I have lived in the desert of Las Vegas for nearly three years now. My partner and I have gotten in and out of debt, had our fair share of travel opportunities and hopped around various industry jobs and freelance gigs. Feeling ultimately unfulfilled, we thought about the next move. So, now what? What is this life? Great question…
In its entirety, I had a love/hate relationship to living in Las Vegas. Though, it’s with a heavy heart to say goodbye as I’m leaving on a high note of gratitude as I enter my 30th year around the sun. Thank you to the creative community I was so lucky to stumble upon in the downtown Fremont East community… but let’s take it back to when this caravan lifestyle began…
Flying from the nest to the next nest
Let’s rewind to when I was preparing to leave the city I spent my twenties in…
Seattle has had its share of changes as of late and I’m glad I left when I did. It was just the beginning of the housing boom and for the tech transplants it was great time for our economy and job market. For fear of change and rising costs, the majority of locals retaliated. Though I have a moderate stance on the how the housing boom has changed Seattle, (we’ll leave that alone for now) it’s quickly turning into a Bay Area-esque utopia complete with their attempt at a Wharf Waterfront. Geologically, building on top of city that sits on water may not be the best idea, but aesthetically the popular vote is a “yes.”
I was born and raised in a small town on Whidbey Island and have spent a decade living in Seattle going to school and working in various retail, news and marketing fields. I always had the idea to move around and experiment a new city. Call me crazy, but I feed on the fuel of discomfort and chaos in taking my roots elsewhere.
To get a glimpse of the picturesque small town charm that was once my home, visit my PNW blog post. There are a few, because I was lucky enough to go visit a few times a year while living in Las Vegas.
Speaking of the neon city, my time in Vegas also had its fair share of problems. For one, I left a comfortable job in Seattle that was in my professional wheelhouse and justified my framed Bachelor’s Degree and I wanted to smoothly transition into a similar role upon arrival. If I had done more research and planning on the job market in Las Vegas, maybe that would have happened quicker for me.
Red Rock Canyon
Though parts of the desert intrigued me. Beautiful Red Rock Canyons left the sky a beauty pink tinge almost every night at sunset. East of us is the historical Hoover Dam and Colorado River. We could drive to Los Angeles easily, Joshua Tree, and all over the little desert ghost towns. So, why not? Let’s give it a go. To put into perspective the overall reason for a new setting, I’ll quote my friend Sacha, who also made a cross country move and had to immigrate to the United States from Canada:
“I just thought to myself, am I going to be born, raised and die here?” or something like that. That made me think… damn there is a whole world out there. Let’s try a different landscape.
Sacha and her husband Tom have since moved back to her native country of Canada to the internationally dense city of Toronto after being east coast residents of Philly and west coast residents of Seattle.
“Have a grand ol’ time in Lost Wages!” -Grandpa John Klocek, boy I laughed then. Jokes from your elders STILL hold timeless lessons.
While the duration of living in Las Vegas didn’t really further myself professionally, during my last year of living in the valley, I finally found the community I had sought for: A collective of people who encouraged and provided all kinds of creative and professional help to freelancers and small business owners. I ushered in the new year of 2019 horribly by getting into bad fender bender at my expense, which really kicked my ass into gear. I needed to freelance as much as possible, since getting around the desert valley would be difficult… and well, sweltering.
An emotional wreck.
Angry at myself for totaling my car on a rainy day after an amazing conference call with a client, I swallowed my pride and simply became a hermit and worked from home most of the time.
For inspiration and release, I would attend the monthly Sunday markets hosted by entrepreneurial events collective: Fergusons Downtown. Each first Sunday, I would go to Market in the Alley to learn, network and observe from all of the small business booth vendors. I became close with the self-starters, who are at all stages of making their side hustles a dream job by gaining exposure from their community; we’re in Las Vegas after all, tourists could stumble upon this little oasis on the outskirts of Fremont Street. I immediately became enthralled with the thrift flipping possibilities. It’s something I thoroughly enjoy and after reading about how Sophia Amoruso got her start with eBay, I felt like this is something I could do.
As the year progressed, we eventually got ourselves into a used car that has a new engine and transmission and from the diagnostic checkup is in wonderful condition. From hearing that verdict, we put our hands together and decided on a place to move. Austin, Texas. It’s about the same distance from Seattle to Las Vegas and a road trip we could make into just a few days with our cats along for the ride.
Model collective for Vintage MRKT: weird, retro streetwear brand at LV Fashion Week.
Though I miss my little collective of vintage slingers, storytellers, musicians and artists that are still creating a progressive space in Las Vegas, I’m happy to close the Desert Chapter. We begin anew in Austin, a buzzing hive of Portlandia doppelgangers working alongside technologically inclined transplants smack dab in the middle of the Lone Star State.
Keep Austin Weird.