It takes me four and a half hours. And then another four and a half a few days later. It’s two hundred eighty-three and one-third miles. They go by and then come back. It’s just a little over three-fourths of a tank of gas. And then three-fourths just a short while later. So far, the miles have added up to just over seven thousand and the hours just over one hundred. It takes a lot to make it from my home to Chadron. To do it, I’ve spent a lot of my time, money, and sanity. It’s four and a half hours of solitude — my radio’s scan button is well worn from the many hours I’ve spent with my index finger hovering over it, hoping to find a trace of civilization, even if it is just the crushing noise of static.
This past weekend, about halfway through my journey, between the middle of nowhere and the beginning of someplace, I realized that my trip was similar to my life. My collegiate journey will (keep your fingers crossed) take me four and a half years. And through these years I’ve felt as if I’ve constantly been driving on Highway 16. It’s a highway full of sudden steep hills, drop offs, and unexpected turns. Sometimes I cruise along easily, other times my tires slow down without my brake pedal’s permission. I have a destination. I have a set place that I can envision very clearly, almost as if it really is just a few blocks down the road. But I know it’s not. It’s a four and a half hour journey, and each time I fear it won’t ever end. But just like that, the miles slip away and I’m done. I’m home. It’s a four and a half year voyage, and I can’t way to be done. I can’t wait to be home.