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Walden on Wheels


Walden on Wheels is a travel memoir about a five-year period of my life when I dealt with student debt. To pay off my $32,000 student debt with a liberal arts degree from the University at Buffalo, I move to a remote work camp in Coldfoot, Alaska, where I work as a maid, cook, and tour guide. Later, I hitchhike 5,500 miles across the continent, canoe across Ontario, Canada with "voyageurs" (people who live and dress like the 18th Century fur traders), work on a trail crew in Gulfport, Mississippi, and finally I head back up to Alaska, where I finish paying my debt off as a backcountry ranger in the Gates of the Arctic National Park. When I get out of debt, and when I enroll in a graduate program at Duke University, inspired by Thoreau, I move into a 1994 Econoline Van -- my "Walden on Wheels" -- where I secretly live in a campus parking lot to stay out of debt, and where I put to use the many lessons about frugality and simplicity and adventure that I'd learned on my journey before.


Walden on Wheels will be published by New Harvest Publishing, and will be released on May 14, 2013. You can order it here. For press inquiries, please contact Alexandra Woodworth at

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