“Buy the Ticket, Take the Trip”

Previously from the category Travel


Lately I haven’t thought it wise to write something that would spark a new category for this site if it doesn’t happen often; I want to convey a degree of consistency without becoming mundane or plateauing in some way. That being said, after my previous brush with adventure, I will most certainly be looking for more places to travel as the months pass. Granted, it may not be often that I get to open that window that allows watchful eyes to live vicariously through such travels, but I won’t hesitate when the adventure calls.

To give a bit of backstory to this little adventure I found myself on, I’ll have to do a bit of explaining. To be direct, I’m a nerd. I enjoy frequenting my local game shop, checking out trading cards, watching local D&D groups, looking for new graphic novels, and generally enjoying a friendly atmosphere. So six months ago I was perusing the shop when a banner caught my eye. It was advertising a tournament for board games that the shop was holding and the big prize was a trip to Las Vegas in order to compete with other players from all over the country to win large amounts of prize money.

‘Fat chance,’ I thought.

In the back of my mind, I thought it was a neat concept; the pessimist within was not letting loose of the reins so quickly, but I played and won two of the six games involved. Even at that point, I didn’t really think much of it. It wasn’t until I was in the airport at five in the morning last Friday that it really hit me what was going on.

I’m going to spoil this part of the trip and let you know that we didn’t win. Had we won, this post may have begun differently, but the most important thing is that the trip itself had a few lessons of its own that I feel are worth sharing.

The Adventure Begins…

The trip was as unexpected as it was adventurous (adventurous in the sense that it was something completely out of my comfort zone). Taking off from a dreary airport was something that I wasn’t looking forward to. My anxious nature had my heart racing and my adrenaline pumping, the only thing to combat it is a lack of sleep, but once the plane had broken through the clouds and I saw my first sunrise over thirty thousand feet above the ground I had this feeling that welled deep within.

It is breathtaking to see the golden shades of amber and hollowed crimson over the rural hills of my part of the country, but there are no words to describe it when there is nothing but cotton white in the foreground and your eyes are engulfed in streaks of gold and pink. After seeing something as beautiful as this, I will never be scared of flying again. Even if we fly over nothing but blankets of clouds with blue skies overhead, the risk will always be worth the reward.

There is no major risk with flying. Learning this beforehand and making it to Las Vegas in one piece, I’ll be taking those odds over the blackjack tables any day of the week, which you should know are probably the best odds you have while gambling. This may be a sensitive subject for some who have played this game and learned a hard lesson in the past, but gambling is as amazing as it is horrible. Don’t get me wrong, if you can gamble and you’re willing to lose a bit of money, by all means, go for it. If not, just spectate.

I was willing to lose eighty bucks. To some, it may be a lot, to others a little, but to me, it was just right. Using colorful chips instead of money, you begin to forget just how much you’re losing or winning. On a good note I did pretty well for the first couple of hands and was almost at a couple hundred, but this is where the reality of gambling hits; just when you think you can’t lose, the house will teach you otherwise. Don’t be fooled for a second when I say that no matter who you are, your first time throwing a few chips into that little circle on the table is like offering it up to a wormhole. The results will vary depending on when and how you throw down.

I lost almost everything I had won, but I still left the table with my dignity intact being ahead from where I started. Besides, gambling wasn’t the reason I wanted to come to sin city. It was an enjoyable by-product, don’t get me wrong, but the one thing that won’t cost you a penny once you’re in Vegas, given the ability to keep a steady check on your pocket possessions, is the atmosphere.

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Buskers, buildings, and Beautiful lights are the base of a scenic and diverse atmosphere when you make your way out of the hotel. I don’t think many places in the world can offer a homeless magician with a single drumstick, A one-armed guitar player (a damned good one at that), and a guy offering to light your cigarette for a dollar all within a few steps of one another. There wasn’t a corner of the city that didn’t have twinkling lights, a diverse mix of people, an array of interesting shops, or all three. Typically it was the latter.

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Small Teachings of a Big Adventure

Aside from finding out that the dealer is always on your side, everything that is labeled ‘free’ still has a price tag, and flying is the safest means of transportation, there are a few other things that have the opportunity to go to such an extraordinary place really taught me.

The first is that it should not take an unusual circumstance for you to go somewhere or do something incredible. If you want to experience something for the first time simply go where you want to go and do what you want to do. I’ve wanted to travel for most of my life and experience amazing places, but it wasn’t until this trip that I had realized that it wasn’t the lack of preparedness that was holding me back, it’s really just overthinking the entire situation. Take the risk and be boundless.

Next, don’t be scared to break from a group to carve your own path. I was sticking with a group of friends from the shop that offered the opportunity of the trip. I can’t blame them for getting side-tracked, none of us had ever been to such a place in our lives, but the atmosphere was absolutely free. I wanted to capture as much of it as possible to bring back with me. I know now what I didn’t know then, meaning I didn’t have to have anyone’s permission but my own. So I struck out on my own and retrieved as many good photos as I could.

Lastly, if you have an opportunity to do anything you should go for it. The worst that can happen is that you fail. In that case, you will have pulled a valuable lesson or two from it, and you can at least say you tried. Some may go as far as to say that it may kill you, but would you rather live for a boring life or die being engulfed by an exciting one? As J.K. Rowling once said, “To live life so cautiously that you never fail is to not live at all, and therefore you fail by default.”


Vegas is Vegas, and although I don’t like giving into cliques, I had to cut loose a bit while I was in Sin City. I’m not saying I don’t remember taking any of the pictures you see in this post, but I had to snap a few extra shots of the Eiffel Tower because the damned thing wouldn’t stop swaying.



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