Pushing Through My Safe Ideas


My recent visit to Panama City has left me drifting 10 years in the past…

I’d like to share with you a reading of something I wrote at that time. It was my first real trip. I was alone and disoriented, in a place where I didn’t speak the language. I didn’t really know why I was there or what I should do. I only knew I had to go.

Those of you who have followed such impulses know how deeply that first trip will change you. After traveling the length of Central America, nothing ever looked the same again. I could never go back to the life I’d left behind.

I wrote this passage during lonely nights in a windowless room. It describes my first glimpse of the city, and of the disorientation I felt.

This is from Chapter 4 of Vagabond Dreams. It’s the first time I’ve shared an actual passage from the book that isn’t an “outtake” or a “deleted scene.” I hope you enjoy it.


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.



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