I didn't want to call this post "9 Things Vegas Made Me Grateful For" because Vegas itself didn't prompt these gratitudes. They come from travel and life in general. They say that practicing gratitude and counting your blessings daily can completely change your life. I haven't made a habit of writing anything down regularly, but I can see how acknowledging the good can completely shift your view. Instead of lessons learned from my latest trip (like my last post), here are 9 things I was grateful for on my latest trip:
1. I'm grateful for the weird city of Las Vegas.
I've been traveling to Vegas for work twice a year for the last few years. Sometimes I 'tsk' the city, thinking it's dirty and grimy and full of fakeness and ways to steal your money. It is those things. But it's also kind of amazing. This oasis in the middle of the desert full of lush visual stimulants and the promise of a one-of-a-kind experience. The things I like best about Vegas are its hospitality and the way that nobody cares who you are, what you do, or what you look like. You can have your own experience among the masses and not feel out of place at all. Vegas welcomes everyone. Come as you are.
2. I'm grateful for breakfast.
Always, always am I grateful for a nice filling breakfast. It's my favorite meal of the day. If I don't eat in the mornings, I get hangry and feel totally off. Sometimes when traveling, breakfasts don't come easy. Hotels don't always offer them, or they're not vegan. Luckily we were eligible for big free breakfasts every day in our hotel, and we took full advantage of them! I see girls sipping on lattes and picking at a fruit cup for breakfast and I don't know how they do it. Load me up with a fruit cup, 2 cups of oatmeal, toast, and coffee, please!
3. I'm grateful for my legs.
And that they allow me to walk for hours. Typically when I work from home, I don't do a ton of walking around every day. Then I go on a trip like this, where I walk for a good 8 hours or so per day. I'm amazed that my legs and feet can even handle it. But they do! The human body is awesome.
4. I'm grateful to restaurants that serve vegan food.
Vegas has a pretty good selection of vegan-friendly restaurants. Yet I'm still always grateful when restaurants are vegan-smart. Meaning that they either a) have a separate vegan menu, b) have dishes labeled as vegan on their regular menu, or c) know what vegan means and how to change dishes to suit it. We had an excellent server at Yard House who knew what was up and how to modify dishes to be vegan. And our two trusty favorites both have separate vegan menus: Slice of Vegas Pizza and Hussong's Cantina. We also ate at Mint Indian Bistro and Jamba Juice.
5. I'm grateful for people sharing their passion.
The reason I go to Vegas is to attend a fashion tradeshow. Soul Flower had a booth there (showing off my art!). Walking around the huge convention centers full of booths of creative stuff is inspiring. If only just for the proof that yes, there are other people out there making stuff and sharing it! Every company there had to work hard to dream up, create, manufacturer, and display their creations. It's cool to see what people come up with.
6. I'm grateful for attention to detail.
Along the lines of passionate people sharing what they do, little details of hard work really delight me. It's the little things that are evidence of someone who really cares. I always love a nice tidy new hotel room. With the bed made just so, and the towels stacked in the bathroom to perfection. And when they fold the toilet paper into a point! It's the furnishings, the interior spaces, the decor. Every hotel and casino has its own look, and I just know there were TEAMS of people creating it all. Most people probably don't even notice the embellishments or the lighting. I don't even notice it all. But it all adds to the *feel* of a place and makes you go, "ooo, this is fancy!" Our hotel had a kitchenette and the silverware in the drawer was hand forged. Each piece had little maker stamps in the silver! Amazing. (By the way, the only reason I even know such a thing as hand forged silverware exists is because of this Craft in America episode.)
7. I'm grateful for wonderful things.
Part of the charm of Vegas is all its visual stimulation. Everything is decorated, lit up, and designed to look a certain way and evoke a certain mood. It makes me happy that people don't take themselves too seriously and still make things fun. The gardens at Bellagio were filled with under-the-sea sculptures and a larger-than-life mermaid. The huge Linq ferris wheel makes me feel like a little kid - looking up at a comparatively-tiny ferris wheel at the local fair and thinking "woah, it's HUUUUGE!" Sculptures, art, paintings, statues... wonderful. This gratitude extends to more than just Vegas, too - airports, shopping malls, museums, public buildings, parks, fountains, waterfronts. All awesome.
8. I'm grateful for smooth skies.
Bumpy skies and turbulence are my greatest fears when flying, since I get motion sick. It's pretty much like playing a game of roulette, too. I never know if it's going to be bumpy so I'm always at risk for puking on the plane. Luckily this time, everything was good. All I can do is be grateful.
9. I'm grateful for my travel partner.
My husband Rob is my favorite travel partner. This time and always when we travel together, it's better than going alone. "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
I could go on and on (couldn't we all?) with even more things I'm grateful for. Instead of picking apart the things that didn't quite go as planned, making a habit of focusing on the positive is a lot more fun. There's always something to be grateful for. Because if you're not happy with what you have, what makes you think you'd be happy with something else?