The papers collected in this volume were presented at a conference on "The Journey of Life" which took place at Paderborn University in October 2013. They focus on a perennially recurring archetype of the human imagination which, for obvious reasons, is especially influential in the U.S. The articles offer exemplary insights into the manifestations and functions of the 'journey of life' concept in both American life and literature. Some contributions deal with 'real' journeys ranging from the westward travels of pioneer women physicians in the nineteenth century through Jack London's 'journeys of life' to the attempts at tinkering with the human journey of life in the age of biotechnology. Other contributions present a taxonomy of journey types in American fiction, and they analyze literary journeys from the omnipresent journeys in Thomas Pynchon's novels and the post-apocalyptic journey in Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' through the journey plot in Robert Kirkman's serial comic 'The Walking Dead' and the various kinds of journeys in Western films to the journeys of initiation in Sherman Alexie's 'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian' and José Antonio Villarréal's 'Pocho'.