A captivating memoir of living on the streets along California’s Highway 1, for fans of Mistakes to Run With and Nearly Normal.
At twenty-one, Ceilidh Michelle spent a year homeless and drifting through countercultural communities along California’s coast, from Venice Beach to Slab City to Big Sur. This restless and turbulent year began when she was sleeping on her sister’s couch in Vancouver and decided to become a yoga disciple in California. Denied entry at the US border in Washington state, and stuck overnight in the Greyhound station, her already shaky pilgrimage began to take another direction, away from the inward sanctuary of an ashram and toward the sea and light and noise of Venice Beach, and eventually up Highway 1 to the desert.
Having spent much of her youth outrunning family turmoil, the peripatetic lifestyle once key to Michelle’s survival is now a habit she can’t or won’t break—unless it breaks her first. Sleeping in parking lots, camping out in abandoned beach cottages and mansions, she finds community, easy and fraught, with fellow travellers: musicians, veterans, ex-cons, addicts, drug dealers, artists and con artists. Still, dreams and fleeting notions of home fuel and shadow every encounter, haunting the places she stays, offering moments of both grace and violence.
Told with deadpan humour and insightful lyricism, Vagabond is an observant and at times shimmering narrative suspended between a traumatic past and an as yet unimagined future. Coursing through it is the story of an emergent writer just beginning to find sanctuary in her own creative instincts.