Walden on Wheels

CD - unabridged
Audio (8 discs)
Product Number: BN3532
Released: May 14, 2013
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781469282916
Narrator/s: Nick Podehl
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
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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 journey, 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 followed. 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."

Professional reviews

"After graduating from college with a liberal arts degree and $32,000 of student debt, Ken Ilgunas worked for several years at low-wage jobs. Adamant that he would never go into debt again, even if it meant forgoing the comforts many Americans take for granted, he made the decision to live in his van while pursuing a master's degree at Duke University, using Henry David Thoreau as his model for eschewing societal conventions. Narrator Nick Podehl reflects the earnestness of Ilgunas, who is critical of society's focus on acquisition and living beyond one's means. While capturing Ilgunas's idealism and belief in his endeavor, Podehl sounds perhaps a bit less contemplative than one would expect of someone like Ilgunas, who spent a great deal of time on his own. Nonetheless, Podehl is effective as a narrator as he communicates Ilgunas's message of the freedom of living without debt. S.E.G. (c) AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine"

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