Category

Central America

This Simple Trick Will Set Your Writing Free

T

It might surprise you to learn that I changed my name when I wrote Vagabond Dreams. No, I didn’t trudge down to the courthouse and get myself a new legal alias. I changed my name in the manuscript. I was reading a lot of Henry Miller back then, and I was intrigued by the idea of “fictional autobiography” — a book that held true to the events of my life, but with a little creative license and a...

Castaway on a Hostile Shore

C

I’m still drifting through Central American memories, looking at my life 10 short years ago…
The present has rippled and the past intervened. It’s leaking through the walls of this cold northern room, and all those feelings are coming back with it.
This is from Chapter 4 of Vagabond Dreams. It’s about traveling alone, and that first time you set out on the road.
 

Pushing Through My Safe Ideas

P

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...

Drifting Down to a New Sunrise

D

On the flight back, somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico, the feeling changed. I crossed some sort of invisible divide where I re-entered the life of the States: the life of work, obligation, responsibility and long hours. I dropped back into that weight as though it had never been lifted. It almost felt natural. But it’s not. I realized at that moment that Central America is a separate...

My Memory Walks The City

M

As a writer and a constant reader of books, I’ve begun to feel increasingly disconnected from other people. I think it comes from spending too much time alone in a room. There’s a glass barrier between myself and the rest of the world. I’m seeing it all at one remove, through the TV screen of my eyes, from several feet back in my head. Maybe it’s a consequence of traveling...

You Can’t Go Back Again

Y

Panama City, 10 years later. The plaza in the colonial district still looks the same. The tidal flats are still muddy, and they still smell of the sea. Punta Paitilla still juts out across the bay, a glimmering jewel of finance, luxury, and life lived on another plane. The big ships are still there, floating at random anchorages, waiting to transit the Canal. A couple of them even look familiar...

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes #17—Journey’s End

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 Belize… Belize City was a bit like Bluefields on the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua: a seedy place with an aura of decay. But it didn’t feel like Central America. The musical lilt of Caribbean English had...

Contaminated Alibis

C

  Vagabond Dreams Outtakes are “deleted scenes” from my book. Think of them as a “Special Features” disc for a DVD yet to be invented. This incident took place in Bluefields, Nicaragua, on the Mosquito Coast, exactly 10 years ago…   I walked to the Enitel building to place a call before dinner. I hadn’t sent a message home in weeks. I expected end-of...

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes #16—And I Was Just a Stranger There

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 Panama’s Darien Gap…   Banana trees and low bushy plants lined the dirt path that led beyond the village’s last tambo. Jungle pathways were never entirely clear, no matter how recently someone had...

A Jungle Shift in the Trajectory

A

During my time with them, I learned that the Embera of Panama’s Darien Gap lived in harmony with their surroundings. They didn’t try to be “close to Nature”—the idea would never have occurred to them. They were Nature, an inextricable segment of that community of life. It’s misguided to revere them for this, or to demonize them. They’re simply being what they...

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