Getting Back to the Neon Fun Desert

As October 2013 came to an end, so did my Las Vegas life. Or so I thought. Now, as June 2015 comes to an end, I’m getting to go back to live in the neon fun desert.

This feels right. This feels like what is “supposed to happen.” So, I am going with it. I am leaving my home state of California to live and work in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Yes, the weather can be impossibly hot. Yes, there also are other factors about living in the Mojave Desert that are challenging. But, for me, returning to Las Vegas feels like a fulfillment of certain song lyrics: “get back to where you once belonged.


I know now that one must look into the sometimes stormy skies to find a patch of blue. A proper mental attitude can carry you through. You just need to discover how to stay in control of your mind and not let others encroach upon you or your thoughts and beliefs.

My partner of 19 years, Sam Glass and I will once again be locals in Las Vegas.
We know what to expect because we lived there very recently and see what’s what.

I’m pleased to be continuing my digital marketing and advertising work of 2 years for an international company headquartered in New York City that understands how to encourage excellence through flexibility in employee work locations. This is not futuristic. This is reality right now.

Leaving Las Vegas

I am writing this blog post to share the news that I am leaving Las Vegas. My exit from Sin City has nothing in common with the 1994 song performed by Cheryl Crow that was based upon the novel of the same name by John O’Brien, nor the 1995 movie starring Nicolas Cage also based on the O’Brien novel.

Financial District, San Francisco
Financial District, San Francisco

To be more specific, you may be relieved to learn that leaving Las Vegas for my partner Sam and me has zero to do with alcoholism or prostitution or gambling. We are leaving because of my need to relocate to the San Francisco Bay Area for work.

Those who follow my column on Ned’s Job of the Week website already have seen my commentaries on making the transition to Las Vegas in the first place. On June 29, my birthday, I wrote about what has morphed into an ongoing transition in my life and career.

As my posts have shared already, I chose Las Vegas as a place to restart and my life and redefine myself. One big lesson learned that I will share with you here: Pick some place where you can restart your life and redefine yourself even if your family members and friends tell you how strange you are.

I chronicled my August 2012 relocation from Washington, DC to Las Vegas, Nevada. I never imagined that I would continue in transition after establishing residence in Nevada, but that is exactly what has happened. The lesson here is that transitions in life can be an ongoing journey for a person and not a one-time event.

During the summer of 2013, I was recruited to work as a communication consultant in San Francisco. As a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada that meant I had to fly back and forth every week. Three simple words capture the significance of this commute: frequent flier miles.

Yes, for several months I flew 400 miles one-way to get to and from work each week in San Francisco. I lived in hotels part of each week for several months now. In my experience, flying and staying in hotels had always been associated with vacation time. That all changed after I joined the ranks of steadfast business travelers who know the realities of regular travel by air and weekly accommodations in hotels.

Living in two cities presents major challenges, of course. I would not recommend this anyone except a genuinely highly adaptable person like I am. There will always be unexpected twists and turns that sneak up on you and complicate an already difficult way to live. In San Francisco, for instance, I had to deal with TWO strikes at the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system that made local commuting one of the worst traffic experiences one could ever hope to find anywhere in the United States. Then there was the issue of going between daytime highs of only 65 degrees in San Francisco to daytime highs of over 100 degrees in Las Vegas. You get the idea here.

Terminal 3
LAS: Terminal 3

All of this will soon change. Some have asked me whether I would recommend living in Las Vegas.

Here’s the truth: I certainly hope that everyone who reads this will consider vacationing in Las Vegas. This is a wonderful venue for adults to relax and unwind. It’s perfect for attending a big convention, too. A stay of about 3 or 4 days is the absolute maximum anyone should allocate to staying in Las Vegas for a vacation or a convention.

I would not recommend living in the Las Vegas Valley unless you get relocated here by an established company for a full-time career job. On the plus side, the cost of living is very low. There is a wonderful entreprenuerial spirit here for business. Plus, living in the Mojave Desert affords easy access to enjoying nature and plentiful wide open spaces. The west side of the valley (miles away from The Las Vegas Strip) is especially appealing.

This may seem obvious: ¬†Anyone who has needs for alcohol or gambling or prostitution should steer clear of living in Las Vegas, however. I happen to have no dependencies upon any of these three vices. Yet, I found other prominent elements of living in Las Vegas that I disliked–most notably, the rampant unreliability of many local people.

You can make life in the Las Vegas Valley what we want it to be. It is a neon fun desert. Once you understand that, you can start to learn how to sort through the distractions of neon lights, flashing video displays, shiny silvery surfaces, ample carbohydrates, liquor, and so on. You can do it if you try.

Lessons from the Hoover Dam Bypass

Hoover Dam Bypass

Lessons from the Hoover Dam Bypass.

A new bridge connecting the states of Arizona and Nevada over the Colorado River recently was opened to the public. Since the great Hoover Dam was built a generation ago, there was a curving two-lane highway that crossed right over the dam, itself. After 9/11, concerns grew that terrorists could easily blow up the dam and release tons of water to destroy everything downstream below Lake Mead to the Gulf of California. Out of an abundance of caution, the idea for this new crossing over the Colorado River was born.

Sam and I made the trip on the old Highway 93 crossing back in the Summer of 2006 while on a day trip to the Grand Canyon. When I lived in that area a decade ago, I became very familiar with the long desert drives spanning lonely highways in Northern Arizona on the way to Las Vegas. This new shortcut is something I cannot wait to see in person.