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Freedom on the Highway Paperback – July 25, 2012
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About the Author
Johnny Anderson was born in a cement jungle in the south eastern part of the U.K. Raised in one of the older tenant houses that was built around the early part of the twentieth century, the building held more than old plaster, bricks and mortar. Entities from a time long gone lingered within its walls and were playmates of Johnny’s for the first few years of his life.
Raised as an only child with parents who’d separated only a few years after marriage, Johnny’s reality was divided by two very different worlds. On one hand you had a life which was pretty mundane while attending school and living with his mom during the week. Yet on the other came the weekends where kids from a whole neighborhood would come out to play. Johnny’s father would take as many children as he could and squeeze them into his old compact car. Then he'd drive the youngsters to parks and other places of leisure, where he’d interact with them and play games.
This difference in upbringing, set the foundation for a personality that was patient, reserved, understanding yet balanced, which was needed years later for the thousands of miles that Johnny hitchhiked around the earth.
Leaving the U.K. at the age of twenty, Johnny spent the majority of the next 10 years hitchhiking. The ground that he covered ranged from a few small countries in Europe to the expanses of Canada, Oz and the U.S. But it wasn’t the miles under his belt that gave him the drive to put the blue ink onto paper and compile this tale.
The reason why he spent two decades in doing just that; was the simple fact that in all the years that he was on the road, he’d left Mother England, knowing hardly anyone. Even his first residence in Holland ended up being a complete disaster when he got there.
So with the above in mind, never once while hitchhiking did Johnny ever ask to stay at someone’s home or hint that he was homeless and was, for almost a decade while he was on the road.
Yet in all those years of hitchhiking he never once paid to stay in or had the luxury of sleeping in a hotel or a motel. Aside the handful of times that he paid to stay at a backpackers in Australia and one evening at a youth hostel in Germany; this wandering soul slept rough just eight times in all those years. Nearly all of his accommodation came from the very people who picked him up hitchhiking. That’s a remarkable triumph unto itself! This is a very unique story and one that had to be told.
Top customer reviews
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As you read his hitch hiking adventures, it feels like you are actually with him. The book starts with his precious family and hometown where he went through a challenging phase as a young man, which I can relate to. He is definitely an honest and humble person when he encounters difficult people as he travels to various places.
I am amazed that people extended their hospitalities. It gives me hope for humanity. His heart is full of appreciation and gratefulness to all the people's kindness which they extend to him during his travels and he makes several long lasting friends. Having lived in the northwest of the United States, I enjoyed his description of the the cities and countryside in detail. I recommend adding this book to your reading list.
The sheer courage needed to risk everything, would stop most people from even thinking of striking forth on such a grand adventure. Truly the adventure of many lifetimes!!
As the journey unfolds, the reader’s thoughts are drawn to the role of Destiny, Coincidence, and the infinite possibilities of how the course of an entire life can be changed by seemingly insignificant decisions or random acts of timing . Go left or right? Miss a bus? Catch a ride in a Cadillac? Everything downstream now changes forever, yet it all seems destined somehow.
Journey with Johnny as he sets aside the comforts and trappings of every-day life, to boldly face the great unknown with only his wits and his pack, and to experience true freedom with all of its highs and lows, dangers and rewards, from Down Under to the Orient. One can only imagine how truly alive a person can feel when faced with the very real danger of being eaten by a bear, or asking to be let out of a nice warm car in the pitch black heart of a vast continent just to see the sun rise over the Devi’s Marbles. For most, the vicarious experiences of this book might be as close as they ever come to understanding what it means to be truly adventurous. To walk the wire without a safety net. To risk life itself in order to be truly alive.
The chapters in Australia and New Zealand really came alive for me, as did Johnny's chapters on his early life in England.
I met Johnny in the mid-ninetys in Humboldt county, California, and we reconnected this summer (2017). His perspective is so unique. Freedom on the Highway is a ripping yarn and a meditative contemplation on human nature at the same time! Hard to put it down. Fun for those of us who have lived in the areas he's traveled through but equally engaging for the reader who has traveled anywhere else or longs to do so.
I'd love to see this book turned into a movie... Thanks Johnny!
Kate K (Portland OR)