It's been about five years since I have been in Las Vegas. In my first visit, it was my first business trip of any kind, and an especially big one as it was for an event I had been working on for months. See, before there was college athletics, recreation, and student life, before there was my crazy experience in parks and recreation, there was my career in coordinating and developing national finance conferences.
My trip to Las Vegas was for a conference I helped coordinate - the Native American Finance Conference. Attended by over 3,000 people, I ended up staying in Vegas for eight days working fourteen hour days. Not fun. While I did walk the strip and get a chance to experience Vegas a bit, my exploring of it was rather limited due to fatigue.
Now, in a position I've always wanted, I'm back in Vegas for the NIRSA conference (finally on the other end of an event for a change), with an opportunity to not only learn a ton from peers and professionals that are constantly revolutionizing the industry, but a chance to maybe even see what all the hype is about Las Vegas.
It marks quite the full-circle irony for me as I am returning to a place that not only conflicts with most of the moral and ethical values I hold, but also feels as some-type of weird return that validates this new endeavor in my professional career.
From working in a job I hated, yet, really taught me some tough lessons as a person and as a professional, to now returning back to Vegas in a dream position looking to learn and improve from some of the best, it has been quite the book end trips to this city.
I'm not sure why the good Lord has made this city (of all places) a milestone city for me, and I'm sure he finds it humorous, but I intend to make the most of my second go-around with Las Vegas.
For starters, I still find myself amazed with the idea that this city is in the middle of a nowhere-desert, with large, majestic mountains on the perimeter.
And I still find this city to be overly perplexing in theory.
Nonetheless, Vegas, oddly enough, has this unusual, distinguishable place in my heart.
I look forward to what awaits me on my three days here.