Author

Ryan Murdock

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

Two Postcards from Laos

T

Laos is a jungle country of rural villages with wooden stilt houses and smoky cooking fires. Karst hills obstruct the journey, jutting up like horribly broken teeth, unbrushed and moss-covered. Distances are not great, but winding roads make journeys into marathons. The highway between Vientiane and Luang Prabang is like a footpath that — over time and purely by default — became a highway...

By Freighter Down That Lazy River

B

The journey from Managua to the port town of Bluefields on Nicaragua’s remote Mosquito Coast takes place in two phases: the first a teethrattling ride in a dustchoked bus down the only jungle road. At the road’s terminus, the lost town of Rama, you must throw your lot in with the Rio Escondido as it seeks communion with the sea. The engine pulses and shudders through the flaking steel...

Riding Theroux’s Ghost Train

R

If you want to write meaningful travel literature, you’ve got to immerse yourself in everything that’s been published in the genre. In addition to reading broadly, I’ve made it a habit to read deeply of specific writers whose work truly resonates with me. I first read everything they’ve ever published. Next, I read their collected letters and journals. After that comes...

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes # 2 — Alone in a Crowd

V

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes are “deleted scenes” from my book. Think of them as a “Special Features” disc of outtakes and curios. This incident took place in Guatemala… During highland evenings a damp chill replaced the setting sun.  The park was filled with couples. Old couples walked arm in arm, dressed as though for a first date. Young couples clung to each other on...

A Postcard from Tibet

A

A heavy silence replaced the motor’s shake and grind. Metal ticked softly in the disconnected dead of night, and the side wall of the bus was cold to the touch. I struggled out of my plywood bunk and climbed over baggage and sleeping bodies to take a piss outside the front door. Suddenly lightheaded, on the edge of passing out, I stumbled back to my bunk where I shivered in a panting heap...

It Ain’t Nothing But The Hound, Dawg

I

Only those with little money and infinite patience would consider crossing the continent by bus, but it can be an unforgettable experience, one that’s inaccessible to the short distance traveler. A barrier is breached when you go beyond that one-day travel gap. Your time sense shifts, the days become cyclical, and the only constant is movement. Like a rocket or a submarine, the bus carries...

The Valley

T

Show kindness to your friends by not eating them, the sign said. But what the fuck else is there to eat? I shake my head as the soft flesh of a newly cooked baby dissolves on my tongue. They don’t know what they’re missing. My larder is an assemblage of appendages. The valley made me into an aunt-eater. The valley night pulses malevolence. It’s a Galt’s Gulch of assassins...

Painkiller

P

Every journey needs a soundtrack. The music of The Church has always formed the backdrop of mine. The band’s singer, Steve Kilbey, an accomplished lyricist, poet, blogger and painter, has also been one of my most significant writing influences. Allow me to introduce you to Kilbey’s recent solo album: Painkiller.   I’ve made it a habit — well, call it a ritual — that each...

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes #1 — Avarice Disturbs My Immediacy

V

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes are “deleted scenes” from my book. Think of them as a “Special Features” disc of outtakes and curios. This incident took place in the highlands of Guatemala… Within days I had become a regular in the Parque Central and the vendors left me alone. But on the day of my arrival I was constantly assailed. Most went away after two or three polite...

A Postcard from Mongolia

A

    Camped in a valley of rolling green hills that look manicured like a golf course, patched with pine forest. The only sounds are the wind as it sighs through the trees, the grunt of grazing horses, and the baa-ing of a flock of sheep. The slow scratch of my pen on paper drowns them all out. The white gers of herdsmen dot the hillside across the valley. Next to one, a pale blue...

Ryan Murdock

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

NEWSLETTER

Sign up for my entertaining email newsletter


Get in Touch

Donate

Support the Personal Landscapes podcast with a donation

Recent Posts

Archives

WP AutoTerms Legal Pages