Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Ira Sukrungruang M.F.A.

Committee Member

John Henry Fleming Ph.D.

Committee Member

Karen Brown Gonzalez Ph.D.


Creative, Hawaii, Homeless, Nonfiction, Story, True


Just after midnight on a chilly April night in 2005, the author finds himself homeless in Hawaii, searching for a place to sleep. The account that follows is the true story of a young man's misadventures on the road as he attempts to reconcile his wanderlust with a need for order and security. This work of creative nonfiction reconstructs the first half of the summer the narrator spent wandering Hawaii. Specifically, this section concentrates on the author's experiences on the island of Oahu. There, the narrator, who constantly changes his name, is stuck at a crossroads; he is torn between his desires for the woman and the life he left in Texas and his need for exploration. At first he drifts along the road eating beef jerky sandwiches, ducking beer bottles flung at him by locals, and camping illegally in public parks. Eventually he finds work and belonging at a new age surf shop on the North Shore, but this stagnant environment only reinforces his desire to wander. After nearly drowning in a surfing accident and being threatened by the owner of the board he destroys, the narrator returns to the road where he has encounters with a military man, Mormons, fellow transients, the police, and a chicken fighter who tries to seduce him. Eventually he leaves Oahu for the island of Kauai. There he finds hope and friendship among the bohemians living communally on organic farms. However, his resolve to live a freewheeling lifestyle is ultimately tested one night by a band of drug runners who confront him on a deserted beach. This master's thesis celebrates the tradition of the great American road story. While the narrator retraces the footsteps of many who have set out on the open road, his personal account and voice reflect the modern values and cultural forces that lead many of his generation to wander America in search of something more.