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

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


10 thoughts on “Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom

  1. Jody Jody says:

    It's not often that a book changes your whole outlook on life Reading Walden on Wheels was a transformative experience for me I no longer have any desire for material things or for career success Instead my main goal in life is to find Ken Ilgunas and punch him in the frigging faceOk I'm not actually going to hunt down Ken Ilgunas and beat him up But God how I want toI have disliked or hated many books but I usually try to separate my feelings about the book from the author himself Especially when I see the author is here on goodreads I try to be mindful of not saying anything mean about the actual author even if I think their writing is a steaming pile of poo But Ken Ilgunas was so critical so dismissive so condescending about every other person he describes in his book that I feel like 1 He started it and 2 I'm sure he won't care what I think since he can just shove me into one of his buckets of scorn that he uses to categorize every other person in the worldLet me back up for a minute The description of this memoir was intriguing to me Guy graduates with lots of student loans and lives in a van to pay them off Actually he'd already paid them off by the time he got the van and lived there so he wouldn't incur debt in grad school but whatever I thought I was going to like this guy I'm a big fan of education and frugality and I like to read about people escaping poverty or working their way back from bad decisions So I thought I would like Ken Ilgunas Oh how I was wrong It is not often that someone can simultaneously remind me of a whiny French Renaissance writer moaning about ennui and a current day misogynistic Men's Rights Movement advocate but Ken manages to do it Bravo KenKen sees himself as superior to EVERYONE His coworkers at Home Depot are mindless drones; his coworkers in Alaska are a bunch of alcoholicaddict losers; his coworkers in New Orleans are a bunch of immature fornicators; his parents are wage slaves; his fellow students are sellouts; women are hysterical andor teasesHe makes pronouncements to his parents about how he loves them but he can't support their lifestyle choices of being wage slaves While he stays with them for a few months for free After accepting multiple loans from his mom He talks about how he helped his coworkers in New Orleans like how he wouldn't drive someone to the hospital to get his prescription for antidepressants refilled because he should learn to live without numbing himself 'Cause you know this guy is way ualified to come up with a treatment plan for depression than oh I don't know a DOCTORKen prides himself on living this independent wandering life and scorns everyone who is tied down while simultaneously using them for whatever benefit he can I'm not talking about bartering like can I help you repair your car in exchange for a ride or I'll clean your house in exchange for a place to stay But this simultaneous scorn and mooching Ugh how pedestrian to have an apartment I couldn't be tied down like that because my soul needs to be free Speaking of free can I stay with you for a week for free? I paraphraseIlgunas has a distinctive writing style At first I almost enjoyed it he was certainly descriptive if prone to flights of fancy But after a while it was simile overload I'd hear the word like and dread the upcoming over the top comparison that was sure to follow One favorite when he was describing the crappy condition of the dorms at a camp in Alaska he said how they would make Holocaust survivors think back on happier times ReallyOverall this book reads like Ken congratulating himself on how superior and whimsical he is It gets old fastKen is playing with poverty It's a self indulgent self congratulatory experiment


  2. Meghan Gaynor Meghan Gaynor says:

    I wanted to like this book because I admire minimalist and naturalist lifestyles and Ken has an interesting story to tell That said I grew frustrated with his condescension toward consumer culture reliance on stereotypes and countless references to his own moral superiority The characters in this book based on his real life loved ones were painfully two dimensional there only to illustrate and reinforce Ken's superior way of life and enlightened character On a positive note and to Ken's credit Thoreau's Walden is now near the top of my summer reading list


