As much as I love Virtuoso Travel Week, I always wake up Friday morning and feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. Maybe it’s from having figuratively traveled the world in the four days of over 300 meetings with suppliers from across the globe. Maybe it’s from early, early mornings and late, late nights. Maybe it’s just me. Regardless, when the week is over, it would seem that the sense of relief should come flooding over me. Instead, I felt like I’d been hit by a semi-truck and left for dead. I’ve also had Katie Perry’s song “Waking Up In Vegas” stuck in my head for 72 hours.
Last year, I traveled home in a zombie-like fashion and slept for the entire weekend. So, why in the WORLD would I agree to travel with Cassie, Beth, and Ansley on a 5 hour road trip from Vegas to Scottsdale, Arizona? Because recouping at the Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North beats recouping in Columbus, GA any day of the week.
Our road trip yesterday was a blast. We began our journey at 11 AM, when we went to rent a car at the Bellagio’s on-site Avis desk. We then realized that two of the agents (myself and Beth) are not even of age to rent a car, so the responsibility fell on Cassie & Ansley. Once at the rental desk, we were informed that the particular agency was out of cars. As travel agents, we should know better than waiting until the day of to rent a car… but travel agents are the worst at planning our own trips. After frantically calling around, someone dropped off an SUV at the Bellagio agency about an hour into our search.
We packed all of our huge bags into the back, blocking the rear window and missing Jamo terribly when we had to lift all of our own luggage. Like a trooper, Cassie drove the entire way down, which was initially a little scary due to the following conversation:
Ansley – “Cassie, are you OK to drive in Vegas?”
Cassie – “Yeah, I think we’ll be fine once I get out of Vegas.”
Within the first 20 minutes, each of us had announced, “I think I’m going to have a panic attack,” at least once. Once we were safely outside of Vegas and hurled into the middle of nowhere (the desert is a land of sparcity and what appear to be meth labs), we played countless games of Would You Rather & Shoot, Screw, Marry. We also traded gossip on (quite possibly) all 4,000 attendees of this year’s Travel Mart. Having already traveled with these girls to Africa, we had plenty of material to base our conversations on…most of which is too controversial to publish, even on my little blog.
We arrived just in time for sunset and immediately retreated to our rooms.
Although the laughter we shared was great, I was not in a good state. Physically, mentally, and emotionally – yesterday was undoubtedly rough. My body felt like it was conspiring against me. I ate one granola bar the entire day. I was an emotional mess. Something I’ve found after three years of attending: it is required for every agent to have one emotional breakdown over the course of Virtuoso Week. All my friends were doing it, so I did, too.
When I met the girls at Ansley’s suite for room service, I officially had my breakdown over the fact that I couldn’t even stomach a caesar salad. They comforted me, told me I looked like a ghost, and nursed me back to health with sprite and kind words. I came back to my room and drew a bubble bath. I listened to Damien Rice’s 9 – an all around appropriate choice for my instabilities. I played “Grey Room” and “Accidental Babies” on repeat.
Then, I took the advice of “Sleep, Don’t Weep:”
Sleep, don’t weep, my sweet love
Your face is all wet cause our days were rough
So do what you must do to fill that hole
Wear another shoe to comfort the soul
Those times that I was broke, and you stood strong
I think I found a place where I feel I belong
I slept for a full 9 hours, in honor of the album title.
When I awoke this morning, I felt like a new person. The sun had already risen over the wall of boulders outside of my window and Beth had just texted all of us an invitation to go hiking with her.
I couldn’t think of anything I would rather do less than go on a hike, so I met Cassie for breakfast (to indulge in one of our Virtuoso amenities that we can get for clients who book the property through us: a $66 breakfast credit!), where Beth eventually joined us after finding out that her hiking trail was really just a short walk to residences. We all worked to use the entire breakfast credit, but none of us could.
After sorting out our rental car situation (AGAIN), we hit the pool for five hours. I did not move from underneath the umbrella except to sit up and eat a grilled cheese sandwich and drink a milkshake. It was the perfect way to unwind.
The property is great, too. I’ve worked with a couple of Virtuoso properties in Arizona before and wanted to see what the appeal to the area was (there are quite a few 5-star resorts in the Phoenix/Scottsdale region). I can tell you, after a day of my own relaxing and recovering, that I have seen firsthand why desert lodges are quite the retreat. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to clear their minds, which is exactly what I needed.