By Michael Amado 

Pratt, Kansas. Growing up as an Arizona native, I never experienced life in the Midwest, let alone travel farther than New Mexico. This new school year I got the great experience of traveling 1,100 miles from Arizona by myself. This was the second time I traveled to Kansas, as my father and I traded shifts of driving the first time we ventured here. The photo above is powerful in my eyes because of that experience. I was in the middle of highway 54 on a Friday morning at 7:20, but, due to the rain clouds in the east, the sun took a little longer to shine. I had been driving for 4 hours after leaving in the middle of the night from my hotel in Albuquerque. The drive ended up being a total of 27 hours and I only filled my gas tank five different times for the whole trip. I went through ten Gatorades, two packs of gum, six bottles of water, a bag of jolly ranchers, and I lost count of the amount of coffee I drank. I managed to finish the 4,000 songs I have downloaded to my phone and listened to Joe Rogan’s podcasts and stand-ups. Besides the refreshments and calories, I was also gaining a new experience of being alone and stranded if anything were to happen. 

The picture represents more than my drive to Kansas. It represents the long drive to anything I want to achieve in life. To put the picture into perspective, this road leads to a place where I will finish my education, but from this view it seems endless. Much like the center of the image, the road to knowledge is never ending. Each road looks the same as you drive, but the landscapes change as you progress. Much like life, scenes change for everyone. Traveling this far alone was an experience I am grateful for. With this experience in mind, at the end of the year, I am traveling through Colorado and Utah back to Arizona. The ride may take longer, but seeing the Rocky Mountains will make it worth all the extra miles. 

“Not until we are lost, do we begin to understand ourselves” -Henry David Thoreau

Michael Amado is a senior at the University of Saint Mary, who plans to graduate in December with a degree in Digital Communications.