Inside some inside jokes

I have a way with reckless abandonment. My friend recently made the comment that some people have vagabond blood in their DNA but I am completely comprised of it. It’s not the first time, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time, in my life that an unrooted word would be used in order to describe me. There are many names that I go by; hippy, hybrid, nomad, anomaly, vagabond, wanderer, hurricane, adventurer, cageless-bird…. The list rattles on but they all verify my true weightless identity. I definitely identify with a semper gumby (always flexible) mentality.

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Recently a friend of mine needed to go to Utah for some personal matters. The second I heard it come out of her mouth I knew I would have to attend. I had never been to Utah as an adult. I had heard a lot about it and the very mention of it gave me an itch to mark it off my list. Within hours our tickets were booked and the decision was made.

Shortly after deciding that we would indeed make this trip together a friend was over at the house visiting and it would appear has the same travel urgency that I have. He heard about the childless trip and the palpable joy swept the room as he declared he was coming. There are moments in life that become snap shots. Stills of your existence if you will. Moments when you evaluate the second as it is ticking by you and are overwhelmed with the certainty of your positions. This was one of those moments. I have surrounded myself with incredible people that are very much like me. Me, the identified anomaly has similar people in my vortex. I could not have been any happier than I was in that very moment!

It’s no surprise that a week AFTER booking our tickets, while discussing our different routes of entry into Utah, when my friend suggested we stop in Vegas the answer was an undeniable and immediate YES! We all scrambled to the phones in order to change flight reservations in order to all converge in Las Vegas!  It’s never enough for any of us to just travel rather we all need to: feel, experience and live the journey. We all crave the living behind it all. Shows were booked, adventures were sought out and plans were compiled.

The morning of Vegas had my internal alarm clock ringing well before execution time. My Littles were where they belonged, the photos had all been removed from my iphone and I was enthusiastically waiting for my partner in crime to arrive. I should have known the second he arrived with my favorite coffee in hand at 5:30 AM that this was going to be a seamless trip. We hopped into the rig and headed for the airport with a certain kind of child-like enamor that is so rarely mutually shared, especially at that hour.

Arriving at the airport well in advance we had ample time to park front row seating to the terminal and wander in with an aimless pace. We did a little shopping at the airport the way only tourists can. He bought me an Austin sweatshirt that both moved me and made me chuckle. Texas is definitely his stomping ground and for me I’m always 1 foot out the door. The irony behind the tourist sweater was not lost on me. Heading over to our gate just in time for boarding we get onto the plane with the ease and grace of a team that has been doing this together for years. There was only one layover of the day giving us enough time for a fresh cup of espresso and airport massages.

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I have never heard a spa so loud. My travel partner, Ben, is hilarious! A people person if ever I met one. He doesn’t encounter one soul that doesn’t love everything rolling off of that ninth generation Texas cowboy tongue of his. Kneeling facedown in a massage chair he can’t help but engage every single person and attendant with hysterical rhetoric that would culminate in the exchange of business cards and phone numbers for all of us as we head off and onto the next plane where my comedic counterpart can’t help but engage the people in the seats around us as well. Before we ever left the tarmac he had the woman in front of us tossing popcorn into his open mouth. My searchers all know that I am compelled to be silly and engage people around me with hopefully contagious joy. This travel partner brings out the best pieces of that in me for sure!

By the time we reach Vegas we are moving as one gelled unit. He is using my nickname “Maverick,” because of my history and driving, and he is “Goose.” Making fast friends with the driver of our shuttle Goose gets the insider details on the strip that only his personality can draw out of someone. We step out into our stunning hotel, the Venetian, where he makes friends with the attendant at the check in counter for perks and chaos galore. The hotel and the room are both excessive and visually overwhelming. We would spend the day exploring Vegas, the strip, the secrets that had been shared and really really great espresso from a company I’ve only had in New York.

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The evening air was cool and a perfect contrast to the Texas heat we had been used to just hours before. We stepped off the strip and into a gondola that would circle around our hotel lot.
“What do you do for a living?” Asked the gondola driver

“She is a stay at home mom and I am an Astro engineer.” Said Goose.

“OOOh! Fancy!!! And the Astro engineer thing is kind of cool too.” The gondola driver through back without a moment of hesitation.

The uncontrollable laughter that ensued almost halted the beautiful serenade that I can’t, and would never want to, un-hear.

