When I look back on my year of writing, my travels have helped me through the difficult times. Whether it was world building in Disney, the writer’s life in the Colorado Rockies, walking among dinosaurs in Philadelphia or writing in restaurants across New York City; I managed to find motivation in unlikely places. With the conclusion of my first year right around the corner, and in need of motivation, I decided to take one last trip. This time, I packed my bags and headed to the most unlikely place (I could think of) to find motivation – Las Vegas.
Thanks to CSI, Cops and the Ocean’s movies, Las Vegas was never on my “must-travel” list. The idea of being tossed in a Las Vegas jail, dying in a strange manner or starring in a bad remake never appealed to me. After some very convincing arguments – New York low 40s, Las Vegas low 80s – I decided to take the risk in exchange for a few warm and sunny days.
To my surprise, Las Vegas was far from the crime-ridden, dirty, tourist trap I had pictured in my head. It was, in fact, a moderately clean and friendly tourist trap. The city had plenty of things to do; from gambling to shows to shopping, eating and (most important) drinking – anytime and anywhere. It was as if I had taken a plane to adult Disney! Best of all, there were hardly any children!
Creativity is Everywhere in Las Vegas
I thought my week was going to consist of eating and drinking in smoke-filled casinos, but I was wrong. I spent my time exploring the Las Vegas Strip, visiting a container park in Old Las Vegas, taking in my first Cirque Du Soleil show and eating at some of the most interesting restaurants – including one where diners ate in complete darkness.
The city not only provided plenty of walking opportunities (over 30,000 steps in a day!), but also a very helpful lesson – anything is possible. The lesson came at a crucial time when, after months of being unable to write, I questioned the direction of my journey/life. Though feelings of doubt had crept in before, it seemed impossible to silence them over the past two months. Walking around Las Vegas and seeing the results of persistence and creativity, was just the motivation I needed. From the intricately-designed hotels with their indoor gardens, hourly displays and beautiful shops to the unique performances and one-of-kind dining experiences – creativity was everywhere.
I also took the time to explore outside of Las Vegas. Never one to pass up exercise, I hiked the Red Rocks Canyon National Park, explored the inner-workings of the Hoover Dam and tested my fear of heights at the Grand Canyon. The experiences provided enough Vitamin D and adrenaline to boot any remnants of doubt right out of me.
Just when I thought I couldn’t squeeze any more out of my trip, I took in one last show; which ignited a creative fire under my ass. The show, simply title “Baz”, featured a mash up of three titles from director Baz Luhrmann – Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby. I was drawn to the show for several reasons – my fascination with The Great Gatsby, the creativity behind mashing up the stories and, it was located in the theater at my hotel.
From the moment I arrived, I knew it was going to be great. Not only did the bar serve “Gatsby-themed” drinks but, right in the center of the stage, stood a single desk with a typewriter (Moulin Rouge). I made a half-ass attempt to take a photo sitting at the desk, however, the show began by the time I mustered the courage to do so. The show itself was a fun, energetic and interactive (as the stage weaved into the audience) mix of some of the best parts of all three titles. Though I was unfamiliar with Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet, the way the stories intertwined was nothing short of amazing. It was the perfect way to end my week being immersed in creativity.
My First Year of Writing Grade
On the extremely rough plane ride back, I reflected on my first year of writing – it was easy since my life was flashing before my eyes anyway (thanks, United). Though I won’t go into specifics, I concluded my “freshman” year of writing was a success. Sure, there were days (months) when the writing stalled, or when things didn’t go right, but that is all part of learning. If this was school, I’d give myself a B+ for the year…and that’s okay.
Thankfully, the plane ride from hell managed to bring me back to New York alive. Inspired by my Las Vegas trip, I can now look forward to my second year of writing and creating. It’s going to be very exciting.