Las Vegas to me: The US' blank page

A quick cure for writer’s block is free writing. A High School English teacher of mine made us do it at the start of every lesson; it shakes loose the cobwebs and gets the brain up and running. There’s only one rule; your pen is not allowed to stop moving. Normally, the end product is a page of run-on, jumbled up sentences. But it can lift your mind into action and, once in a while, deliver a nugget of inspiration.


I’ve never been to Las Vegas. I have seen it in movies, read about it online and of course covered its gaming revenue, innovation and regulations. But I’ve never been there.

Obviously, with this outsider’s perspective, my knowledge is limited. But I see similarities between a session of free writing and the Nevada city. People go there to feel alive. They take a break from the real world and let fantasies run wild. The only rule seems to be; don’t stop. Soak up every second and after a short stop, long weekend or committed stint return home to reality, whatever that may be.

Sometimes it takes that level of intensity for us to come up with our best ideas. Even if it feels like an all-consuming issue, one that needs constant attention to solve, time away from the desk and screen might be the best answer. If you’re swimming in a problem, pull yourself from the pool of despair and sink into a much more inviting, bubbling hot tub.

The new environment invigorates and reminds you there are creative ways to scale walls and quite often there is a door ready-made. Las Vegas shows you to that door. It gives you the time and space to do whatever activity soothes your mind, lifts the fog and reorganises priorities. Just like with free writing, the only real constraint is your creativity.

If you want to have a day of dining followed by an evening watching Celine Dion, do it. If you want to spend your day in a pool party then stay up to sunrise in the city’s nightclubs, you’re welcome. If you want to risk it all on red, go for it, this way to roulette. Cannabis is legal; light one up. Stag dos or bachelor parties, hen nights or bachelorette trips; whatever you call them, they are in Las Vegas. 

Why would I go to Las Vegas? What would make me forget my worries and come home with a clear head? The idea of a city that has sprung to life in the middle of a desert intrigues me. Nothing should grow there, right? Every blade of grass on its manicured hotel lawns and every palm tree swaying in the breeze lives by human intervention as part of a bigger picture.

The city was created for a purpose it has long since achieved. It now serves as the blank sheet of paper for tourists and residents to scribble upon freely, to feel alive and unlimited. That’s what draws me to Las Vegas; its design.  

I find it amazing there are so many similarly-minded competitors on the same strip in the desert vying for profit and succeeding at getting it. I need to see it all in action. It’s not that I don’t believe that it works; I’ve seen the revenue reports. I just want to stroll down through the city and watch all the free writers enjoying their breaks from reality.

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