Category

Travel philosophy

I Hate My Phone

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I hate my phone. Well, not just my phone, but all phones that fit in one’s pocket. There’s a direct correlation between the portability of one’s devices and the sense of obligation other people have for your attention. For brevity’s sake, let’s just refer to this as Murd’s Law. You’ve all heard of Moore’s Law, right? It states that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles...

A New Anthropology of Drink

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Me and Tomoko were shopping in Prenzlauer Berg early one evening this past Fall. And when the time was right, we walked down a quiet street until I found the blank steel door that I’d been searching for. There was no sign. Just a photo of the Irish playwright Samuel Beckett in a dark window. I reached out and rang the bell. A crack of light appeared moments later, and a head poked out. I gave my...

Where Do You Find Inspiration?

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©Tomoko Goto 2015

I find myself drawn to visual arts like painting, photography and installations because they give me new ideas for writing. I’ve rarely drawn inspiration from other writers. Music and lyrics have probably provided the greatest source of new ideas for me in the past, and the greatest influence on my work. And in recent years I’ve found a great deal of inspiration for my writing in the visual arts...

Why We Travel

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Travel stories are perhaps the oldest human narrative. Even our earliest known text—the Epic of Gilgamesh—contains the story of a journey. And I can easily imagine our prehistoric ancestors sitting around a campfire telling hunter’s tales of all they’d seen. Why does travel fascinate us on such a deep level? And why do so many of us do it? Some of us travel as a vacation: to decompress from...

Travel Can Also Be a Way of Cutting Yourself Off

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Travel is the greatest education I’ve ever had. It has taught me more about myself than any school or course or book. It has opened my mind to new worlds, new customs, new landscapes and new ways of being. But a lifestyle based on travel also comes with hidden dangers… And it’s easy to miss them when you’re blinded by the excitement of the new. I’m only starting to realize some of these...

What’s the Point of Travel?

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There are hours of the night when we reach our lowest ebb. Dark hours when doubts creep in. We question ourselves. And everything is up for grabs — even our most deeply held beliefs. I wrote the following words in Spain last summer. I was sitting on a bench in a deserted Barcelona airport concourse at 3am, struggling to stay awake. These are the worries I confided to my notebook: I find myself...

How to Travel Properly

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You’ve spent 15 patient years saving for that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe. You dreamed about it. You talked about it. And you finally flew over and lived it — only to be left thinking, “Was that it?” Or maybe you’re a frequent business traveler, and despite the exotic cities you find yourself in, all you’ve ever seen is snooty restaurants and shopping plazas. There’s more to travel than...

40 Random Things I’ve Learned In My 40 Years

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I was trying to think of something I could do to mark the occasion of my 40th birthday. Something I could offer to the readers of my blog. And then I thought about what I’d like to do for my younger self. If I could somehow dig a hole through time, poke my head through a mirror and speak into my former lives, what sort of advice would I give myself? What would it have made my life easier to know...

Reflections on 40

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I spent the first half of my twenties as a starving student, reading all the time and scraping by on poor food and the cheapest no name coffee that comes in a giant tin. I didn’t start traveling until after I graduated, and I felt like I had to make up for lost time. I spent the second half of that decade working horrible temp jobs for very little pay, and saving it all for trips. When I was 28...

Ithaka Is Just A State Of Mind

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I’d like to share one of my favourite poems with you today. It’s something I keep tucked into the back pocket of my notebook anytime I go on the road. First, some context… I’m a big reader of the classics. Apart from travel literature and history I read very little current writing, and almost no current fiction. There are just so many books out there, and I know I can barely scratch the...

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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