  3. Carmen Carmen says:

    My goal was simple and straightforward get the fuck out of debt as fast as humanly possibleThis book was excellent Ilgunas is funny and also asks some very important uestions about life and civilization He works tons of odd jobs to work off his 32000 debt for undergrad and later lives in a van at Duke while getting his Master's This is a funny thought provoking book I love reading about people who are roughing it and while this wasn't exactly Wild From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail it was pretty good That being saidWhat you thought I was going to give something five stars and not criticize it? Well that could happen But not hereI sometimes found Ilgunas to be insufferable This didn't happen often he had a great sense of humor and this offset a lot of the I don't want to say preachiness Look Ilgunas has a strong message and a strong belief in a certain way of living I really admire his way of living I admire the voluntary poverty ascetic debt free lifestyle that he is advocating But at times I just wanted to tell him to shove it This only happened about 3 times in the book though so it wasn't really a problem It mostly cropped up when I felt he was looking down at other people Fat people for one thing Actual poor people living in no choice poverty for another He hates the suburbs with a fiery passion I haven't seen since Stephen King And he's very condescending to people who don't share his values I don't feel like this is heavy or even overt but there were times I was cringing at Ilgunas's perhaps unintentional judgmental attitude Overall this is an amazing worthwhile read that I would recommend to EVERY AMERICAN And any non American who had an interest in it What Ilgunas has to say about debt and our college system is wonderful and thought provoking In the modern day and age it's becoming increasingly unclear what a college degree is really worth 32000? I highly recommend this book it's not a slog he'll have you turning the pages like no one's business When your life is all toil and hardship the things that matter and the bullshit that doesn't become easy to separatePS I know it's none of my business but I was dying to know if he was practicing safe sex Due to a main plot point view spoilerwhen his girlfriend Sami tells him she's pregnant and he loses his shit acting as if he's just been given a death sentence hide spoiler


  4. Michael Michael says:

    Dylan asked How Does it Feel? This guy tried to find the answer I came looking for a story about a guy in the van down by the river thanks NYT and LAT but am enjoying getting there the long wayThe key they say to a good memoir is honesty and this one pulls few punches though it looks like the author has a girlfriend he thanks in the Acknowledgements though she does not appear in the story I like how he visited Thoreau's Walden Pond and found that even that author had taken artistic liberties with the concept of living freeI think Ilgunas is an adventurer in the tradition of Thor Heyerdahl or Edmund HillaryI think a lot of this writing about living debt free is all well and good but there is little exploration of debt as a promise and how Ilgunas constructed a life of not only minimal debt but minimal promises to others The rejection of the values of his upbringing is really the core conflict of the book not so much the rejection of debt or even the whole van thing Perhaps with maturity will come a future book to reconcile who he is with who he wishes to become this is not that bookIsn't it a little childish to want to be completely independent? Isn't that the child's refrain I can do it MYSELF Every man is an island unto himself of course until he needs to see a doctor Isn't life incalculably richer when you embrace family establish a community? We see here a ton of rejection of everything from a parent to a girlfriend to an academic community with very little self awareness to tie it all togetherWhere is Marcus Aurelius or even James Stockdale? Don't the Stoics and their philosophy have something to offer a guy living a monastic solitary lifestyle?I don't mind much that this book offers uestions than answers There is enough self understanding here to justify the adventureI find struggle for self awareness here than in the solo around the world sailing books such as those by Slocum Tania Aebi Moitessier I think Wind Sand and Stars by Saint Ex will continue to be a compelling exercise in solitary travel writingI am looking forward to a second book by IlgunasBTW Whoever decided to make this Kindle edition 399 had the right idea While I think it's ironic that a book about living a nearly free life should cost any money at all I can spare 4 to take a journey of self discovery from Alaska to Mississippi from New York to North Carolina


  5. Happyreader Happyreader says:

    This is a book about panic Kid mindlessly plays video games through his teens mindless about school and other interests Mindlessly follows his friend to a second rate overpriced private college just because Didn’t really like or pay attention to school Doesn’t think about work beyond working at the local Home Depot Finally appreciates college after transferring to a cheaper local school and then panics when he realizes that he’s 32000 in debt and he has no job prospects And why should he? He had nothing to offer a potential employerOne smart decision he makes is to follow his dream of travelling up to Alaska being one with nature learning to live frugally and slowly paying off his debt Love that and loved Jack the subsistence farmer Also loved his Voyageur tripDid not love the kid though He’s condescending to everyone – the poor people who pick him up hitchhiking his fellow Alaskans all women who are likely fat or skanky or suicidal bulimic ex girlfriend or shrill his mother rich people homeless people black people and anyone who successfully becomes gainfully employed He's not malicious socially immature Except for a handful of high school friends he doesn’t really connect on a deep level with anyone When he’s living in his van in the Duke parking lot he starts to seem so tight with a buck anti materialistic and anti social you almost assume he’s writing his Unibomber manifesto The freedom he keeps ranting about sounds like refusal to commit to any purpose or peopleHe’s not secure enough to own up to his own ambition and berates anyone who has ambitions beyond living in the wild It’s his poor opinion of his fellow Coldfoot Alaska bunkmates that prompts him to think about improving his lot through grad school but once in grad school he looks down upon his fellow Duke students who want to do than commit to just hiking the PCTBy the end he has an inkling that he should have of a purpose but he has no idea what that is For all his talk about the value of education his best motivator seemed to be getting away from his debt It woke him up To what I have no idea


