The Reality Behind the Dream of Total Freedom

The Reality Behind the Dream of Total Freedom
AP Photo/Outpost Films and Saboteur Media, Tim Hetherington

A walking trip with friends reveals the deeply American appeal of independence—and the truth about how much we need one another.

A few years ago, three friends and I walked from D.C. to Philly to Pittsburgh along the railroad lines. We’d all been in a certain amount of combat and wanted to zero out our lives for a while, sleeping under bridges and cooking over fires and drinking from creeks. We walked 400 miles, and most nights we were the only people who knew where we were. There are many definitions of freedom, but surely that’s one of them.

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