I love Las Vegas. Always have. I have wondered why I love it so much and besides all of the obvious perks – I think it’s because Vegas is so not pretentious. It’s all out in the open in Vegas, there’s no pressure to be something you’re not. I’m from Chicago, we like to think we’re without pretensions too – it’s our Midwestern simplicity.

When I learned I was headed there, I reached out to Babs Daitch, President of the Las Vegas Tourist Guide Guild. I asked her if she’d be interested in hosting the TourBoost Workshop! Well, Babs jumped in with a hearty and generous yes and off we went!

When I landed in Vegas, my Chicago eyes squinted at the glowing orb in the sky – the sun I believe they call it? Chicago had a mild winter this year, but it was a gloomy one. Vegas however, was spectacular. I wandered the Strip, marveled at the architecture. I’ve always loved Vegas architecture and felt a little bit of home at Aria – designed by Chicago’s own Helmut Jahn, (aren’t they COOL?)

I took the Deuce the rest of the way to the Stratosphere because The Strip  is the opposite of a sideview mirror, everything is FARTHER than it appears. The Deuce takes forever, but it’s worth it for the views and I was in no rush at all.

When I arrived at Stratosphere, I wondered, how was I going to recognize Babs? I should have looked more closely at her photo.

I needn’t have worried. Tour guides are instantly recognizable all over the world: Our visors, hats, folders, books, bags, backpacks, lanyards, passes, name tags, glasses…I knew Babs right away. Her huge smile let me know she recognized a fellow guide too.

We talked! Like only tour guides can we talked. We talked about the chapters of our associations. We talked about Vegas and what a place it is, we talked about how we became guides and why we love it so much. It was so lovely, across the country and boom, automatic friend.

Tour guides are the best.

We went up to the 104th floor where I met Yolanda Villanueva, Catering Sales Manager for the Stratosphere. She was generous and helpful, showing me that Vegas hospitality.

That’s Babs, Yolanda and Me!

The Stratosphere is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the US and the views are breathtaking. There’s a bungee-type ride called The Sky Jump, so every once in awhile a bungeed human would fly past the window. All in a day’s work for a Las Vegas tour guide!

I got a great tour from Babs and the other guides as we looked over Las Vegas from the 104th floor. Trust me, there is no better place to be than with a roomful of tour guides in a city’s tallest structure!

The TourBoost Workshop was so much fun. The games help guides get out of their head, connect with their groups, connect with their bodies and disconnect from the oh-so-judgy ego mind. The games are simple, but not easy, and they require an open mind. This group did not disappoint! There were guides from all over the world and they jumped in with full hearts, it’s very brave really. We laughed and learned so much from each other.

After our workshop we all headed upstairs to the 107 Sky Lounge where we had drinks and food and the conversation was as lovely as the view.

As I write about this experience back home in Chicago, I’m so thankful. I’m thankful for Las Vegas and for my work. I’m thankful that I get to work with other tour guides who are just the best people on earth. And a huge thank you to Babs who went above and beyond and for welcoming me with open arms. And thank you to the beautiful guides of the Las Vegas Tourist Guide Guild who put themselves out there for a guide from Chicago.

THANK YOU Vegas! See you next time.