It’s official. Today marks seven years of living in Las Vegas. For someone who thought they would be here for “maybe 5 years” I would say this is impressive. I’ve posted about previous “Vegas Anniversaries” before and I thought eventually it would get old and I wouldn’t put much thought into it.
However, at the beginning of this year, Maren Morris realeased the song “Circles Around This Town” and it struck a major chord with me. You see, for the first few months of living here that is exactly what I did – drove circles around this town.
I’d jump in my Jetta, throw on a playlist and hop on the 15. Some days I would drive west-bound toward Summerlin, switching highways and popping on over through downtown and eventually down The Strip. Other days I would take the 215 east-bound and make the same circle going the opposite direction. And sometimes I would drive up and down one of the most famous stretches in the world, Las Vegas Blvd, blasting music and trying to figure it all out.
When I moved here, I really was starting from scratch. The only person I knew was someone I hadn’t seen in a decade and I didn’t even have a job. I was a college grad and didn’t know what the hell I was doing. There were a few weeks where I genuinely thought I had made the wrong decision and started considering moving to LA. Why? I don’t know – why not?? But deep in my soul, I knew I loved Vegas. And I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to be here.
Fast forward to now, seven years later, and I am amazed and very proud of the things I have accomplished. I rekindled my oldest friendship which is one I treasure dearly. I am 6 1/2 years into a career that I find fulfilling with a company I respect. I met the best thing that’s ever happened to me – PEANUT! I’ve established myself and have truly cultivated a life here.
But in the early days I could not see this path clearly – at all. Like I mentioned, I was so ready to give up and do something different. Looking back now, it’s funny. I would have just been starting all over again in a place that, even though I really like it, it kind of sucks haha. Yes the industry here can be rough but I definitely don’t ever want to deal with the industry out there.
The one thing I heavily relied on to get through the journey was – music. It’s always been a major part of my life. In fact, my earliest memory is one of me and a Beatles song in my dad’s truck on our way to a camping trip. It’s funny how things like that can set you up for life.
So my playlists were crucial. They were there as I was applying for jobs (5-10 per day), cleaning my new apartment and they kept me company on those drives where I was trying to figure it all out. I dove in and discovered all sorts of new corners of Spotify. I mean – I definitely had the time while waiting to hear back from employers haha.
Shortly after I moved here, Gryffin released the song “Heading Home”. From the melody to the lyrics, it was perfect. It was my “Vegas Song”. It said and embodied everything I was feeling about my new adventure. Unsure of what to do or how to do it but convinced that I was where I needed to be. And I still feel that way about the song. What once was the song that kept me going and motivated me to stay and find my place here has now become a song of celebration and even nostalgia. I listen to it on the days where I am so happy and grateful to be in Las Vegas. I also listen to it on the days where I need to be reminded of my love for this city.
I thought no song would ever compare to “Heading Home”…Enter Maren Morris. I remember the first time I heard that song earlier this year. Finally someone understood how I felt when I first got to a town where, seemingly, anything is possible yet getting there feels so daunting. Sometimes all we really need is a good playlist and a drive around town. It’s the songs and the stories behind them that help us from feeling so alone.
These days, I rarely take aimless drives around the city. A combination of gas prices, time constraints and dog mom duties have rearranged my priorities. But I don’t mind. Now I have a clearer path of where I’m going and how I need to get there. The songs remain the same, however. Cleaning, walking the dog and driving to errands are when I get my jam time. Nothing will ever change that feeling – the feeling of music and the open road.
Speaking of the open road – I took a few roadtrips since 2020. Of course I curated playlists for each one. My pilgrimage to Montana featured a lot of Whiskey Myers, Ryan Bingham and music from the days when I used to live there. When I decided to drive through the middle of Nevada from North to South and then down the Extraterrestrial Highway, Machine Gun Kelly’s “Tickets to My Downfall” was on repeat. There’s just something about the music.
So back to Vegas. I know how polarizing this city can be to people. I’ve personally witnessed the changes and issues we’ve had in the last few years. However, this city has magic if you know where to look. This city will give you everything you’re looking for if you’re open to it. For as many mistakes as I’ve made here, I’ve made just as many successes. Vegas forgives most sins. And Vegas is a place you can truly be your weird ass self. Never have I ever felt more at home or felt like I could be myself 100%.
So thank you Las Vegas for seven weird and wonderful years. I’m looking forward to what the next seven or seventy seven will bring and I’m grateful that all of those circles around this town got me somewhere.