Travel and literary geeks that we are here at AFAR, we can’t help but get a little excited when the annual edition of The Best American Travel Writing drops. It’s sort of like the Academy Awards of the travel-writing world, with a little less Neil Patrick Harris and a little more Bill Bryson. This year, four AFAR stories were nominated, along with a slew of other fantastic pieces from such writers as Michael Chabon, Helen Macdonald, and Paul Theroux. 

Here, your weekend reads:

1) Born to Travel” by Freda Moon
While seven months pregnant, Freda traveled to Panama to explore the roots of her family’s wanderlust—and to reconnect with her own. 

2) Dream Weavers” by Edward Readicker-Henderson
This exploration of Istanbul’s carpet culture and the ways our travel memories can reside in objects was among the last Edward, one of our favorite writers, wrote for us before he passed away in June. Read our executive editor’s touching tribute to Edward here.

3) The Two Faces of Paradise” by Leslie Jamison
In one of the most powerful stories we have ever published, Leslie travels to Sri Lanka for our Spin the Globe series, which drops a writer into a place with only 24 hours’ notice. She questions the very idea of that kind of trip and examines the differences between vacation and travel. 

4) Understanding the Sky” by Dave Eggers
This story about  an ultralight flight in Petaluma, California, is out there and up there, in that much of it takes place in the sky. In his usual probing, humorous way—and in an unusual, surprising format—Dave pursues his quest for the freedom of flight. 

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