The Journey

4:05 AM Nina S. Gooden 0 Comments

70 days ago I hadn’t had a driver’s license, let alone a car. I was living in sunny Las Vegas with my Taylor-bear and cooking for two. I had no plans on leaving. In fact, I was setting up for my next semester, still trying to decide what I was going to major in (for real, this time).


It strikes me as odd when I look at my calendar and realize how little time it takes to make a dramatic change. 54 days ago, I hopped into my brand new Subaru, the laminate on my new license still warm. In typical Nina fashion I was determined to make the drive from Vegas to Akron, OH in two days.

“It’s just a little more than 30 hours,” I said. “I can do 15 each day.”

When my family members told me I was crazy, I calmly responded with a number of variations of the same answer. “I spend 15 hours a day sitting at my desk. How hard could it be to sit and drive for the same amount of time?” 

Two words: Colorado. Mountains.

With the exception of Germany when I was four or five, I’ve lived in the South my entire life. Now, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t seen snow. Of course I’ve seen snow. But I’ve never seen snow like this. Snow that seemed bent on running you off the road, or worse, into the hazy red lights blinking in front of you. You know, the ones connected to an 18-wheeler. It didn’t help that, being brand new, my car’s tires were acting wonky. I ended up on the side of a winding mountain road, sobbing into my phone. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I called my dad and he calmed me down, assured me that the “low tire pressure” light on my dash didn’t mean that my engine would spontaneously combust.

I managed to believe him, but it was a close flippin’ call.

It took me four days to make the trip, for which I am eternally grateful. I tend to be a creature of Pride. I love the spirit of competition, even when I’m competing against common sense. Luckily, my sense of wicked pride vanished in the face of abject terror. I call that a win.

The scary drive notwithstanding, I had a great time. I love to travel, love hotels and seeing different towns. I met some cool people and some shady ones. My dad and MIL forced me to take pictures at every rest stop I visited…to prove that I was stopping.


I took pictures of everything (as you can see). From mountains dusted with fog…to stand-still traffic. I took pictures of my hotel rooms and windmills. I took pictures of my ridiculously expensive toll stubs. It was a great adventure, one I am glad that I went on. But I do hope that the next time I make a road trip like that, I take someone along with me.

58 days ago, I officially moved to Ohio. I rented an apartment I’d never seen (though I thoroughly checked it out first –I’m not crazy!) and moved to a town I had scarcely been to. It’s all so terrifying when I lay it out like that. Terrifying…and exhilarating. Welcome to life, Nina S. Gooden. Welcome.