June 14, 1981, I rolled eight wheels across the border of Spain.

It’s 1981. An American teenager on a self-reliant gap year in Europe can’t bear the idea of going back to his dependent life at home but still lives on the fringe of manhood. His girlfriend is visiting Barcelona in three months, so he decides to meet her by roller-skating across the French Riviera with nothing but a backpack and an engagement ring. Along the journey, he learns hard lessons that being a man is not isolation, and we all need help from others. I was that teenager.

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