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Dinner! Oh. My. God. Dinner! I almost don’t know what else to say. We ate at the only steakhouse in the world that ages their steak for three months. Three months! The average is three weeks. This steak dissolved in your mouth like it was always destined to intertwine with your tongue. The standalone steak dinner was complemented by; pickled asparagus, jalapeño lime corn, muscles, hand-spun pastas, fresh baked bread, and hand-shaken drinks that could bring you to your knees. The only thing the Carvino restaurant lacked was a cart to wheel you out to your hotel room at the end of dinner. But in keeping with the gold standard they were unable to accept our refusal of dessert and culminated the entire event with a chocolate boci to die for! With our leftovers in hand we shopped our way up to the hotel room where we could freshen up before heading down to the smoky casino for the remainder of the evening.

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While on the floor my girlfriend, Isis, who had originated this trip idea finally arrived! Our trio was complete and trouble had officially found Vegas. We gambled the night away and decided at 3 AM we should probably head to bed the only problem was we are a trio of adventurers. We almost made it 100 feet before we decided that we must head out to the strip one more time. Walking through the casino I somehow caught the attention of a very very drunk man. This caught the attention of my crew. And in what can only be described as a pirate oogling me the joke emerged that he had to switch from his bad eye to his good eye in order to make sure he was really seeing what he was seeing. Photos, shenanigans, exploration and memory sharing took over the next two hours before we finally, reluctantly, headed home for showers and a quick nap.

Resting from about 5 AM to 7:30 AM we all hopped up and headed out for breakfast. In keeping with his alpha cowboy standard Goose sat down and had drinks ordered before we can even situate our purses. I’m sure breakfast was delicious but it was hard to discern after the espresso, bloody mary’s and sangria that prefaced it during our waiting time. All of which were phenomenal and consumed well before the food arrived. Feeling like we had the caloric intake to last us the rest of the week we headed out to explore the opposite direction on the strip. The day was full of shopping and gambling, but the most important piece was the laughter! It’s always amazing to me the types of inside jokes that develop on trips like this. Some of the silly shenanigans I know will last for decades to come. My favorite during this excursion was when I stopped in to buy a pair of linen pants. They were stunning! Floorlength, white, flawless linen pants….or so I thought. Goose would spend the next hour trying to convince the sales women to sew pockets into these pants before I purchased them. The entire staff was full of good sports. And had I not been so adamant I’m fairly certain they may have found a way to make pockets happen on the daggum pants. The hilarity of the situation was priceless but the sentimental value beneath it, the level of how much he valued my needs, was an extraordinary reminder of the type of strength and love other people also have rooted in them.

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My partner in crime, having never seen a Cirque du Soleil show, agreed to attend “Love” with me. Love is a show about the musical revolution of the Beatles. Dressed to the nines we headed into the lobby where we were greeted by one of the sweetest couples and bought margaritas that could have easily been mistaken for a big gulp at 7/11. As has been my experience with any Cirque du Soleil show it was absolutely breathtaking. The aerial acrobatics, the insanely bright neon colors, the sounds and the interesting visuals all culminated in a show that kept you leaned into the front of your seat and eyes plastered on the happenings around you. At one point in the show they sent a white sheet up the audience that a portion of the audience was below and a portion of the audience was above. Our primetime seating had us in just the right space. The sheet stopped right at us where we could choose to be beneath it or watching the sides above it. Both positions were equally enticing and offered a new dynamic to the show. We both left the lobby enamored but Goose left ready to see every Cirque du Soleil show on the strip.

Back to the hotel to wrap up our wild spur the moment vacation we decided to stop at the blackjack table for a little more gambling. Those of you that know me know that I cannot gamble worth a lick. It is something about the idea of lying that makes it difficult for me. I can’t help but feel like the entire thing is based on deceit and I just want to be honest. In turn I lose money so I just don’t gamble. In fact, upon hearing that I was headed to Vegas , one of my best friends suggested that I avoid the poker table like the plague. So, as I sat next to goose gambling I did the one thing I knew how to do best, help. Every time he or I won any money I took the chips off the table. Once my pockets were full I excused myself to the cashier’s cage and let him finish out his hand. Up $300 and with just enough time to take a shower and have a nap before grabbing our suitcases and picking up our ride, we headed to the room as a trio, with memories that would last us a lifetime.

Goodbye for now Las Vegas but you will be seeing this trio again for sure!

As usual I really enjoy sharing my journey with you. Please feel free to: like, share, comment and follow. And I’m always looking for suggestions on my next destination. Email me at ariel@searchingnotlost.com

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