  6. Joseph Joseph says:

    I can agree with many of the ideas that drive this book college has become far too expensive; life has become far too materialistic; education is still worth whatever we pay for it as long as it is education; for profit university's are parasites; and the harshness of the wilderness is not experienced enough by enough people I even love the main thrust of the book live on as little as possible; be as free as possible Ilgunas tapped into many of my own experiences with education with living on less and with the wild Given the truth behind all I mention above along with the climate of higher education today particularly the political climate surrounding higher education generally this book represents an excellent way of looking at so many things differently For that I think the book deserves four starsI give the book three stars primarily because of how cynical I've become towards certain stereotypes that Ilgunas sometimes fits Ilgunas has a fantastic story to tell but he tells it in such a self centered way sometimes his message sometimes gets lost He implies throughout the book that society is by and large depraved particularly conservative minded individuals and vastly ignorant than he and those who think like him are Even where I agreed with some of his diagnoses I found it difficult to endure his condescension and self centerednessThat doesn't mean you shouldn't read his book Indeed I'm guessing that most of my issues came from my cynicism and that most people would find his self flattery endurable


  7. Carrie Lahain Carrie Lahain says:

    I was really looking forward to reading this book I have been a proponent of the Voluntary Simplicity movement since the early 1990s when I happened upon a book called YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE by Vicky Robin and Joe Dominguez Through the years I have learned firsthand how frugality can ransom that most limited of commodities TIME I also have personal experience of the burden of student loan debt how poor or thoughtless choices at eighteen can haunt a person for decades So when I heard about Ken Ilgunas' efforts to escape debt and suffer a little now in return for a peaceful life forever after I was ready to jump right on boardToo bad Ilgunas' head is such an unpleasant place to spend timeSure it might have something to do with his age that he considers working for Home Depot soul crushing than cleaning toilets in an Alaskan motel The myth of Rugged Individualism and all that He's from western New York which these days is apparently a wasteland of suburban tract housing populated by husks of humanity cut off from nature and doomed by their demand for warm homes and cable television Even the mighty Niagara Falls fail to move him Forget for a moment that the state of New York is home to vast amounts of farmland and the Catskill and the Adirondack mountain ranges perhaps that doesn't mean much in comparison to the wilds of the northern frontier Hey who wouldn't like to walk on a glacier or watch caribou galloping along the tundra? My uarrel with Ilgunas besides his uestionable moral code in which a co worker who beats his girlfriend until blood seeps from her ear or pours water over dogs sleeping outside in below freezing temperatures is treated with compassion than a horny truck driver who eats too many fried foods is his tendency to indulge in childish tantrums that blame society for his own choice to fritter away his teensearly twenties playing video games and emailing pornDoes the author have some amazing stories to tell about his time in the wilderness? Absolutely Does he show us some hard truths about the day to day struggles of this country's working poor? Yes Is he correct about the damage excessive student debt can do to the individual and to society? Definitely But apparently these life transforming experiences and insights which comprise 95% of the book are not important enough to provide its marketing hook Instead Ilgunas critic of modern consumer culture allowed his publisher to focus on the 5% of the book that has to do with his time actually living in his vanI know people will ask what's wrong with capitalizing on the current hot topic of student debt and that perennial best seller Thoreau's WALDEN especially if it helps another young person avoid financial trouble? Normally nothing But once you've read through Ilgunas' repeated tirades against capitalism and those of us who have chosen to make some peace with the world we live in even if that world has had the bad manners to continue progressing past 1850 you'll find a problem with not getting the book he advertisedI suppose if one person reads this book and limits the amount of student loan debt he accumulates it's worth the cover price But it really is just another tale of adolescent rebellion screeched at ear splitting volume If this was 1990 Ilgunas would have backpacked through Europe on five bucks a day joined a kibbutz and then come home to get his MBA


