In the summer of 1944, the year before the year I fell in love, I hitchhiked from Pennsylvania to Seattle by way of Chicago and Yellowstone National Park; from Seattle down the coast to San Francisco; and from there by way of Barstow and Needles via boxcar, thumb, and bus through the Southwest back home to the old farm, three months later. I started out with twenty dollars in my pocket and a piece of advice, cryptic I'd say, from my old man: "Don't let anybody take you for a punk." I didn't know what he meant. I was seventeen: wise, brown, ugly, shy, poetical; a bold, stupid, sun-dazzled kid, out to see the country before giving his life in the war against Japan. A kind of hero, by God! Terrified but willing.
- From The Journey Home by Edward Abbey