You know the guy. He’s in your hostel dorm, shirtless, wearing a pair of Hawaiian-patterned board shorts, and he’s telling anyone and everyone he can’t wait to get “back on the road”. What “the road” refers to is an ever-changing enigma, meaning anything from an unspecified spiritual place where profound soul-searching happens and existential crises are explored and resolved, to a straight line of tarmac backed up with three miles of traffic.
Before his trans-continental hitchhiking adventure from London to Beijing by way of Patagonia, “the road” is anywhere outside of his parents’ house in middle England. He thinks he’s Kerouac because he has no plans, has done no research, and says he literally wants to be carried by the breeze. When you tell him Patagonia is in no way on the route between London and Beijing, he says “whatever dude, it’s not about the places I go. It’s about the people I meet. You just don’t get it.”
Once he’s left home, things invariably fall apart for the Wannabe Kerouac. After a few successful, easy hitchhikes through Central Europe, he ends up in Belarus. Here nobody wants to give him a ride. Day turns to night, his stomach is empty, and he curls up by the side of a road, sucking his thumb and missing his PlayStation.
If the wannabe Kerouac survives these dark nights and you find him in a hostel somewhere in Asia, he’ll probably be telling everyone about the time he slept by the side of the road in Russia in winter (because he has to exaggerate now, of course) and how it was totally worthwhile to discover things about himself and was actually glad it happened. He might even believe it himself.
Favorite book/movie/TV show: On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Because obviously.