’re at the bottom of a ravine with broken bones, only in India would the cop watching be disappointed you’re not dead. Bang goes his chance to extort someone for the attempted murder.

Lost, Drunk and Overwhelmed in Spain by Harry Buckland

Time slows down in the Spanish countryside and then goes from side to side when drinking with the locals.

The Kindness of Strangers by Lucy Pickering

Hanging out with a random guy met on the street in Copenhagen seems cool until he takes advantage… But that’s no reason to go home.

Bull Testicles, Ticks and Woofing in Central America by Caroline Rye

You arrive with a bag full of ideals but by the third day everyone is screaming for the DEET.

The Special Bus from London to Athens by Rob Daniel

Drunks, whores and disaster in one claustrophobic vehicle. Special, alright.

Anatomy of a River Rescue by Brian Eustis.

Brian hates hugs. And people dying on him.

2008 Hell Trips Contenders

Mexicano in the Hamptons, New York by Raul Gallardo

Raul wakes up in the street after the 4th of July wrapped up in an American flag.

Dressed Like a Hooker and Stranded in the Bronx by Alexandria Muller

After days of sleepless debauchery, she takes up the offer of some easy money posing as a sex object in a rap video. Big mistake.

Ambushed in Peru by Sarah Fine

Three American girls get ambushed at night on a country road. They take the only reasonable course of action. They run.

Foot Fetishes on a German Train by Vanessa Wolf

It’s either strangers trying to be charming with Shakespeare or perverted sock thieves.

Dodgy Flight With Garuda Out of Malaysia by Matt Suddain

Matt’s big adventure is that he spilt a cup of coffee on a bumpy take-off. But it’s a fun read.

Robbed in Malaysia by Philip Goldman

When you’re down on your luck you can rely on the US embassy and AMEX to… to give a fuck, it would seem.

Dolphin For Dinner and a Boat Trip From Hell by Sarah Shahriani

Paradise lacks hot water and alcohol and is worth risking your life on a stormy ocean to get to the next port that does.

Mugged by Police in Panama by Johnathan Fleming

Most cops don’t point a gun at your head for taking a wrong turn. That’s all part of the fun of going to Panama.

Flashed in Falouja by Kelly Hayes-Raitt

The lighter side of the Iraqi conflict.

Up an Amazonian Creek by Aaron Smith

We don’t know about you but a psychotic ex-GI would not be our choice of jungle guide.

No Sympathy for a Hitchhiker in Canada by Kurt Provost

If you’ve ever had a shit ride you’ll identify with this tale.

Drugged, Abducted and Robbed in Russia by MRP

Watch who you go drinking vodka with.

Motorbiking in Ladakh by Satu Rommi

Crappy roads, steep cliffs and Indian drivers would drive anyone to God.

On a Bus in Burma, Make Friends With the Lady Boy by Robert Moor

A journey bad enough to make you want to take drugs. So he does.

Road Trip to the Baja Badlands by James Davis

You’re barely across the border before your friends score some weed, right before the police stop the car..

Honeymoon Hell in Honduras by Kimberly Orsua

Bright-eyed innocence is soon lost in the inertia and corruption of Central America.

Wading Rivers in Nepal by Lindsy Barnfield

A tale from the old days of travel before the word ‘backpacker’ was even invented.

Saving a Spanish Cat by Nisha Coleman

Sentimentality struggles to survive in the modern world.

Drunken Pirates in the Caribbean by Jake Lee Hannes

There really up people who still drink rum and wave cutlasses around to great effect.

Earache and Inter-Species Incest in Kazakhstan by Andy Redwood

There are places on the map where no one goes. Sometimes there’s a reason for that.

The Worst Drivers in the World by Anthony Bianco

An cultural analysis of Mexicans, Italians and Zimbabweans on the road.

Escape From Mexico by Steve Fox

He cycled down from Canada, he hitches back up.

Getting Off With a Drunk Irishman in Croatia by Anomaly Jones.

She has a thing for Irish guys apparently. Or did have.

An Airplane Ordeal by Mike Simon

Accompanying your recently-disabled brother on flights across Canada proves as hellish an experience as any.

Getting Off the Boat in Italy, 1952 by Lucille Bellucci

A tale of Chinese immigrants looking for a better life but finding only danger.

The Worst Passenger in the World by Bruce Northam

We reckon he was just practicing for candid camera.

Hitchhiking to Los Angeles by Tom Bentley

Handy when the other passengers are professional shoplifters.

Adventure Overland to Kathmandu by Kathleen Mulroy

Killer bees, xenophobic locals and a half-drunk driver – yep, you’re in with professionals at Encounter Overland.

Sexual Harassment in a Truck in Ecuador by Caroline Nye

Writers were only supposed to send in one submission but then as Caroline pointed out, we didn’t say so. Here’s her tale of escaping a molesting truck driver.

Beirut in the Baltics by John M Edwards

Antics in the Wild, Wild East of Lithuania in the early 90’s.

We want to say thanks to all those who sent in their stories and sorry, but we can’t afford the minimum wage college leaver to write you all personally. The contenders above were chosen either for writing style, outrageous story or their good looks.