Two weeks ago I wasn't even thinking about Vegas. Then all of a sudden, a week ago, I find myself getting ready to head out on a "shotgun" trip to Vegas, as my brother and I like to call them.
I did all the usual Vegas things you do. Wander the strip, shop, gamble, eat, drink. Wait, no I didn't. I didn't do anything I might usually do in Vegas.
I went to opening night of the Wrangler National Rodeo Finals. Spent 4 HOURS at Cowboy Christmas. 4 hours! That's as much shopping as i might do in 3 months! I am very proud of myself because I did not buy one thing. Except for a 1/4 lb. of sweet, roasted pralines because I was starving.
I helped celebrate my niece's 21st birthday with her friend and her mom, my best friend. For me this was less about going to Vegas and more about being with my best friend of more than 30 years. We also managed to fulfill one of her bucket list items, to see Reba in concert. And if you have to ask "who's Reba?" well, shame on you. She and Brooks & Dunn have a residency at Caesar's Palace. Nothing like deciding to go to a show last minute.
My mom used to say things like "you may never pass this way again" and "sometimes you gotta jump the fence". Pretty appropriate for a rodeo-themed vacation. We took the proverbial "bull by the horns" and got ourselves to that show Friday night.
None of these things would I have ever done on a trip I planned to Vegas. But you know what? It was awesome. I was sad when the rodeo ended that night. We criss-crossed the strip with so many Lyft drivers they all start to blend in my head and we shared some simple moments of time with some pretty cool people.
And I remember how much I love traveling. Every. Single. Bit. Of. It. Traveling shakes the rust off, puts one in uncomfortable places and forces you to learn new things and interact with people you might never have met otherwise. I talked to some incredible vendors at Cowboy Christmas. Sat inches away from strangers on the plane rides. Rediscovered my love for Brooks & Dunn and nearly cried when Reba sang "Just Like Them Horses".
I am so very grateful for the time spent with my best friend, my niece and one of her best friends. We talked late into the night, squeezed into tight backseats and traipsed from one end of the exhibition hall to another. I don't know how it happened that I ended up there, but some angels must have been working overtime.
When I was thinking about whether I should go or not, rearrange my work schedule and put in a six-day work week to make it happen, I lay in bed thinking "if I was dying, would I go?" the answer was a resounding YES!!! Would that I could frame all my decisions in that light. Wait. I can!
And on the plane ride home, I sat and scribbled notes for not one but two more future books. One inspired by my very favorite Brooks & Dunn song "Red Dirt Road" and another idea I have been kicking around for 10 years or more. Not to mention a plan to finish my first book and get that draft completed and move on from there. A plan to shrink the things in my life that are of little value, and to enlarge those that are. For me, that is writing.
I can't tell you everything that happened in Vegas because after all, you know how the saying goes. "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas". But I'm sure thinking about the next time I can go. Take the opportunity to travel every chance you get. For me, it is not a luxury, it is a lifeline.