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vagabond dreams

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes # 5 — Time’s Sunbaked Cycle

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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 Guatemala… Antigua in the highlands. Mayan Indian women and children strolled through the Parque Central dressed in brightly patterned traditional embroidery. Round baskets, balanced on their heads, were...

A Faded Image Where The Land Lies Wild

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Sunlight slants through verdant jungle and illuminates a simple white painted tomb on a hillside overlooking the Nam Khan River. Someone has hacked back the growth to open a view of the smooth brown waters, but vines are encroaching yet again. A square brass plaque, tarnished by constant moisture, reads simply “Henri Mouhot 1826-1861”. Mouhot is credited with “re...

The Air-Conditioned Nightmare

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Though Henry Miller’s book on Greece, The Colossus of Maroussi, is generally regarded as his greatest achievement, he also wrote a second travel book which should be regarded as a definite classic of the genre. The Air-Conditioned Nightmare chronicles Miller’s return to America in 1939, hot on the heels of the Greek trip referred to above, and from what he believed would be an open...

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes # 4 — Dust Was My Companion

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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 Honduras… Stamped into the Republic of Honduras, I stood beside the bus while two mangy German Shepherds sniffed the luggage well. The chief drug cop was a short moon-faced man. He wore black pants and a...

12 Movies to Inspire a Journey

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Movies shape how we see the world. Movies also shape the world we expect to see when we go out into it. Few things inspire us to travel like a well chosen backdrop. It paints romantic visions in our heads, visions that often linger for years. Sometimes the reality of a place matches or exceeds our vision, and sometimes it falters. In the end, anything that inspires us to travel, to break the...

Painted Maidens Aren’t Always What They Seem

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Spring always reminds me of the years I spent in Japan. The damp chill of Tokyo winter gives way to gentle warmth. There’s a sense of optimism in the way people walk, and a smile hovers at the corners of every mouth. It’s a wonderful time to be alive. In Japan, spring is also the season for festivals. Most celebrate nature, renewal, and transformation. Those may seem like innocent...

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes #3 — Interrupted by Gunmen

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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 on the outskirts of Managua… I sat in blank Zen-minded drowsiness as the plush coach sped through vacant pre-dawn streets, letting the rumble of the engine lull me to sleep. I was just dozing off in the shabby...

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes # 2 — Alone in a Crowd

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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 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

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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...

Vagabond Dreams Outtakes #1 — Avarice Disturbs My Immediacy

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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 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...

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. Writer at The Shift. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

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