My Gap Year - Reinterpreted by Charlie Clark


It’s 1971, a pivotal year in anti-Vietnam war politics, youth culture, and music. Thousands of American youth are “turning on, tuning in and dropping out,” leaving school to backpack around Europe. My Gap Year — Reinterpreted is an experimental rewrite of a diary that journalist-author Charlie Clark produced at age 18 during a nine-month hitchhiking tour of nine countries of Europe and North Africa. More than a travelogue, the essay is personal and reflective, taking advantage of a 68-year-old’s wisdom (ha!) and insight into his younger self during a time of change. Self-deprecating humor intertwines with intimate confessions about friendship, learning and personal growth in the context of a young person struggling with the decision not to go to college. Along for the ride come instructive cultural details and unique adventures in the old countries.