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So Long as It's Wild: Standing Strong After My Famous Walk Across America

So Long as It's Wild: Standing Strong After My Famous Walk Across America

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From the New York Times bestselling co-author of The Walk West comes Barbara Jenkins' long-awaited tale, revealing the story of her walk across America, a journey that captured the national media spotlight. From the untold narrative of her impoverished Ozarks hillbilly upbringing, to the crushing aftermath of the walk and her journey 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 in order to escape a life 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 wild-eyed, long-haired “viking” young 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 in 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, but she was well down the rocky path to the Oregon coast by his side. Whether facing aggressive renegades, a life-threatening fall from Engineer Pass, or a devastating heartbreak that caused her to feel lost and alone, she did it all with grit and determination. 

Despite the newfound fame and the bestsellers she coauthored, The Walk West and The Road Unseen, Barbara’s side of the story of that infamous walk was left in the shadows. In her own words, she said of that time, “We appeared on magazine covers, were guests on radio and television programs and appeared in newspapers everywhere. International fame and good fortune followed until it evaporated into a trail of heartbreak, a thousand deaths, and my disappearance.” Now Jenkins is telling the rest of the story, sharing her perspective on what took place from the bayous of Louisiana to the Pacific Ocean, and beyond.

With lyrical, transportive prose, So Long as It’s Wild: Standing Strong After My Famous Walk Across America is one woman’s tale, stepping out from the mountain of the man she had followed, to find her voice and claim her story. 

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