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Walden on Wheels : On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom
by Ken Ilgunas

Overview -

In this frank and witty memoir, Ken Ilgunas lays bare the existential terror of graduating from the University of Buffalo with $32,000 of student debt. Ilgunas set himself an ambitious mission: get out of debt as quickly as possible. Inspired by the frugality and philosophy of Henry David Thoreau, Ilgunas undertook a 3-year transcontinental jour ney, working in Alaska as a tour guide, garbage picker, and night cook to pay off his student loans before hitchhiking home to New York.  Read more...


 
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More About Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas
 
 
 
Overview

In this frank and witty memoir, Ken Ilgunas lays bare the existential terror of graduating from the University of Buffalo with $32,000 of student debt. Ilgunas set himself an ambitious mission: get out of debt as quickly as possible. Inspired by the frugality and philosophy of Henry David Thoreau, Ilgunas undertook a 3-year transcontinental jour ney, working in Alaska as a tour guide, garbage picker, and night cook to pay off his student loans before hitchhiking home to New York.
Debt-free, Ilgunas then enrolled in a master's program at Duke University, determined not to borrow against his future again. He used the last of his savings to buy himself a used Econoline van and outfitted it as his new dorm. The van, stationed in a campus parking lot, would be more than an adventure--it would be his very own "Walden on Wheels."
Freezing winters, near-discovery by campus police, and the constant challenge of living in a confined space would test Ilgunas's limits and resolve in the two years that fol lowed. What had begun as a simple mission would become an enlightening and life-changing social experiment. "Walden on Wheels "offers a spirited and pointed perspective on the dilemma faced by those who seek an education but who also want to, as Thoreau wrote, "live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780544028838
  • ISBN-10: 054402883X
  • Publisher: New Harvest
  • Publish Date: May 2013
  • Page Count: 296


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Travel > United States - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-02-11
  • Reviewer: Staff

As a member of the class of 2006, Ilgunas graduated from the University of Buffalo K in debt and with one goal: to get rid of it as fast as possible. Reluctant (and unable) to enter the “Career World,” Ilgunas becomes a tour guide at Camp Coldfoot in Alaska, embarking on a years-long journey to eliminate his financial albatross by living on less. He becomes a jack-of-all-trades at a dingy motel, helps clean up the destruction left behind by Hurricane Katrina in Gulfport, Miss., and works as a ranger in the Alaskan wild. Once debt-free, the author attends graduate school at Duke University, where he applies his “simplify, simplify, simplify” rationale by secretly living in a 1994 Econoline van stationed on a university parking lot. There, Ilgunas would “greet each tribulation as a noble challenge and never as an unwanted adversity. Ilgunas’s chronicle of his lifestyle change is initially readable because of the sheer chutzpah involved, but the youthful energy soon turns on itself. The prose is thicker than pancake batter with similes and metaphors, and in the end, the narrative takes on a haughty, self-congratulatory tone. Agent: Peter and Amy Bernstein, Bernstein Literary Agency. (May)

 
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