Adventure can be adversarial

Olivia Swenson-Hultz, Online Editor

Deciding what you want to do with your life can be a challenge, and school can be consuming during the most formative years of our life. Feeling apathetic about the future, I knew that I needed a change. I was excited for the opportunity to embark on an excursion that involved moving to Denver solo. Regular mountain adventures and the aura of the mountains surrounding the city lights made Denver an appealing location to attempt a new life, and after securing an internship I knew that this would be my home for a while.

After briefly staying with a relative, I decided to try living in a communal household. Communes have always had this strange appeal, and I was sure that my life would not be complete until I lived in one. I was eager to meet some interesting people and experience the Colorado life that I had imagined. Shared tupperware and other convenience items made a commune an extra attractive option for me, a lone traveler.

The walls were covered in paintings of giant suns and other electric imagery. Things took a turn for the worse when people started sandwiching into the commune. Maybe the owner was running short on funds, but nonetheless sleeping in a bedroom surrounded by strange older men can start to become somewhat disconcerting.

What had started off as a pleasant hippie commune, filled with like-minded young people, was starting to feel more like a halfway house. I knew that it was time to transition to the couch, and soon be out of the commune. When my laptop crashed and money became scarce, I could feel myself entering survival mode. After my beloved dog, Mingo, died back home, I reached my breaking point.

I finally managed to scavenge up some money for a train ticket from Union Station, packed up my things and summoned an Uber. The driver was an older woman with a distain for city traffic. Beyond some minor complaining, she seemed like a nice enough person, and I was relieved when she offered to let me run into Union Station to grab a cart to make the transport of my piles of bulky luggage a little easier. I rushed through the station, fighting the crowds to obtain a cart as quickly as possible. Much to my dismay, when I exited the station after about five minutes of hustling for a cart, the Uber driver and all of my stuff was gone. Why had I trusted an unfamiliar Uber driver? When would my haphazard journey come to a halt? I had already missed my train, so I decided to seek legal re enforcement. The officers identified the driver and showed up at her suburban home, only to be told that the woman had just placed my things on the curb. There wasn’t enough evidence to search her car, and I knew that I would be returning to the Midwest empty handed.

The next day I boarded The California Zephyr back to Illinois. The Midwest looked oddly beautiful. I gazed at the desolate fields and watched the sun rise and set. The lights of Chicago shone brighter than I had ever noticed before as the train rolled into the station. I then transferred to a train that would take me to Effingham. As my friend Stevie pulled up in her red Dodge Avenger, I knew that I had enough excitement for a while.

Olivia is a junior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].