The teenager tells The Sun his decision was spurred on by ambitions to study at college.
British teenager Alex Batty has revealed he lied about the details of his escape to protect his mother and grandfather from police.
In an interview with The Sun, he said he fabricated a story about a four-day journey, hoping it would stop officers from tracking them down.
The teenager was found walking in France six years after going missing.
He said doubts about his mother and grandfather’s nomadic lifestyle began when he was “14 or 15 years old”.
Future ambitions to study at college spurred on his decision to abandon their way of life in the French Pyrenees, he explained.
Back in the care of his grandmother in Oldham, Alex has spoken extensively about his escape and what drove him to leave.
“I’ve been lying to try and protect my mum and grandad but I realise that they’re probably gonna get caught anyway,” he told The Sun.
“I didn’t get lost. I knew exactly where I was going,” he added, describing his journey as a two-day hike, first to the town of Quillan to pretend to ask for directions, then on towards Toulouse.
Alex was picked up by a delivery driver who spotted him on a road in the foothills of the French Pyrenees, near Toulouse in the early hours of a rainy morning.
The driver, French pharmaceutical student Fabien Accidini, said Alex had told him he had been walking in the Pyrenees for four days and four nights, sleeping by day and walking by night to escape being seen.
All he had was €100 in cash, no mobile phone and he was heading for Toulouse, and he fed on anything he could find in fields and gardens, Mr Accidini previously said.
He drove the teenager to Revel, just outside Carcassonne, and left him with local gendarmes who checked his identity and took him to Toulouse before his journey back to the UK was arranged.
Alex’s grandmother, Susan Caruana told the BBC in 2018 that she believed Alex’s mother and grandfather had taken him to live with a spiritual community in Morocco.
She said at the time they were seeking an alternative lifestyle and did not want Alex to go to school.
Melanie and David Batty left Greater Manchester with Alex for a pre-agreed week-long holiday to Marbella in Spain on 30 September 2017.
He was last seen at the Port of Malaga on 8 October that year, the day they were expected to return to the UK.
In his interview with the Sun, Alex said the reunion with his UK family was emotional. Now, the teenager says he has ambitions to go to college – to continue learning French and studying computer science.