What’s Your Personal Landscape?

Written by Ryan Murdock

On the outskirts of Sin City, among the red rocks and the ghosts of broken dreams, two fitness coaches brave the fires of hell to film new programs for BodyweightCoach Inside Access.

No heat is too much. No cactus too spiny. No sand too sandy.

I mean, c’mon. Look at this.

On the outskirts of Vegas

Are you ready for this?

Well, ARE YOU?

are YOU ready?

Is there a specific place that resonates with you? Please post it below. What’s your personal landscape?

About the author

Ryan Murdock


  • All of my life, any patch of forest, especially in mountainous regions, has given me a renewed sense of energy. Every backpacking excursion I take gets me plugged in to the natural rhythm of our beautiful world. It’s invigorating and enlightening.

    Our physical fitness can be equated with our competency in overall readiness. Each one relies deeply upon the other, and each is worthless without the other. We would do well to keep this in mind when planning out our training programs.

    I have not experienced the desert, but you’ve intrigued me, Ryan. Great post guys!
    .-= John Sifferman´s last blog -> The “Beg For Mercy” Extreme Fitness Workout- and why I dare you NOT to do it =-.

  • What a great post Ryan! I can totally relate. Happened to take some time out there when I was last in Vegas:

    Was having this conversation with my father-in-law this last summer. And the desert, man the desert, it seems to be where I come alive. Perhaps it was growing up in a sub-zero desert…

    Thanks again for sharing:)
    .-= Shane Heins´s last blog -> Hammer and Heat =-.

    • Yeah, the north really hit me too, I guess for those same reasons. It has the same depth and silence as the desert, and you get that same sense of perspective of being dwarfed by the landscape.

  • Ryan, seeing that the past four years for my summer vacation (I’m a working stiff, so this is precious time we are talking about) I have placed myself in the mountain magic of the Eastern Sierra and the Great Basin desert spread out below it, then I must admit that is my personal landscape. And I know how to get around in those mountains and at times, with complete solitude that you like about the desert. I shed like a snake everything when I’m up above 8,500 feet (ooops, sorry my Canadian neighbors, I meant 2,590 metres). And yes, there are deep, intense moments of solitude.
    Yet, as a big fan of Edward Abbey, I love the desert. Living in California, I have not that great of a distance to find desert land and have lovingly explored it. I’m a horticulturist, a botanist by trade, thus, I have to get out into these “personal landscapes” in order to successfully explore this knowledge base I have. So, I guess, where homo sapiens footprints are few, that’s where I like to delve with all senses afire.
    On another note, when I was a ‘working stiff’ in Boston, my hometown, Walden Pond, yes, that one, was my go-to personal landscape. 20 minutes from work (Fanuiel Hall Marketplace) to where Thoreau left his footprints.

    • I did a seminar years ago that was about an hour’s drive from Walden Pond. I only had one evening free, so had them take me to Lowell to walk in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac.

  • Nice post, Ryan.

    For me, the woods would be my sanctuary. Perhaps it’s the green, the birds, the lack of the clamor of industry and machines, the roaring stillness of it all. Or maybe it’s that I grew up with the woods as my back yard (the expanse of which have seemed to shrink with age), so there’s an element of nostalgia there to a time where fun ruled the day and responsibility and seriousness were unknown. I spent many a day ‘running away’ to that area as an escape.

    Presently, I get ‘out there’ as much as possible (which isn’t nearly often enough) to return things back to center. I think of it as my ‘reset button’. There, I can put things in perspective and dive back into ‘the real world’ a bit renewed.

    There’s also nothing quite like swinging clubbells to an audience of furry critters.
    .-= John Belkewitch´s last blog -> Tough Mudder Training- Entering the Ring of fire… =-.

  • Hey guys, looks great there. I’ve never backpacked yet out west, but some day…

    My “personal landscape” is North Manitou Island in Lake Michigan, a national wilderness preserve, and part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Nothing difficult or dangerous about it, except the solitude and self reliance. Lots of wild life, deer, coyotees, but nothing more dangerous than the chipmunks from whom you must guard your food. Last spring I didn’t see another person for five days, and this coming spring I hope to visit for two weeks. Not that I don’t like people, but I just like them better when they’re not around.

    • >Last spring I didn’t see another person for five days

      That sounds like a little piece of heaven!

      >Not that I don’t like people, but I just like them better when they’re not around.

      Man, I can completely relate to that.

  • I love the desert, and I love the forest, and I especially love the mountains and the beach. Each of them has it’s own beauty and power that can be appreciated and drawn from. And whenever I spend time in one of them, I want to spend more time in all of them. However, for me, the sanctuary isn’t necessarily one particular place. My sanctuary is anywhere that I can appreciate beauty or majesty. A lot of times, that’s outside, where the wind blows the trees, or I can look across the valley from the mountaintop. Sometimes, though, it’s in the dojo, where I have time to clear my mind and focus on only one thing. That allows me to make connections that I couldn’t otherwise make. Although, the same training over and over is bad for a martial artist. Gonna have to start training in the mountains, or elsewhere, too.

