In this first installment of a planned two-part memoir, Rapoport details his journeys hitchhiking across America, sailing in the Bahamas and working in the Honduras after dropping out of grad school.
In 2010, 23-year-old Rapoport told his parents he was dropping out of his Boston grad school, where he studied Chinese medicine, so he could “be a vagabond and travel the planet by any means necessary.” Hitting the road from hometown Virginia Beach, he traveled west with only a backpack, $700 and a cellphone. He met up with other “road kids,” did dumpster diving, ate and stayed in homeless shelters, etc. He connected with many strangers and various friends en route, then arrived in the Los Angeles area. There, he met a con man who convinced him to buy bikes for them to travel to San Diego for boating jobs. The man ditched him close to that city, which Rapoport saw as karma for not returning an extra $98 in change received earlier in his travels. He eventually got his wished-for boating gig with a man named Randal, bringing an investor’s sailboat from Florida to the Caribbean. Randal was older and hard-drinking, with a warrant out for assault, but he knew his stuff, and the men largely got along. After the boat’s mast collapsed near San Salvador, the duo shifted to working for a parasailing operation in the Honduras, where Rapoport celebrated his 24th birthday and this first installment ends. Debut author Rapoport certainly lived out a Beat fantasy, and this travelogue offers a fascinating peek into the various offbeat characters and subcultures to be found in life on the road. Admirably, he doesn’t hide his material advantages, being up front about the times that friends and family provided some assistance. Rapoport’s table of contents, which organizes 47 chapters within three sections (hitchhiking, Florida/Bahamas, Honduras), is a helpful road map in tracking his extensive journeys. While his account is rather lengthy, Rapoport still creates suspense for the next installment, given his intriguing hints about upcoming spiritual experiences and a possible reconciliation with the girlfriend he left behind in Boston.
Honest, colorful account of free-wheeling adventures and self-exploration.