Bloat of Vegas
With no plans to leave Vegas, we tried to settle in. We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving by going to an outlet mall to get new walking shoes for Jamie, ending the day with barbeque pork chops and Betty Crocker Double Chocolate Brownie Mug Treats. Not at all a traditional day of thanks, but Mug Treats in the microwave were memorable!
We found parking in Vegas expensive, except for the Tropicana overflow lot. We paid to park at the outlet mall, paid to park (and then walk over) to see Fremont Street. Staying in a hotel on the strip would have been easier than staying in an RV park and getting around with our truck.
There is the temptation that you will get something magical in Vegas. Everyone wants you to notice what they have. It’s either offered as free or exclusive, but then you pay a lot for it. How many of us have been pulled aside to have some miracle cream applied to only one under-eye area? I loved how a team tried to sell me the bottle to do the other eye. Yes, a team performing the same act over and over. I took my money to In-N-Out Burger and got a limited edition t-shirt (for a lot less money) instead.
Traveling up Las Vegas Blvd, we found the view improved and we saw fewer signs of poverty, although we did pass a lot of homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks. The side of the roads were full of trash the closer we got to the RV park.
The well water at the RV park smelled terrible and tasted worse. We also experienced a number of times when water was shut off completely with no warning.
Jamie and I are Canadians. That said, we’re not used to seeing pistols being worn in a holster on anyone out of uniform. When a neighbouring resident at the RV park walked around wearing his on his belt, it was a complete surprise and foreign to us. I don’t want to think about what we didn’t see concealed inside the rigs around us. Even the jets flying over us from Nellis Air Force Base were fully loaded with missiles.
This wore me down, feeling I wasn’t safe. I spent a lot of time worrying about things I didn’t need to worry about. In those moments, in the heat and strangeness of Vegas, the constant flyby of jets so low we felt we could reach up and touch them overhead, I wasn’t thinking about the important things we wanted for our life. I worried we would sit around for months and not find a life less burdened. The travel and adventure part felt too stressful. This is how wrong my mindset was then (having hindsight to understand now).
I was missing the humidity of the west coast, my skin very dry. I was missing healthy food and activity because we weren’t focused on diet and exercise. I felt like I had a horrible bloat from not moving enough, and not balancing comfort foods with healthy greens. I wanted to feel a cool breeze and crisp, clean water on my skin. I wanted to stay somewhere for more than two weeks.
Jamie was doing his own worrying. He was searching for a place to winter where it didn’t dip below 10 C overnight. He wanted to find a place where I didn’t feel lost. He was grateful for the freedom he had. His life had changed the most, and he wanted to enjoy more reading, more learning, more photography and videography. This new life we both were searching for, maybe it would be found at the next destination.
Before we left Nevada, we visited Red Rock Canyon. Our GPS made getting out of Vegas difficult, again because of construction, but once we reached the canyon, I drove so Jamie could shoot video and test his new gimbal for the camera, and experiment with the combo of dead cat and directional microphone.
We didn’t know to step back from the overwhelm. We were essentially in “survival mode” and couldn’t appreciate what we were gaining in those early days. The focus was still too much on what we felt we had lost.
The ALLB daily journal entries I write are a snapshot of our experiences. I use them to understand what we were feeling and thinking three months ago. I couldn’t look back and write about that time without the journal. Having a portrait of where we’ve traveled and reflecting on what we thought then with our experience of what we know now, we can see the journey. We have proof of our progress.
If you’re thinking about starting your own journal, the prompts I use may inspire you to find your own:
What happened today?
What am I grateful for?
What tasks did I complete?
What am I worried about?
Who did I help?
What made me happy? (this one ensures I do something that does make me happy so I have something to write about)
What do I miss about my old life?
What would make our life better?
What was a challenge?