What’s Your Personal Landscape?


Just got back from my first trip to Las Vegas.

Yeah, it’s weird eh? I’ve been to Mongolia but never Vegas.

Am I the only one to go there and not set foot in a Casino, club or The Strip?

What the heck did I get up to?

On the outskirts of Sin City, among the red rocks and the ghosts of broken dreams, I filmed a couple programs for my health and fitness website. I also put together this little video blog for you. Hope ya like it!

Is there a specific place that resonates with you? Please post it below. What’s your personal landscape?



About the author

Ryan Murdock

Author of A Sunny Place for Shady People and Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. Host of Personal Landscapes podcast. Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Canada's Outpost magazine. Writer at The Shift. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.


  • Great video Ryan.

    T.E.Lawrence was once asked why he was drawn to the desert. He answered, ‘Because it’s clean.’ I think getting away from the flesh pots to the desert (or the ocean) is good for the mind, body and soul.

    There is a tendency to find things within ones self that otherwise seem elusive in overtly stimulating environments.

    I think I’m due.

  • Yeah, I think it’s important to carve out that silence, because clarifying your purpose takes time. Quiet, uninterrupted time. If you’re skimming across your life at high speed, it’s impossible to dig down more deeply.

  • My peace, or some semblance of peace comes from my St. Lawrence River. Having grown up on its shores, it’s truly in my very soul. I do my best thinking sitting and watching the different moods of the St. Lawrence. Slate grey wild whitecaps, calm and smooth as glass, beautiful Mediterrean blue are some of its moods. If for some reason I couldn’t have my river, I would need the Atlantic Ocean. The crashing breakers, the cries of the gulls, the salt air, being beside a great body of water has always calmed my mind.

    • The one thing I’ve always missed about that area – no matter where i lived – was the St. Lawrence. I spent a lot of time canoeing and fishing out there. And I camped on all those islands near North Channel in high school.

  • My personal landscape is along moving water. I was first drawn to the ocean, being born and raised in southern California. Through my life experiences, I find the places that continue to sing to my soul have moving water…mountain creeks, soft, flowing rivers, even the gentle lapping waves of the Mediterranean. While you love the silence, I love the sound that water makes. It soothes my mind. I live now in southwest France on the river Lot. In this place, moving water and stone inform the landscape and the character of the place.

    • Well said Evelyn 🙂 The south of France is beautiful. I spent some time in Languedoc and Provence chasing down the ghost of Lawrence Durrell. That’s still my favourite magazine story. Absolutely beautiful part of the world.

  • Nice video, Ryan.

    I too have desert time and your observations of tranquility, refuge, survival, and life are as exact as I remember them as well.

    My greater personal landscape, however, rises from the mountain regions I’ve trekked in my life. The Sierras, the Cascades, the Rockies, and most recently, Nepal and the Himalayas. Each journey pulls me into a deeper, more reflective place in my mind, dreaming of comfort and warmth, but knowing the struggle is always in the climb instead, always from inside a place where I’m supposed to be.

    Just got your book in the mail, Vagabond Dreams. I have already read up to the Latin Dance exercises with Maria and the building thermogenesis between what’s honest about her humanity and what’s honest about yours. Great word, thermogenesis, conjures up in my memory images of high school love, or first encounters with a real dancer who pitied me out on the floor and gave it a swirl. Can’t wait to dive into the rest of the read.


    • Great observations Byron, thanks very much for posting them. While the desert is definitely my personal landscape, I’ve enjoyed some great trips in the mountains as well. Hiking in Liechtenstein was a big highlight, and travels in Tibet. Hope to add some trekking in Nepal to that list in 2014. I can understand the appeal of those vast open views, the rarefied air, and the challenge involved in reaching both inner and outer heights. Like venturing into the deep desert, the difficulty of the journey seems to deepen the reward the reward.

      Glad you’re enjoying the book.

      >Great word, thermogenesis, conjures up in my memory images of high school love, or first encounters

      That’s it exactly.

  • The ‘forgotten River” section of the Rio Grande between El Porvenir and Candelaria, Texas. Very few people will ever see nor experience the solitude this fierce landscape offers. It’s not easy to get to nor to travel within. But for those like us that are entranced by marginalized places, a day here on the river or in a 4X4 on the rough dirt tracks is worth to me a year spent in a overpopulated hellhole like Las Vegas Nevada.

    • Well said. I never understood the appeal of Vegas. But places like this are worth the effort it takes to reach them.

  • My personal landscape has always been the mountains, in particular the mountains of Asia. In the last few years, though, ever since starting travelling in Africa by 4×4, I have become a huge fan of deserts. Nights in the Namibian desert around a campfire with the Milky Way glowing above: magic.


Sign up for my entertaining email newsletter and claim your FREE gift!

Recent Posts