Left Alone in a Hotel Room

2019 Travel Story Contest Winner

We recently announced our third annual Travel Story Contest and asked to hear your most memorable travel stories. As usual, we received a slew of wonderful and worthy submissions. From all of us here at Tablet, thank you to everyone who took the time to write their stories and send them to us. The winner of this year’s contest is Alexandros Yannis, whose story earned him $300 to use on Tablet, a lifetime Tablet Plus membership, and a memorable place in Tablet history. We hope you enjoy!

Left Alone in a Hotel Room

by Alexandros Yannis


I am still shocked. By the way you decided to end it all.

In a hotel room. At the end of one of the most beautiful trips ever together. We both love hiking, trekking, mountains, peaks. We had just finished the Salkantay trail. The alternative way to Machu Picchu. I saw you crying at the 4,600-meter-high Salkantay Pass, both from excitement and fatigue.

I am still shocked. By the way you decided to end it all.

The morning of our return home. At the end of a perfect trip. The Andes are your favourite mountains. You looked so happy. The night before in Plaza de Armas in Cuzco you even drank two pisco sours even though you are afraid of them since that time in Putre when you were knocked out by one of them.

I am still shocked. By the way you ended it all.

The last day of our trip when as usual you are dreaming about our next one. You talked about Mount Fitz Roy. Patagonia. The place you fell in love with and have wanted to return to since our first visit there. You even shamefacedly said once that you would consider settling down in Patagonia.

I am still shocked. By the way you ended it all.

We met while travelling. At an airport. Nothing more romantic that that for natural-born travellers. Our relationship grew stronger on the road. I always thought that you fell in love with the tattoo on the back of my neck, the word ‘travel’ engraved on my skin.

I am still shocked. By the way you ended it all.

I am modern. You know that. So I didn’t really expect that it would last forever. Nothing lasts forever in our times. But I expected some explanation. Some words. A goodbye. A kiss. A thank you. Everything is expendable in our times, but still manners do matter. Friends with benefits, but friends don’t just drop each other like this.

I am still shocked. By the way you ended it all.

Memories carry weight. Deepen feelings. Braving a snow storm while hiking outside of Ushuaia, the end of the world as you called it. Your agony, feeling powerless to rescue a guanaco caught in the fences in Torres del Paine, the cruelty of life as you called it. Your hat being blown away, never to be seen again, by a freak whirlwind on our Aconcagua trek.

I am still shocked. By the way you ended it all.

I am hurt by your sheer arrogance. The utter disrespect for the other. Everything has a soul. The world and everything on it; humans, animals, plants, stones, water, fire and everything on earth. You have conquered mountains, so you know the brilliance of nature, the fragility of life and the humility that travelling inspires.

I am still shocked. By the way you ended it all.

I expected more from you, exactly because you have travelled. I thought you understood the world better, exactly because you have travelled. I believed you had learnt to respect diversity, exactly because you have travelled. I believed you were different, exactly because you have travelled.

I am still shocked. By the way you ended it all.

Left alone in a hotel room. Never to see you again.

Always yours,

Your toothbrush


  1. Can’t stop laughing. Thought “it” was a heartless soul. What a surprising ending. Loved it!

  2. I was welling up and up. Then you dashed my moment of wallowing. It left me embarrassed and unfulfilled.

  3. Oh. Wow.

    I am shocked by how you ended the story. I definitely did not see that coming. I assumed you had been ghosted by a lover/partner. Silly me

  4. I too thought how awful to leave someone in a hotel on vacation. It was funny to find out that his tooth brush felt the abandonment. I had to chuckle when I read the end.
    Good story. I would have voted two thumbs up.

  5. How wonderful!!! Thank-you for sharing. Now I’ll just double check that I brought mine home last week.

  6. OMG — what a dreadful waste of time & read, most ridiculous story, wish i had my 3 minutes back, good luck toothbrush — only wish it ended sooner!

  7. Because a toothbrush tends to be monogamous and mate for life, I feel that it may never find another traveling companion. Such is the cruelty of life….
    Terrific short story!

  8. Amazing play on words! I thoroughly enjoyed this story!

    Congratulations, Alexandros! Well done!

  9. I really didn’t like the implication that she killed herself. Was this really the best story? I think this must have been a case of nepotism.

  10. It was so much said that I was beginning to feel that this was not a human being. But it was beautifully written.

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