Layla and I crossed the California state line on Halloween. Needles was the first town we came to, a tiny place with a literal Welcome Wagon and not much else.
I’d spent a hot minute on the phone with my mom and cousins a few miles earlier and seeing them in their costumes didn’t help how I was feeling. I wasn’t homesick, exactly, though this was a holiday I hated to miss. Restless, maybe. They were about to do something fun, which has always been the point of Halloween in my book. And what was I going to do?
I didn’t know. I had packed my short dress and Gryffindor tie because I was hoping for a party, but Needles wasn’t that sort of town. In fact, I wasn’t going to run into “that sort of town” until I hit LA. And while I could drive there within the day, that would mean bypassing Calico, San Bernardino, and Pasadena. I didn’t want to do that, but I also didn’t want to spend Halloween night alone in a hotel room.
Then I saw the sign: Las Vegas. I could spend Halloween in Vegas. I opened the Hotels.com app on my phone, found a cheap place to stay, and that was it.
“Man,” I thought, once I’d booked, “I’m really going to miss this ‘doing what I want when I want it’ thing.”
Since I had made it to California, I was starting to think of the end of the trip. But just as soon as I thought that, something else occurred to me.
Why? What’s stopping me from doing whatever I want when I want it once I get home? It won’t be the same, sure, but…I can still do things on a whim for no reason except that it will make me happy.
Looking over my SnapChat story the next day made me smile. I stayed at the Las Vegas Hostel, which only charged me $20 for the night and included free breakfast and a pool. It was also within walking distance of some of downtown Vegas and Fremont St. At The Writer’s Block, I bought a book I’d been looking for and talked to the bookseller about bars I should go to. He recommended Atomic Liquors, a bit of a dive, and Oddfellows, which had a lot of energy. I also tried Commonwealth, which probably had the best drinks and fell between the two atmospheres, so is a good place to go if you’re looking for balance. I also did just a little bit of gambling and got my photo taken with the Chippendales. All of these things showed up in my SnapChat story and were a reminder of the fun I’d had the night before.
That’s what I want from my life: I want to do things that make me happy and take lots of pictures so that I can look back and continue feeling that way. And I want it to be an everyday occurrence. I want to be able to look at my SnapChat story at any given moment and think, “Oh yeah, that was great.”
That will look a little different each day. On Halloween, I would have been bored and even upset if I’d sat in my pajamas watching TV. Today, that was exactly what I wanted to do. And that, I’ve decided, is a perfectly acceptable reason to do something.