North Oconee High School alumna Emily Dobberstein knew that her journey to self-discovery and healing would not be easy. At 20 years old, she embarked on a month-long, cross-country road trip, living out of her car or a tent in towns she spontaneously chose. 

Now, Dobberstein has channeled her raw and heartfelt experiences into a book titled “The Courage to Go: A Memoir of the Seven Thousand Miles That Healed Me.” 

“I had no idea who I was, what I believed, where I was going, or when I would come back,” she wrote in her book. “But I was going, and that was all that mattered.”

The book is available in print and digital formats through her website,emilydobberstein.com and via Amazon. 

After Dobberstein graduated from NOHS in 2013, she moved to Boone, North Carolina, to attend Appalachian State University. Following her sophomore year of college, she began the interstate trek during the first week of July 2015. 

However, Dobberstein did not start out intending to write a memoir, as she initially enjoyed writing as just a hobby. At the end of her trip, she was encouraged by a family member to start publicly writing about her travels and musings, and after starting a blog, others motivated her in the following years to write a full-length book. 

The narrative efforts were a big break from what Dobberstein had been pursuing as a self-described “science and math nerd.” 

She was a straight-A student in high school and an avid athlete. She maintained her high marks in college while holding down three different jobs in order to financially support herself. The busy schedule left her with little time to process different relational and religious-based traumas she had experienced over the years. 

 “I didn’t have time to look at the things going on inside of me,” she said “I knew I needed to change something... I knew I needed to leave as a first step.” 

For more on this story, see the Nov. 12 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 


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