Four years or so ago I bought a small condo in Las Vegas. I did it almost entirely because it seemed like a great deal and because I visited Vegas sometimes, and not at all because I intended on moving to Las Vegas. Since then, things have escalated.
I now live in Las Vegas full time with my wife. She bought the condo next to mine and we combined them to make a bigger condo. In addition to our two condos, friends and friends of friends have bought ten others in our neighborhood. We have a waiting list and continue to try to buy nearly every condo that comes up for sale.
My one complaint with Las Vegas was that it didn't have as many of the types of people I like to hang out with as other cities, so I figured I would try to change that by importing them.
We are beginning to approach a critical mass where there are usually other people in town besides us, which has made it even more fun to be there.
Once we get to about twenty people I think we will have the capacity to do cool things like charge ourselves voluntary HOA fees to unilaterally make improvements to the neighborhood, hire a full time employee to do things like get packages, clean houses, and drive people to the airport, and maybe even use one condo as a group clubhouse.
A lot of people scoffed at the idea of moving to Vegas (and many still do), and didn't think the neighborhood takeover idea would work, but it has already passed the bar of being worth it and it just continues to become better.
A friend was recently trying to decide where to move and asked me for suggestions. I told her that there is nowhere in the US that I would really consider moving besides Las Vegas. I think it is the objective best place to live, unless you need a good job market or good public schools.
She pressed and asked where I'd live if I absolutely couldn't live in Las Vegas, and it made me realize just how much I love Vegas and how unwilling I'd be to go anywhere else. After a lot of thought I said that if I really had to, Austin would probably be a distant second, and I'd maybe think about Hilo Hawaii.
I continue to discover more great things about Las Vegas. My most exciting discovery this year is that there's a ski hill called Lee Canyon that's less than an hour away from my house! It's not a huge impressive resort like you'd find in Tahoe or Utah, but it's big enough for me, a lot of fun, and extremely easy to go ski at. The last time I skiied this season it was too hot even with no jacket on, but the trails were all still covered in snow. In the distance I could see the red desert.
I also figured out that I lived pretty close to Lake Mead, so I bought a boat. Now I go out at least once a week when I'm in Vegas and get to cruise through the mountains.
Some of my friends have gotten into rock climbing at Red Rock, which is also less than an hour away. Apparently it's so good that Alex Honnold moved to Las Vegas just to be able to climb there regularly.
Those are just some of the new things I'm excited about in Las Vegas. If you haven't read my previous posts about it, there are plenty of other things to like. Topping the list are the complete lack of friction to do anything, the excellent airport and proximity to major hubs, low cost of living, free show tickets as a local, the fact that just about everyone comes through at some point, actually diverse population across many spectrums (rather than just different genders and races who all basically think alike), and world class food at great prices.
Vegas certainly isn't for everyone, but way more people should live here than currently do. On the other hand, it's pretty nice that there's rarely any traffic except on the strip...
Photo is the boat parked on Lake Mead. Most people outside of Vegas don't think there's any cool nature in Vegas, but most Vegas people I know consider it to be one of the strongest points of living here!
I live a little bit in the ghetto. It doesn't feel dangerous, I like my neighbors, and the location is perfect, but in Las Vegas this is known as a terrible area. Even after being pleasantly surprised at how nice it was when I saw the place (I bought it sight unseen), I was worried that I'd find out horrible things about the area after living here. But I've been here for a year and it's been smooth sailing.
I'm in the middle of a big bathroom renovation. So far, other than some plumbing for the tub, I've done all of the work myself. But I have a lot of tiling ahead of me, so I called a tiling guy and asked him for a quote. Part of the conversation went like this:
"And where do you live?"
"[ cross streets]"
My name is Zachary Cohn, and I've met a lot of people from the Internet. Most recently I met my doppelganger, Zachary Cohen.
[caption id="attachment_133" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="The Internet is a Series of Tubes"][/caption]Meeting people from the Internet is not a big deal to me anymore, although other people still freak out when I mention it. There have been three primary circles I've met people from: Massassi, Parkour, and The Rest of the Internet. The first two really helped me be comfortable with the last one.
Massassi.net started in 1997 and was dedicated to editing and modding a Star Wars game called Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight. The game is now 14 years old, and except for the occasional game for “old times sake” no one has played in five years. But everyone was such good friends and the community was so tight that most people have stayed around. I found Massassi in 2001, and have checked it daily since.
The first person I met from the Internet was through Massassi, and was probably Gebhoq. I found out he lived about 20 minutes away, so we saw a play and grabbed lunch together. After that, I visited Rochester Institute of Technology, where I was going to go to school. There were six people from Massassi that, by chance, all ended up there, so we met up and they showed me around. I've met a bunch more people from Massassi, but I had talked daily with most of them for years, so it was more like reuniting with a long-time friend.
The next circle of internet meetings is through Parkour. When I first started training, there was no one experienced in my area. I saw on some local parkour forums that a bunch of people meeting up to train in Washington DC, so I drove down to meet them. I showed up in this park to find a dozen teenage boys, mostly shirtless, jumping, climbing, and flipping around. I was a bit nervous at first - I didn't even know most of their handles, let alone names or anything about them. Five minutes after introducing myself, I felt we'd known each other for years. Since that first parkour jam, I've been great friends with Leonn, Psychosis, Doc_Ahk, Kipup, and RPG.[caption id="attachment_135" align="alignright" width="150" caption="David Belle - Parkour"][/caption]