Monday, April 20, 2015

My First Solo Trip to Las Vegas

"You're the only person I know who goes to Vegas with plans to do all this other stuff besides the casinos," said my brother as I rattled on about what I was gonna do once I got to Las Vegas.

Don't get me wrong; give me a chunk of money and a hot streak and I'll gamble the night away and roll around naked in my winnings in the morning. I wanna be a whale; flying into McCarran International Airport on a private jet, driven to my villa and eat meals prepared by a personal chef.

But I can't resist the call of the other side. What's down that block? What's down that hole? What happened here 40 years ago?

So off I went to Las Vegas, camera in tow. Yes, I did The Strip and didn't care if I looked like the biggest tourist dork gazing upward most of the time and taking landmark selfies (1, 2, 3, 4). But I also had plans to walk along desert roads, experience the Las Vegas art scene, drink where the locals drink and channel my inner Danny Ocean.

What seemed to shock people the most was that I went alone. One casino rep who was signing people up for a promotion asked me when my husband would be joining me. Even on the way home, the guy stuck in the middle seat next to me chalked up my visiting Las Vegas alone to me being "from New York". More than once when I went to a restaurant and told them it was just me, they'd ask "Just you?" as though I'd made a mistake, Ma'am, I'm 100% sure that it's just me. I have been told that there are spirits that travel with me but they don't need to be seated at the table with me. Being solo did score me a free meal one evening with a Vegas local. I ate lots of meat and listened to his stories. Dinner was his treat and we went our separate ways.

Not once while I was in Las Vegas did I feel lonely. Being alone doesn't bother me. And to be able to sit in the sun and eat one of the best salads I've ever had (Thank you to The Perch!) and look out at mountains I wanted to reach out and touch was a much needed mental and emotional health break. The second morning I was there I woke up to the rustling of palm trees by my hotel room window and did an hour of yoga in the nude.

Las Vegas being pedestrian-friendly meant I was able to walk to my heart's content. I was so comfortable that I ended up giving directions to another woman - solo traveler from Japan - to an Off The Strip location. She wasn't sure if she was on the right bus or what stop to get off. I'm a native New Yorker, so you put me in a town with public transportation and I'll be fine. There were places I had on my To-See list but that didn't stop me from taking detours. There are places I'd been in Vegas that locals didn't even know. Can't help but smile at that!

I didn't get to every place on my list but I will be back in December of this year. I will have a book signing at The Writer's Block! I'm excited for that. I visited the shop while I was there and met with one of the owners. The trip in December will be business but I'll be sure to fit in some vacation pleasure!

If you'd like to view the rest of the photographs I took of Fabulous Las Vegas, visit Abigail Ekue Photography. I'd love to know what you think!

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