    • >Sometimes, though, it’s in the dojo, where I have time to clear my mind and focus on only one thing.

      Yeah. It’s tough to beat those moments when everything’s “on”, when it all feels so easy and you’re cruising along on autopilot, totally in the moment.

  • For me nothing beats innerspace! I’ve been scuba diving for over 35 years. I started when I was 10 years old. I’ve been all over the world, places like The Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Carribbean and the good old East Coast of the US. When I truly want to forget about the modern world and lose myself there is nothing that compares to being weightless in an environment where you are no longer at the top of the food-chain (a little diver humor there).
    .-= Dean´s last blog -> Moderate Intensity Training =-.

  • Ibiza. I love Ibiza, in the Balearic Islands, Spain. It is a magic island … if you don´t know it, you´ve got to travel to it … and you´ll love it too

      • The media always talks about the parties in Ibiza, but it is the smallest (and worst) part of the island. The best part is the small beaches, the sea, eating in a beach earring chill out and seeing the sea, snorkeling. And one curious thing is that the name of all the villages are names of saints … that is because is an island were the ancient gods lived. I´m sure you´ll like it.

        • >that is because is an island were the ancient gods lived

          That was enough to sell me right there. I love places that are steeped in myth and legend. Landscapes layered with stories as well as geography. I’ll check it out next year when I’m in the Med.

          • Well, if you go, tell me, and I tell you some places I´m sure you´ll like. And the other Balearic Island are very interesting beautiful and full of history and myths too (Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera, which is called “the last paradise of the Mediterranean Sea”).

  • Hi Ryan,
    I recognize Red Rock Canyon – we used to go out there a lot the year we lived in Las Vegas, a long time ago. But I was there on a day trip more recently, after the yoga seminar that Ryan and Joe put on in Vegas a few years ago. It’s a wonderful place to mull over geological processes – all that bare, baked rock – but I also love the grove of Ash trees that’s nestled down in that one area in the midst of the heat and the thorny growth of more usual desert plants.

  • Different places at different times of the year. Mountains in the Fall, the ocean when it is raging, mountain forest during the summer, deserts after a storm

    • Yeah, there’s something pretty incredible about the desert right after a storm. I remember watching storms approach across the Gobi in Mongolia, how it all let loose and the sense of peace that followed. Tough to forget stuff like that.

  • It was an experience that I have been wishing to do again for the last 15 years. My landscape for the last 15 years has been the streets of Santa Barbara. I was Urban camping for 5 of those years and most people think that S.B. is a nice peace full town between L.A and S.F. I have seen the other side of S.B. and it’s not what I would call much of a life when you’re Disabled But you make the best of what you get. At 54 today. The real landscape for me is everything from Sacto. in the middle up to Redding and S.F. to Reno. Lake Tahoe and the wilderness in between. That is where I grew up (Sacto.) and you couldn’t imagine all the water ways in the delta to the mountain streams and lakes up in the area north and east of Sacto. I camped a little at Mt. Lasson and Shasta. When you mentioned the part of not camping in low areas in a desert setting it reminded me of the fact that Joe average would never think of drowning in the middle of the desert. Good looking out on that one. A reminder like that simple one will save lives in the future and that is a fact. Choose your bed incorrectly and it could be your last nightmare. Thanks for all the info that you have sent me in the past. It never hurts to learn something new. Thanks, Earl

    • Never been to the Lake Tahoe area. Sounds like a good excuse for a trip to California. Thanks for posting, and thanks for sharing your urban camping experiences – a sober reminder to be thankful for the things we have, while continuing to press on towards our goals.

  • and you are wearing black…My husband woke up one morning after sleeping in the desert to find 12 scorpions under his sleeping pad. They came to enjoy the heat of his body next to the sand.
    My landscape is tall mountains with huge evergreens dotting the land. Love it and then the secret mountain meadows that sport an amazing amount of color from native grasses and flowers.

    • >and you are wearing black…

      Navy Blue actually 😉 We just finished filming two programs nearby. We started at first light, before the sun got hot. The shirt was a “shout out” to one of our friends – his Gymnos Evolution logo is on the back. Definitely not something I would wear for a desert hike though.

      >the secret mountain meadows that sport an amazing amount of color from native grasses and flowers

      Yeah, that’s a really good one. Wish I could post a photo in these comments. I have some great shots of hidden meadows I walked through during an expedition to Canada’s Northwest Territories. Each time we crossed a mountain pass and entered a new river valley, we’d find meadows and intersecting valleys running off in different directions, as far as the eye could see. There were so many of those secret places up there. And I bet some of them have never been visited by humans.

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