Walden on Wheels and back to the grind… or not?

I just finished up the book, Walden on Wheels. It is about living on the road and student debt: two things which caught my eye.

My mom recommended the book to me… probably because of the title. I will forever have the quote in my memory, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life.” For my 10th grade English class, we were required to stand on a three-foot-tall tree stump and recite the passage from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.


My high school English teacher, Mr. Chopson, standing to the right of the stump. This man changed my life in many ways.

Living on the road and living “free” always interested me. It was always my dream to be a writer/journalist traveling on the road. I first became a fan (perhaps reaching stalker status..) of Anderson Cooper because I learned upon graduating from college, he headed to Africa to film what was going on there with the LRA and human trafficking.

It’s after a few life experiences that reality sunk in. I learned things cost money. Cooper comes from the Vanderbilt family. He has the means and connections to do such things.

Reality is really kicking in for me, right now. I mean, really.

I’m back from Guatemala. Back to what should be a normal life. The thing is AmeriCorps ended for me, and I am looking for a job. So there’s not really a normal for me right now. I can’t return to a 9 to 5 job and not have to think about the kids in Guatemala. I’ve had the time to think about the economy, education, and healthcare in the United States and around the world. I’ve had time to think about grad school and what it is I really want out of life.

Consensus is I don’t really know, but I am passionate about education. Everyone deserves a good education, and it shouldn’t come at such a heavy cost.

The first night my team went to the Ghetto in Guatemala, we met a girl who said her dream was to get an education and go to law school. This is the girl whose sister was celebrating her quinciñera and taking care of a baby that’s not hers and whose mother is in prison.


Settling into my not so normal life in the states, I’ve discovered I don’t want much out of life but connecting with God, family, and friends. “Things” aren’t going to make me happy. However, I do find it sad that the world tells me these things will make me happy. It says buy an expensive house to be happy. It says go to an expensive school. It says buy over-priced clothes.

Talking to friends, it’s sad how they have to sacrifice their happiness by working in a job they hate just to pay back their education debt, mortgages, car payments, etc.


Thank you AmeriCorps for reducing my education debt.

If there’s anything I learned from going to Guatemala, these things aren’t going to make me happy.


One thought on “Walden on Wheels and back to the grind… or not?

  1. Pingback: These are a few of my favorite things: #39(Walden on Wheels : On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom by Ken Ilgunas) | Ritu's Weblog

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