St Helens man following $10 note round America

Steve Boggan with the ten dollar note
Steve Boggan with the ten dollar note

WE’ve all met folk who seem to spend most of their time chasing money...

Now meet Steve Boggan, who’s taken the pursuit of hard cash to its most literal form - by spending a month following a ten dollar note as it winds its way across America.

Steve, a former journalist with the St Helens Reporter, has now documented his capital adventures in a book, suitably entitled Follow the Money.

Starting in the geographical dead centre of America, a town call Lebanon in Kansas, the premise was simple: Steve would purchase an item with his $10, then ask the dollar’s new owner if he could hang around until it the person decided to spend the money.

“I discovered another side to America in doing this,” said Steve, who grew up in Blackbrook but now lives in London.

“Because I spent a lot of time covering events in America in Washington and New York, I had a certain impression of the place.

“But in the heartlands of America, people are so different. You find real warmth and hospitality there which made this journey possible.”

Steve attended West Park Grammar School before landing at job the Reporter, eventually becoming freelance journalist.

He undertook a prototype journey for a feature in the Guardian, spending a week following a fiver round Britain but his US trip was far grander affair.

Starting in Kansas, his journey took him some 3,300 miles, stopping off in Hot Spring, St Louis, Chicago, before finishing in Detroit.

“What I found when I got on Lebanon in Kansas was a tiny place with 218 people living there,” he explained.

“There were no hotels but there were these hunting lodges which I rented out, and that’s what I spent the first $10 on.”

It seems almost incomprehensible in today’s hyper-fast, insular world that anyone would let a perfect stranger tag along with them for days on end on the seemingly flimsy basis that they were ‘following a $10 note for a book I’m writing’.

Steve, however, was somehow able to convince the trusting folk of Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Mchigan to join his madcap adventure.

“What I discovered was that America is a different country to the one you think it is,” he said.

Even before Follow the Money’s publication, the book attracted interest from TV and film companies and a film version is currently in post-production.

And despite insisting he’d never repeat his epic journey, he’s incredibly proud of the end product.

He added: “It sounds like a gimmick but it’s not a gimmick. It’s a really great vehicle for meeting people and getting to to know their lives.”

l Follow the Money is out now, published by Union Books.