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Reader Questions

How to Journal When You Travel

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A reader named Bill dropped me a line last week to ask about how I journal when on the road. I’d never thought about it before, but it’s a really great question, and it depends a lot on your goal. When I went to Central America in 2000, I knew I wanted to write the book that would become Vagabond Dreams, and so I took very detailed notes right from the start. I learned a lot on that trip, and I...

Reading to Write: How Much for a Book?

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A few readers have asked me how much research goes into the writing of a book. How much do you have to read in order to write? It really depends on the project, of course. And I’m sure it’s different for everyone. I tend to read quite a lot. Partly because I love to read, and doing a book or an article gives me an excuse to dig into a subject. You never really know what sort of obscure fact or...

Should You Use a Guide?

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It’s been a while since I dipped into the mailbag to answer a question from my readers. Here’s one from Jeff Shore, who posted on Facebook: “When you travel to an exotic locale, would you rather educate yourself and find things by word-of-mouth from locals; or hire a professional guide to assist, and why?” First, great question Jeff. It shows you’re thinking outside the box of pre-packaged...

25 Things You Don’t Know About Me

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  Yeah, this post was inspired by one of those dumb internet memes. I saw it on someone’s blog and thought it might be fun. Why? We’ve been traveling together for a while now, but apart from the obvious stuff like books, music and traveler’s tales, we really don’t know that much about each other. That’s a bit strange, considering how long we’ve shared the road. Road friendships develop in...

Cruising Through the Bu

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    I’m just back from a couple weeks in LA, hanging with some of my magazine friends. Cruising through Malibu, walks on Santa Monica beach, shopping in Beverly Hills, and lunch on Sunset Blvd. Ahh, LA, you’ve got it all: a warm breeze, a coastline kissed by waves, fast cars and beautiful girls, and vast stretches of desert just over the next hill. That’s a place I could spend a...

Show Your Faces If You Dare

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Clive J. from the UK asked: What do you know as a result of travel the rest of us don’t? I think the most important lessons are things we forget in the day to day, not things we don’t know. When you’re cut off out there on the road, the everyday frivolity of life at home – office politics, the rat race, “noble” ambitions, catching every episode of some stupid...

Beneath the Sun and Stars

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I’m just back from a short job in Glynco, GA, followed by a few days of filming in Florida. It was a steamy week of early morning / late afternoon shoots and midday business meetings on the beach. We were scorched by the sands, gouged by the shells, plagued by mosquitos and swarmed by biting ants. And that was just the first day… But I’ve returned to my desk and I’m ready...

Memory Breeds Paper Dreams

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Jenny from Sydney, Australia asked: How did you become interested in writing? I wonder sometimes what came first, the stories or the intention to write them? I think, in a sense, I’ve always lived posthumously. Even when I really got myself into trouble as a kid, part of me knew that the incident I was caught up in would make a great story and that I had to go through with it. I was always...

Ask Me No Questions, I’ll Tell You No Lies

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  I’ve come up with a new interactive feature that I hope you’ll enjoy. Are you itching to find out about the exotic world of travel writing, desperate for hot hints on destinations and money saving travel tips, or just bored and looking for a monkey to prod with a stick? Well now’s your chance… I call it “Reader’s Questions.” Okay, yeah, that’s...

Ryan Murdock

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

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