Had I gone looking for some particular place rather than any place, I’d have never found this spring under the sycamores. Since leaving home, I felt for the first time at rest. Sitting full in the moment, I practiced on the god-awful difficulty of just paying attention. It’s a contention of my father’s—believing as he does that anyone who misses the journey misses about all he’s going to get—that people become what they pay attention to. Our observations and curiosity, they make and remake us.
—William Least Heat-Moon
Blue Highways has to be one of the most profound literary travelogues I’ve ever read. It’s almost 20 years old now, but his portraits of America — its people and its geographies — remain unequaled and in the process he gives of himself. For all you Kerouac fans, you might have a new hero for an author, or at least one who you can relate to in a whole new way.