In some respects, Brent's epic journey across the United States in Whirligig is a continuation of the itinerant lifestyle he's already been leading. Brent's father works for a car-rental company, and his job involves moving around a lot. Before moving to the suburbs of Chicago where he now lives, Brent and his family lived in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to that, they lived in Connecticut.
It's interesting that these locations are so far apart from each other—Midwest, South, and New England respectively. They foreshadow the huge distances that Brent must travel as part of his unique punishment for killing a young woman while driving under the influence. On his journey, he will need to construct whirligigs at all four corners of mainland America: Maine, Washington State, Florida, and California.