Trace Alice Across the Western USA

Hello everyone,

My name is Zach Burke ( ) and I'd like to ask for your help in completing my novel, Another Alice, by following my protagonist's path across the western United States. 

At present, I'm an ocean and a continent away from making this a reality. 

But first things first. Here's Alice's setup: 

The estranged protagonist, Alice, returns to her childhood home after intentionally missing her father's funeral.

Upon arrival, three things become clear:
1) Her mother has sold the house – and moved away – without warning. 
2) The only clue Alice has to find her mother is an ominous message with the word "West." 
3) "West" is a terrible clue to have to try and expand upon.

Complicating the mystery is Alice's knowledge of her own past lives – from head-cracking viking to grave-robbing painter – which haunt more than help, making the past more real for Alice than her collapsing present.

For a more detailed plot, as well as excerpts, check here: 

Unfortunately, as this donation page might suggest, Alice's path poses a huge problem for me.

You see, I've never even so much as glimpsed the western U.S.

Because I've already written the Nebraska segment of the book, southeast Nebraska will act purely as a launchpad. This gives me two weeks to follow Alice's trail, which goes: 

Laramie, Wyoming
Salt Lake City, Utah
Las Vegas, Nevada
Death Valley, California
Eureka, California
Lincoln City, Oregon
Salem, Oregon

As I'm currently living overseas to complete my graduate degree at the University of Oxford, the biggest expense simply comes in getting back home (Kansas City, Missouri). 

By necessity, I'll have to book both the flight and the car rental very, very soon. With the anticipated flight taking place in late March and returning in Late April, I'll need to purchase tickets and pin down my car rental within the next two weeks to keep prices down and inside a window that adheres to my academic schedule. This means that although the trip itself takes place in March and April, I should have everything secured by February 10th, 2015. 

However, this can be done (relatively) cheaply. By skipping over more likely ports of departure like London,  the best deal I've found so far comes courtesy of Manchester, clocking in at $673, round trip

Next comes the car. Having looked around, and arranged a ride up to Lincoln, NE, I can pick up a car (including insurance and a non-round-trip dropoff) for 15 days for $654

Having used to calculate the cost of gas with the expected make and model I'm renting, it looks like I'll need about $300 to make it there. 

Because the dropoff would be across the country, it makes sense to fly home (and save money on both the rental and gas). Happily, I've managed to find a flight for $100 from Portland, OR to Kansas City, MO.

So, from here, it's all a matter of the everday, meaning food and the occasional campsite to shower. By renting an SUV with adequate space in the back, I don't need to worry about proper accomodation, and will use campsites as a space to clean up. 

By being smart about cooking/eating-out cheaply, I should be able to pull the trip off at around $200 for food. 

With campsites every 2-3 days or so, and booking in advance, I should be able to squeeze in accommodation for about $100. 

So lets round up the trip while we add it up: 

Flight - $673 (say 700)
Car Rental - $654 (say 700)
Gas - $300
Flight Back to KC - $100
Food - $200
Campsites - $100
Total: $2,100 

As I have some money saved up, and am moving out of my apartment in Germany to make this trip possible, I can cut off some right away, which is why I'd like to ask for $1,800 by mid-February to make this a reality. Of course, anything exceeding this amount will go towards making it a bigger and better trip. 

I know it's a big ask, and I wouldn't put it forward if I didn't think it would make all the difference to the writing. With a big reading to prospective agents and publishers in Oxford in July, this is the kick Another Alice needs to take its early momentum to the next level.

As the project develops, I'll be updating this page (and my own website, ) with blog posts, pictures, and some Google Maps imagery to include as many people as possible in this experience. It would be a real privilege to take on a journey like this, and even better to share it with as many people as I can. 

And when it comes down to it, it wouldn't be possible without your help. 


I can't say thank you enough for taking the time to hear me out, and I'd greatly appreciate if you would share, retweet, repost, and pass the page along among friends, family, or strangers you think look kindhearted. Word of mouth can be just as valuable as a donation.


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Zach Burke 
Independence, MO
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