I am breaking this post up over the course of several posts/days because I know exactly how short y'all's attention spans are. I don't want to bore you by absolutely flooding you with Vegas posts, but I had the absolute most fun ever and I want to share it.
If you would like to read the entire thing, uninterrupted, I am working on creating a page up top with the entire, unabridged version. In the meantime, sit tight and enjoy the ride!
Part I: INTRODUCTION
I guess in literature they would call this part the prologue. And, hell, this post ended up being so long that it could probably count as literature. I'm not saying it's quality literature, but, you get the gist.
Las Vegas. Where do I even start? I could start with my ridiculous adventure with actually getting to Sin City, but that would set the wrong tone for the rest of the trip. (Don't get me wrong, I will tell it – it was definitely one of those “you'll laugh about this later” situations.).
I mentioned in my “airport post” that I was very nervous when I woke up that morning... and I was. Mostly it was an excited nervous, but some of it was, well, fear. Despite everything, sometimes I regress to the point where I feel like a small town Iowa girl, and I'm afraid I'll get outed as such. I was so afraid I wouldn't be cool enough, wouldn't be able to keep up. I was afraid of going to a strange city. I even managed to be afraid of traveling by myself, even though I felt like I had mastered it already. I don't even remember what else I was afraid of, but knowing the way my mind works, it was probably a trainwreck of absurdity going on inside my head.
I was afraid of not knowing what to expect.
I fell in love with this city as soon as I arrived. Over the next few days, I found Las Vegas to be my absolutely perfect getaway city. I felt strangely comfortable from the very first time I set foot on the strip (which, being from here, I'm always a bit anxious about navigating a new city, because ours are nothing in comparison. I'm also afraid I'll be so obviously out of place. But not here. Everything was so out of place that it all fit perfectly.)
I love everything about it. I love the ridiculousness and the randomness and the excess. I love the glitter and the lights. I love how everything is intertwined and close together on the strip. I love that we wandered around and not once did I not feel safe. (I did NOT love how expensive everything is, but I guess anywhere I go will be more expensive than the middle of Iowa, so... I won't hold a grudge.) I love the sounds of the casinos and the people-watching.
Most of all? I love the people that I was there with.
The whole experience was just surreal. Meeting all of these awesome people was just the beginning, but when set to the backdrop of the beautiful chaos of Las Vegas? It felt like I was wandering around in a dream for four days. Now that I'm home, I miss it already. I think Vegas has wormed its way into my cold little heart. Which means I better start saving some cash because I will be so beyond sad if I can't make it again in 2012. I know I had talked myself into this on the grounds of it being a “once in a lifetime” experience... but I can't do that. I have to go back. I can't even explain why... I think if you were there, you'd understand.
Like Nicole put it, "Bloggers in Sin City is kind of like Fight Club in that the magic doesn’t translate when you try to describe it to someone who has never participated."
As I finish up this post, a few days later, I still have this strange feeling of having left my heart behind. It's weird, because I'm not one to easily give my heart away. It's under lock and key in a heavy-duty security system that even Danny Ocean would have a hard time breaking into. [YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? VEGAS? Yeah, I know. I'm sorry.]
But I broke off little pieces and offered them up as souvenirs. I let myself be immersed so completely in the experience that I lost myself a little bit. I'm starting to feel a fresh new wave of insecurities and doubts come over me - I still feel a little bit on the fringe, in a way. Maybe I didn't engage myself enough. Maybe I hid behind my camera too much. Maybe I was too absorbed in the lights and sounds to really pay attention. Maybe I didn't let my guard down enough. Maybe I was shy when I meant to be outgoing. Maybe they didn't really like me that much after all, but they're too damn polite to push me out of the circle. Maybe I'm just kidding myself. Maybe it feels like it's too good to be true.
But I digress. (And this is why I don't usually allow myself to edit posts once I've written them.)
This fear of not being accepted stems from the fact that I so very much fell in love with everyone on that trip. The handful of days that we were there was not enough. I can't even pretend that I got home, stretched, and said, "well, it was fun, but it's good to be home."
Because I would have rather stayed a little bit longer. Done a little bit more. Dove a little further into the experience.
I suppose that is what next year is for...
To be continued...