A father gone missing and his daughter’s exploration of what family really means.

When Maria Luisa Tucker's father disappeared into a 3-million-acre forest, everyone had a different idea about what had happened to him. Maybe he ran off with another woman. Maybe he was on a spontaneous camping adventure. Or maybe he had walked into the woods to die.


In each episode of The Search, a 5-part podcast series, Tucker investigates one of these leads. Along the way, she explores what it means to be a family.

The Search Episode 1: The Walkabout / Self-Reliance

It's 2006 and Maria Luisa Tucker gets the call that her dad has disappeared into a vast Arizona forest. She pushes pause on her life to go look for him, initially assuming he's on an extended solo camping trip that he just didn't tell anyone about—including his wife and children. 

More than a decade later, Tucker questions why that idea seemed plausible and realizes that she was raised to value independence above family connection. She talks to both her mother and anthropologist Meredith Small, who has written about American parents' focus on raising kids to be independent.  


Read the full transcript.