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Vagabond Dreams Outtakes

Tachikawa: Where My Writing Life Began

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I’ve been running this website since March 2009, and this is my 300th blog. I guess that’s an anniversary of sorts, and it got me thinking about my early years as a writer. I made several false starts during my twenties, mostly because I just didn’t have any life experience, and so I had nothing to say. I only really found my topic with travel. That was a way in, an exotic frame for me to explore...

The Story Behind the Cover

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I’ve always gotten a lot of comments about the book cover of Vagabond Dreams. It really jumps off the shelf, and I loved it the first time I saw it. I thought you might like to know some of the symbolism behind it. The first element that jumps out at you is of course the boat. There’s a riverboat journey by dugout canoe near the beginning of the book, but that was really just the first act...

This Simple Trick Will Set Your Writing Free

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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...

Reader Photos — Is Yours Among Them?

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All sorts of happy readers have been posting their Vagabond Dreams photos on my Facebook page. I asked them to take a picture with the book, and they answered in spades. I thought you might enjoy seeing them, so I pasted a bunch here. We’ve got readers posting from all over Canada and the US, from Australia, the Himalayas, the jungles of Brazil and even the deck of the Titanic. Two of the photos...

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes #17—Journey’s End

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  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

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  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

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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...

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes 15—Waiting Tasted Blue

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  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 Petén region of Guatemala…   I stumbled out of bed at four thirty to prepare for the last long distance bus ride of the journey: the hard packed jungle track through the eastern Petén to the...

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes 14—They Only Want Your Loot

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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 Peten region of Guatemala… The light through the window lay across my chest in a square pattern, broken by the lazy sweep of a ceiling fan. It was a picture straight out of Joseph Conrad; a movie version of a...

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes 13—Tearing The Veils From History

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  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 Peten region of Guatemala… Overgrown jungle pathways linked the main ruins of Tikal, transforming predictable sightseeing into something approaching exploration. I walked quietly and breathed deeply of...

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.

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