Student ends up at home after ‘roam’

Sarah McKenzie

After hitchhiking across the country for more than two weeks, University freshman Kathryn Sidwell decided to head back home to Manhattan, Kansas on Monday.
Sidwell, 19, had no idea that while she was out touring the nation, University Police and housing officials had been conducting an investigation into her disappearance. She said she never thought to call home.
“I just didn’t think about that,” Sidwell said.
The student said she caught rides with truckers during her travels.
According to University Police reports, Centennial Hall Director Laurie Jeroslow reported her missing to the police on April 26.
University Police Sgt. Jo Anne Benson said the parents of Sidwell, a food science major, notified University Police of her return Tuesday morning.
During the last leg of her journey, Sidwell said she nearly got caught in the devastating storm that caused enormous destruction in Oklahoma City. She had left the city an hour before several tornadoes ripped through the state.
“It was very intense,” Sidwell said. “We were chased by the storm all the way home.”
During her cross-country trek, Sidwell said she made stops in nine states including Oregon, Utah and New Mexico. She said she felt compelled to travel on her own.
Sidwell said she left her room at Centennial Hall on April 19 with a shoulder bag packed with clothes and books. She had left a note in her room indicating plans “to go out on a roam.”
She also brought along $100 in cash, but only used $20 for food during her travels. Sidwell said she usually slept in the cabs of the trucks during the journey, and spent one night at a trucker’s home with his family.
Sidwell’s father flew to Minneapolis on April 27 to help investigators with the search. Sidwell said her parents did not seem upset about her travels, and were very relieved that she was finally home.
“My parents were very glad to see me,” Sidwell said, who has no plans to return to the University. “College wasn’t quite right for me.”
Sidwell said she found life as a student rather difficult. She met few friends during her time on campus, she said. In the meantime, she said she will stay home and maybe work on writing a book.