Mini Las Vegas

One of the truly wonderful perks of this position is the travel. And yes, I know what you’re probably thinking right now, “But, LeeDar, you’re working remotely! What on Earth do you mean ‘the travel’”. Hey now, that’s a very fair point, but being that I have the pleasure of working with the NPO in the Washington Office, I was able to join the team in Reno, Nevada for an NPO Retreat!

The one clear downside going into this whole trip was the travel: getting to Reno would require two flights each way. Going into it, I was excited though. I would get to tell my friends that I went to 3 different cities (Salt Lake City on the way there and Denver on the way back)! But of course, traveling to Reno ended up being a bit of a nightmare.

I made it through security and reached my gate only to receive a notification that my 6:30 pm flight had been delayed an hour. Now, normally, this would barely be an issue at all. This time though, my first flight being delayed by an hour meant that I wouldn’t make my second flight in time; moreover, that second flight from Salt Lake City to Reno was the last one of the night, meaning I’d be stuck in Salt Lake City without a flight set for Reno. The next few hours (as the flight got delayed further) were spent on the phone (mostly on hold) with Delta as I begged for clarity and solutions. Finally, a lovely woman named Anne put her foot down and said, “Don’t worry sweetie, I’m getting you to Reno”. That woman is my hero.

So, alas. I eventually took off from Newark to Salt Lake City at 10:30 pm Eastern Time and landed in Salt Lake City at about 12:15 am Central Time. Delta put me up in a hotel for the night and then bright and early I was off to the airport once more for my flight to Reno. It was nothing short of an immense relief when I did finally make it to Reno- there had been moments where I thought I would sooner go home and give up before I made it to this NPO Retreat.

And then there it was in front of me: Reno, Nevada- Mini Las Vegas.

The retreat itself was a wonderful time, filled with presentations, yes, but also an opportunity to network and meet the people in person with whom I spend so many of my working hours (virtually). It was awesome to get to spend more time with the BIL/IRA Coordination Team- the team of which I’m a part. Other RAs like Berk, Johnny, Sarina, Nina, Samantha, and Angela were all also there in the flesh!

Aside from the lovely dinners and lunches with my colleagues and friends, as well as a great game or two of bocce, the best part of this trip had to be going to Lake Tahoe! Several former RAs that I had befriended and I drove up to Lake Tahoe after our meetings on Thursday, our last day in Reno, and spent a few hours by the water. The Lake is simply magnificent- so large that looking across it feels like looking into a vast sea, the far side of the lake completely hidden from view. Despite the rather chilly wind that blew from the lake, the afternoon was a great one and it was wonderful not only to see the spectacle that is Lake Tahoe but get to create lasting memories with new friends.

After a week (Sunday to Friday) of learning, networking, and socializing, I regretfully had to return home but felt refreshed, having deepened my appreciation for my colleagues and created new, hopefully long-lasting connections and friendships.

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