Ten hours after leaving Jacksonville, I arrived here in Ft. Benning, GA, the endpoint of this epic journey across the country and through my own persona. It has been a truly life-changing experience, one that will define me for some time to come. It has been an intensely personal journey filled with epic adventures. I'm not sure that I will ever forget this trip as long as I live and beyond.
The entire trip spanned 5,017 miles over 23 days, with about 72 hours worth of driving. I drove from Provo to Vegas, LA, the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Oklahoma City, Jefferson City, St. Louis, Lewisburg, NYC, DC, VA Beach, Jacksonville, and then to Ft. Benning. Just writing the name of each stop conjures up a slue of memories and lessons learned. There was something I found out about myself at each stop, and each city taught me something new about life in general. Many of those lessons you can find in my earlier posts, and some are just for me. It's been fun chronicling these adventures, and if you've been following along, I hope you've gotten a sense of how great life is and can be. You don't need to drive across the country though. You just have to live, wherever you are.
But now I begin the Infantry Basic Officer Course, something I expect to be no less defining and life-changing. I've already completed the first week of in-processing, and I have 15 more weeks to go until graduation. Three days after graduation comes Ranger School - a grueling two months of nonstop tests of endurance and willpower. Granted that I don't fail or get hurt, I will graduate Ranger School on 11-11-11. Sounds ominous. After that comes Airborne School, a three week training course for jumping out of perfectly good airplanes (been there, done that). Depending on which unit I am assigned to in Alaska (one is an airborne unit, the other a Stryker unit), I will have a couple other schools - some of my choosing, such as Air Assault. After 7-12 months from getting here to Ft. Benning, I will be off to my first duty station somewhere in Alaska. Shortly thereafter I expect to be deployed, as one unit is currently in Afghanistan and the other set to deploy within the year.
I have no doubt that this is supposed to be the next phase of my life. The next three years (at least) are supposed to be in this uniform doing this job. I'll do my turn, give back to my country, and then see what life has in store next for me.
Until then, I return you to your regularly scheduled programming of Linguistic Ju-Jitsu, random thoughts of randomness, and sudden bouts of inspiration. I plan to write more than I did pre-trip, and I plan to follow the upcoming election as closely as time permits. Maybe I can actually put a Political Science degree to good use.
We'll see about that.
And with that, friends, I bid you adieu.