Layover Limbo

Posted on Jul 3, 2022

I purchased flights from San Francisco to New York with 26 hours of layovers and a total travel time of… 32 hours?!

With no lodging and no plans, I arrived in Las Vegas at midnight for a day-long layover. A full 24 hours of crashing at airport gates and random hotel lobbies; roaming alone across the entire Vegas Strip through dozens of shops, hotels, and casinos. The amount I spent on gambling and entertainment? A surprising $0, barring a wrap from CVS, a Chipotle bowl, and some water. Of course, that number would be higher had I been in the company of others. The point of this trip was to have fun, after all, and I’d have plenty of opportunities to spend upon reaching New York.

I’ve realized that on longer trips, I often enjoy the journey as much as the destination – that weird in-between stage of travel blurring the lines between today and yesterday, making the entire segment feel like one continuous splotch of memory. It’s during times like these where I find myself in the deepest introspection. There’s no pressure to do anything other than getting from point A to point B. There’s just free time to think.

It’s usually a good chance to write blog posts like this one, to reflect on life, and to plan new personal projects for my return home. Not only am I physically and mentally miles away from home but also miles away from my destination. It’s in this liminal space that thoughts can flow unhindered by day-to-day tasks or travel itineraries.

Was that why I chose this flight? Well, partially. I was amused at the idea of treating Vegas as an “in-between stage” of this trip, and it was also the cheapest option at the time. I love ironic humor, and stranding myself in Sin City to reflect on life was just too funny. Imagine journaling in a bustling casino full of cigarette smoke or seeking clarity in front of a strip club! How could I pass that opportunity up?

Jokes aside, I had an urge to test myself: a curiosity of how I’d handle my usual routines juxtaposed against ridiculous circumstances. Obviously, I wouldn’t take this to the point of reckless self-sabotage, but voluntarily taking on the occasional inconvenience builds patience and valuable experience for when events do go awry. Think: I’ve been through this before, and I can get through it again! I’d been reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, which no doubt inspired my decision.

So was it worth it? Though I’m pretty tired, I did some valuable self discovery on the way. But let’s be honest, the biggest mystery I solved was how to spend 24 hours in Vegas and only buy a wrap, Chipotle bowl, and some water. Next time, catch me at the blackjack table. 😂

Now, onwards to New York!

Edited: 2023-10-28