Book review: Interstate: Hitchhiking Through the State of a Nation by Julian Sayarer

Julian Sayarer sets off the to New York to film a documentary and finally hit it big but when he arrives he finds the project cancelled. Despondent and almost out of money he decides to hitchhike across the country to San Francisco. With no route in mind, no real reason to end up in San Francisco he sets off just as the weather is turning in New York.

Although undoubtedly a travel book this book delves much deeper into the psyche of the communities he meets along the way. He finds the US in a much worse state than he expected. Homelessness is rife and many of the people who pick him up are blue collar workers whose jobs have left the US for Mexico or China.

I read this book during the US presidential elections that Donald Trump won. It gave a good insight into the how Trump was able to engage with the very people who are most in need and who ultimately voted for him. Sayarer’s political views are definitely a long way to the left of Donald Trump and he argues his point effectively through his experiences during his travels.

It took him a little over three weeks to plot a course from New York, through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California. On the whole he travelled by hitchhiking but on a couple of occasions he resorted to bus, paying for a lift and even jumping a freight train. It makes for an interesting read and is well worth the time especially for anyone who has lived, worked or travelled in the US.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the US, its politics and its people.