Outlander star Sam Heughan is a seasoned actor and author—he’s released two books since 2020. But the 42-year-old is particularly excited to publish his first memoir, Waypoints: My Scottish Journey, which details his solo backpacking trip across Scotland’s West Highland Way and reflects on his personal life.
Heughan has spent the last few weeks promoting the book, and in a couple of recent interviews, he teased the raw, and often emotional stories readers will find inside— including that of his upbringing without a father.
“I always thought I never wanted to be like him, never have a family, never leave a family like he did,” he said at a New York launch event with the non-profit 92nd St. Y, per SheKnows. He elaborated in an October 18 interview with WBUR public radio’s Here & Now.
“It’s been a really interesting journey and I guess what is the most interesting part was to know that he’s had an influence in my life without even being there,” he explained. “I am the man today because of his absence, I guess. But also, there are other characteristics I think I’ve got that definitely he had as well. Having said that, you know, I had an amazing upbringing and obviously a wonderful, very caring mother. So I feel very fortunate.”
The book also details what Heughan called a “mild case” of an eating disorder. “I think way back when I was starting out [acting], there were a lot of pressures to look a certain way,” he told WBUR. “And they were less talked about for men. And certainly, as a young actor—impressionable—I was trying to fit into what was required.”
That adversity is what eventually inspired his own charity organization, My Peak Challenge, which inspires others to live a healthy lifestyle, and has raised money for a range of causes from hunger relief to cancer research.
And of course, Waypoints wouldn’t be a memoir without dipping into the start of Heughan’s career. “Looking back at the years I spent going to America auditioning for things and I had, in a way, been left at the door,” he said. “I was traveling around Los Angeles by bus. It was difficult. But, look, I guess we all have our own struggles.”
As for the book-spawning Scottish trek itself, Heughan documented that, too, and admitted to “descending into insanity” by way of isolation. He told WBUR that he found himself reciting Romeo and Juliet and talking to the forest floor’s mushrooms.
“I struggled. I almost gave up,” he told WBUR. “I found myself lost on the side of Loch Lomond in the dark. And it wasn’t until I really sort of slowed down and enjoyed the journey that I began to appreciate the trail itself.”
You can read more about Heughan’s intense journey and the rest of his life in Waypoints, which releases October 25 and is available for pre-order now.