  8. Steve Lane Steve Lane says:

    After Chapter 11 all I could see of this guy was his bad habit of putting down the lives of those that he reached out to for help along the way He's against going into debt or having a boring life and career in order to buy things like houses and cars then turns around and bums rides and rooms from the very people he is being critical of He touts the naturalist lifestyle then reaches out for advice from a van living guru that just happens to pee in a can and dump it at stop lights as part of his solution to cheap livingThe hypocrisy continues from Chapter 11 on and tarnishes the whole idea of the book for me I mean you want to live the free and non conformist life pointing fingers at everyone else for working for corporations all while your mom sends your college loan payments in for you loans you money for some of your travels and you hitchhike from people that bought into using fossil fuels and making payments Then to top it all off you decide to write a book and utilize much of the system you are critical of I guess the book would work well for those that feel guilty about buying into the system and envy the guy on the side of the road with the cardboard sign I'm too much of a capitalist to buy into this whining drivel


  9. Denise Denise says:

    I debated giving the book 2 stars because I actually liked the book and the main character for the first third of the book or so It made me a little sympathetic to the millennial generation coming out of college faced with debt Not because I think their situation is really so much different than earlier generations I know very few of my peers who graduated college without debt or who immediately found jobs in their fields But it did remind me that it's a scary time for anyone and that I too was in a hurry to pay off that debt Now well I have a much healthier relationship with money though I'm guessing the author would not agree So back to my 1 star review About halfway through the book maybe less the book turned from being a story of a few years of youthful adventure and finding one's self to being a platform for self indulgent ramblings The writer turned preachy and shamefully judgmental for someone who previously railed against his parents and friends who he felt judged him for his life choices He's just hard to like and lacks any self awareness I finished reading the book only because I wanted to be sure my bad review was justified I wanted to like this book and the author but was disappointed by both


  10. Dominic Tiberio Dominic Tiberio says:

    Vapid That sums up the entire book in a single word Walden on Wheels is a complete letdown in almost every respect 90% fluff and whining and 10% life and the most interesting aspects of Ken's life are either glossed over or skipped entirely 34 of the way through the book and you just begin to get to the van aspect What you have is an eye into the mind and world of the current generation and it is pitiful at best Not because of the world around them holding them back but because of how vapid and banal their existence is by choice and deed Ken breaks free a bit of this but never truly becomes free His trips to Alaska are no Into the Wild instead he just works non stop to pay off his debt irrationally which is what you will read about on every page his voyageur trip is a BS pretend trip headed by a motivational speaker and his grand stand against debt and college is to then go back to college for a self admitted useless degree For all of his bluster and pseudo intellectualism and insight Ken never actually achieves anything except to prove that he can write a book that tries to sound important than it is sort of exactly like Walden which he seems to have some distaste for despite in all reality his accomplishment of pretty much the same result Terrible


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Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom [Reading] ➾ Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom Author Ken Ilgunas – Centrumpowypadkowe.co.uk In this memoir Ken Ilgunas lays bare the existential terror of graduating from the University of Buffalo with 32000 of student debt Ilgunas set himself an ambitious mission get out of debt as uickly a In Wheels: On the Open PDF/EPUB or this memoir Ken Ilgunas lays bare Wheels: On PDF/EPUB å the existential terror of graduating from the University of Buffalo with of student debt Ilgunas set himself an ambitious Walden on PDF/EPUB or mission get out of debt as uickly as possible Inspired by the frugality and philosophy of Henry David Thoreau Ilgunas undertook a year transcontinental journey working in on Wheels: On PDF/EPUB ì Alaska as a tour guide garbage picker and night cook to pay off his student loans before hitchhiking home to New YorkDebt free Ilgunas then enrolled in a on Wheels: On the Open Kindle - 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 than an adventure—it would be his very own Walden on WheelsFreezing 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.

  • Paperback
  • 297 pages
  • Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom
  • Ken Ilgunas
  • English
  • 23 July 2014
  • 9780544028838

About the Author: Ken Ilgunas

Ken Wheels: On the Open PDF/EPUB or Ilgunas was born in Ontario and Wheels: On PDF/EPUB å raised in Wheatfield a small town in western New York where his family still lives At the moment he's either Walden on PDF/EPUB or tending a friend's garden in Stokes County North Carolina or traveling cross country in his van.