In speaking with Songfacts about this song, Elliott Murphy explained, "I was thinking about the sudden death of my bass player Laurent Pardo, and I was thinking about being an American exile in Europe, and I was thinking about a new pair of boots I had just bought."
In regards to being an "American exile in Europe" and "it's a long walk home when you got no roots," Murphy's referring to the unique path of his own career. Born on Long Island, New York, he hit the American scene with a big splash but saw his fortunes dry up quickly.
Murphy ended up finding his way to a sustainable professional music career in France. He's been given national awards and has a strong following there, but still feels like a castaway sometimes.