From the New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Walk West comes Barbara Jenkins's long-awaited tale of her walk across America, an adventure that once captured the national media spotlight. From the untold narrative of her impoverished hillbilly upbringing, to the crushing aftermath of her walk toward newfound courage and strength, So Long as It's Wild is her story.
As a child growing up in the wild beauty of the Ozarks, Barbara often spent her days exploring outside and daydreaming of faraway places to escape the realities of poverty. She longed to trade her homemade clothes and outdoor toilet for spectacular adventures around the world. That chance came in the form of a young wild-eyed, long-haired “viking” man named Peter.
After an exciting courtship and a wedding on a dime, the young couple departed on foot from New Orleans on July 5, 1976, heading toward the Pacific Coast. News of the couple’s expedition spread like wildfire, landing them on the cover of National Geographic Magazine and countless other publications. Soon after beginning their nearly three-year journey, Barbara realized the funny, adventure-seeking, charismatic man she married was not the loving partner she thought. Despite this realization, she continued the difficult journey, and whether she faced aggressive renegades, a life-threatening fall from Engineer Pass, or a devastating heartbreak that caused her to feel lost and alone, Jenkins pushed through it all with grit and determination.