So, first thing’s first. I didn’t plan to spend 48 hours in Las Vegas on my own.
It just kind of happened.
When the arrangements for Trek America were going on, I was offered the option of extending my flight home by two days so that I’d get more of a chance to explore the city because we’d literally only have a couple of hours free time whilst there as part of the itinerary. So I said yes. Because obviously everyone else would say yes and we’d all be mega best friends by the end and we’d have these two days of mental freedom to sunbathe by the pool and drink cocktails and take outfit photos for each other and the world would be happy, right, right?
And so it was, a fortnight ago, that I found myself in this insane city by myself. All alone. With very little money and a suitcase full of muddy clothes.
I checked into the MGM Grand and just felt this overwhelming sense of loneliness. I mean I think that’s what I’d describe it as. I’d spent every waking minute for the past 11 days surrounded by people. We’d been through near death experiences together (I mean, if that’s what high hikes count as), we’d heard each other snore, cried and pulled strops in front of each other, and then suddenly it was just me in a strange city in a hotel which is full of rowdy, excited people and oh, just FYI, it’s an actual effing maze. It’s the biggest darn hotel I’ve ever been inside, so there was that to help make me feel suffocated by life (here’s a video of me *almost* crying because it all got too much).
I never get time on my own. Not like this. Not ever.
There was no ironing pile, no crying cat, no Tesco to nip to for essentials, no boyfriend, no friends. Just me and my laptop and my American TV.
So I did all the good things in life. I slept until I couldn’t sleep anymore and I rolled myself out across the bed like a starfish and felt the cool crisp covers on my toes, I watched more SATC episodes than is healthy for a 2015 brain, I ate Mexican food in bed, I painted my nails and I had a really good long shower with every free hotel product I could get my hands on.
I ventured out and explored the main roads. Pottered into drugstores and stared at all the Essie nail polishes and EOS balms and M&M flavours without anyone hurrying me. I ate froyo. I stopped to take photos. I ate a McDonald’s on my own without anyone knowing who I was, without feeling judged in the slightest.
And then I did the one thing I’ve never had time or energy for – I taught myself some basic video editing skills whilst flopped in bed watching the Vegas episodes of Friends.
That moment at 3pm on Wednesday waving and hugging goodbye to my travel pals as they boarded a minibus for the airport made my soul weep. It made me feel more alone than I’ve ever felt working from home on my own. I felt like an abandoned child lost in a supermarket. I felt so incredibly homesick. I wondered if I could get a refund on my hotel, maybe change my flight home. Come back another time to explore Vegas.
And then I flagged a taxi and made my own onward journey to my next hotel. I manned up, I reverted back to the strong, independent version of myself and I got on with it. I stuck the ‘do not disturb’ sign up and made myself at home by half emptying my suitcase across my room until I too would be headed back to Heathrow.
We always go away with people and we always go away with a purpose, but being stuck somewhere with nothing to do ended up being heaven for me.
It meant there was no compromise, no planning, none of the things that have become normal in every day life. I got to call the shots, I got to do things exactly as I felt like doing them. If I only wanted to spend an hour by the pool because OH MY GOD, WHY IS IT SO DARN HOT? Then I could only stay an hour before snuggling back under the covers of my air-conditioned room again.
It’s hard to warrant proper alone time. We normally allow ourselves a pamper night, maybe once a week, maybe once a month. And even during those few hours we’re distracted by our phones, by other people, distracted by our own life.
That was the other secret joy of Vegas – I was 8 hours out of sync with everyone else. I had half days where the rest of you were sleeping and I could get away with not checking my phone for hours and I could just enjoy being me, doing me things.
I’ve always wanted to go to Paris, but it’s just never happened for me. This is the confidence and reassurance I needed to know that I *could* do it on my own. I could do a two-day trip all by myself and spend a night in the city, just snapping the macarons and the Eiffel Tower whilst I drink coffee and eat cake on my own.
I was amazed by how many thoughts whizzed through my brain, how being away from home put everything in perspective and made me think about things differently. It gave me this fresh burst of enthusiasm for not only video – but for my blog and for my writing.
It gave me the opportunity to think about how I’d like to move forward with my book idea. Ultimately, it made me step back from everything at home and look at things with new eyes. I think we sometimes forget how foggy social media and public transport and chores and bills make our minds, and how important it is just to back away and re-evaluate everything going on.
So no, alone time in Vegas wasn’t planned. But it made sure I came home ready to get cracking on all my dreams and plans and whirlwind ideas. It made me feel refreshed and recovered and full of energy. It made me feel like ME.
So do it. Don’t take your boyfriend or your best friend. Just take yourself somewhere even if it’s just 30 miles away and just for a night. Treat yourself to somewhere with a spa, or somewhere with mazes of roads to explore. Stay in your own county or head over to a European city (be safe, obvs) and do you. Because you’re damn important, and you can’t take over the world unless you’re feeling 100% like the best version of yourself.
Go be amazing.