Author Pens Tales Reminiscing from the Road   7 comments


April 25, 2012

By Ryan Bonham


Eat your heart out, Jack Kerouac.

Self-professed hitchhiker Tim Shey, whose traveling path often passes through Lake County, published his second book earlier this year, a work filled with tales reflecting his experiences in hitchhiking across the country over the past 16 years.

Shey, who often works as a laborer for friends living in the Cedarville/Surprise Valley area of northeastern California, said his travels have taken him far and wide through the years.  His first trip to Lakeview occurred in 2004 while hitchhiking from Cedarville, Calif., to Washington state.

His newest book is entitled “The First Time I Rode a Freight Train,” and features stories inspired by his many years traveling a solo journey in and around the United States, in which he proselytized his Christian faith.

Born and raised in Iowa, Shey graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in English literature in 1995.  He published some of his short stories on the online blog, as well as the Ethos (italics), a publication of the University of Iowa’s journalism department.

After finishing college, Shey worked full time in lumber yard until 1996, when he considered, applied for and did not get accepted into law school.  The allure of the open road came about that year, Shey said.

“I’d say I’ve been hitchhiking 80 percent of the last 16 years,” he said.  “I’m a Christian, and I’m hitchhiking by faith.”

Shey said that he’s putting each and every day’s provisions into his faith in God, and writes about his experiences and encounters from this travels.

He published his first collection of reflections from the road, “High Plains Drifter: A Hitchhiking Journey Across America,” in 2008, which traced his travels from earlier journeys of 1986-87 as well as those spanning 1996-99.

“You see a lot of nice country, but mostly it’s the people you meet (that leaves an impression),” Shey said.

Shey acknowledged the social stigma associated with hitchhiking, particularly in the United States, but he said he mostly faced occasional warnings by Johnny Law and recalled mostly positive interactions; sometimes they even helped him get to his next destination, he said.

“If you’re not causing any trouble, they’ll cut you some slack,” he said.

Shey said that the first book was put together within 10 days*, but his newest effort is the culmination of two years of work.

Lake County Examiner [Lakeview, Oregon]

Copyright 2012 Lake County Examiner

[Corrections:  I received a BA from Iowa State University, not the University of Iowa.  It is, not  Ethos is published by the Journalism Dept at Iowa State University.]

* I wrote 200 pages in longhand in 10 days.

The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories
A Short Hitchhiking Trip


7 responses to “Author Pens Tales Reminiscing from the Road

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  1. Wow! Huge Congrats Tim. So happy they printed this… Wonderful testimony you’ve got here. God bless brother.

  2. Thanks, Randy. I just discovered today that the article was published a week ago. I have always enjoyed hitchhiking through Lakeview, Oregon.

  3. Tim that’s a great article! A lawyer! Say it aint so! Good thing that didn’t pan out! LOL
    God bless!

  4. Sarah: Yeah, at one time I had thought of becoming a lawyer. I took my LSATs (which was the toughest test I have ever taken), applied to three law schools, but was never accepted. When you are not sure on what you are supposed to do, you go ahead with it until you run into a brick wall. I thought I wanted to specialize in Constitutional Law; I don’t think I would have made a very good lawyer–though, I do enjoy watching lawyer films like “The Pelican Brief”.

    Years ago someone told me that my problem was that I was too much of a poet and that I was too honest. How many wandering poets are lawyers? Probably not too many.

    Since the publication of this article in the Lake County Examiner was unplanned (most of my life is unplanned), I am guessing the Lord is going to use it for something. I am still amazed that I met that lady in the barbershop in Lakeview who had read my book. The Lord is full of surprises.

  5. Tim, I really like your profile photo of the road ahead going into the unknown. I think you wouldn’t have lasted as a lawyer very long. You’re much too honest. I’m not saying there aren’t good, honest Christian lawyers around where God has placed them in special key assignments, but the vast majority of them have sold out. God certainly had plans for you outside of the court room. Praise God. Also, interesting the author mentions Jack Kerouac… Eat your heart out? That’s a great honor Tim because I note he’s a famous writer and poet who definitely sought adventure through the eyes of a renegade. Unfortunately, that’s where you and Jack Kerouac part ways because it appears he may not have had Jesus at the helm of his life. It looks like he died a very lonely, ugly death of alcoholism. Your mission is all Jesus, Amen. Praise God.

  6. Thanks, Randy. I read “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac back in 1980; I thought it was a very original piece of writing.

    About the lawyer thing. I thought that since I had a degree in English Literature, that I should do something with it–like law school, because I sure didn’t want to teach. As an English major, you write a lot of papers. Well, I am still writing, I am using my degree everywhere I go.

  7. Pingback: A Short Hitchhiking Trip « The Road

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