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.