The Road Ahead

To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of stepping out to write The Rucksack Letters, I recently released it in paperback for the first time in 5 years. As I stated in the revamped Preface, meeting Aaron Heidemann and talking with him about his American Dream or Bust project made me want to revisit the American Dream I set out to chase and see how well I’ve manifested what I was looking for. All things considered, I’d have to say that the journey I embarked upon, although fraught with many pitfalls, has been a huge success.

Although I’ve wavered between the roles of poet, prophet, fool, and sage, and though my life situation has delivered me through both the highest highs and the lowest lows, I have truly appreciated, and continue to appreciate, every step of the journey. And that, I believe, is what a successful endeavor consists of. As long as you can reach the end a better person than when you began, and you can be grateful for the moments which helped carve you into this new creation, none of your efforts have been in vain.

When I set out to write The Rucksack Letters, I had visions of where my travels would take me. And with every endeavor since, I have dreamed of the outcomes I desired. One thing I have noticed is that, when my imagination finally crosses over into the physical dimension, where space and time converge  again, it takes on properties that are so subtle, and at the same time so much more vast than I’ve imagined, that it can only be described as surreal. I am still sorting out the particulars of all that I have collected in my rucksack over the last decade, but I can say with a very satisfying grin that the journey before me looks incredibly promising for myself and for my community.


Steve McAllister describes himself as a Renaissance Man. An author, filmmaker, songwriter, and perpetual artistic experimenter, he has recently re-released his second book The Rucksack Letters into paperback to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the journey. A journey of ink and soul, the book recounts his year and a half trek through 26 states, exploring the underbelly of America in order to better know himself. A pivotal first step for a generation in search of a new direction, The Rucksack Letters is available now.


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