the book

The nation’s edge reveal much about its core

A short trailer to launch Borderlands USA, a travel essay & travelogue on the meaning of being American post-9/11


Lately published



When 9/11 struck, Ben Batchelder was living overseas. Dumbfounded, he wondered: How could he help?

After leaving his marriage and cozy corporate career in Brazil, he returns to the U.S. with an outlandish plan: to protect the country by car, driving a silver-plated VW Beetle as close to the remote borders as possible, without getting arrested.

Along the way he gets to know his beloved country again and meets many unheralded borderlanders, whose stories of hard work, patriotism, and perseverance go beyond the usual headlines. Instead, he finds that the nation’s edges reveal much about its core – and in the process comes home to an outsized sense of gratitude.




Praise for Borderlands USA: or, How to Protect the Country by Car


“This is a thoughtful, poetic book filled with droll humor and wry observation.”

– Michael Cannell, author of Incendiary and former editor at The New York Times

“The American highway is rotten with writers – Kerouac, Steinbeck, Henry Miller, William Least Heat-Moon – who have tried to capture the spirit of this immense and perplexing country. Ben Batchelder has joined the illustrious crowd with a book that is entertaining, enlightening, opinionated, frequently funny and always heartfelt.”

– Tom Swick, author of The Joys of Travel  and former Editor, Fort Lauderdale Magazine

“What truly sets this circumnavigation of the continental U.S. apart is Batchelder’s kindness, which exudes through every experience. Readers will benefit not only from a new understanding of the borderlands but also the example of how to negotiate daily life with a benevolent heart. . . . [A] great book with beautiful writing.”

– Lesley S. King, author of King of the Road and All In For Love


To purchase:

Paperback Book


B & W digital version


Color eBook with photos





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