May 30, 2024


Tour For Your Life

Condé Nast Traveler

Faced With a Birthday Alone, I Took Myself to Graceland

But my mild-hearted obsession with the King’s music and videos took on new importance for me a number of yrs later on, when my younger brother unexpectedly passed absent at age six. He experienced shared my love of Elvis, albeit to a marginally lesser degree, and we’d put in many evenings singing and dancing to “Burning Like.” In the wake of his loss of life, I located myself achieving for Elvis’s music in a new way. I later understood that when I was confronted with a obstacle, I could convert to Elvis to get me by way of. I performed “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” on repeat after my very first heartbreak, and imagine of my brother any time I hear “Lord Almighty, truly feel my temperature rising” blaring through speakers.

Inside of the dwelling home at Graceland

Gabby Shacknai

A assortment of The King’s hundreds of bedazzled jumpsuits

Gabby Shacknai

It seemed only fitting that I would search for Elvis’s firm on this new cornerstone of adulthood. 

Flash forward from a test-in at The Guest Property at Graceland, to a shuttle previous the estate’s renowned gates loaded with messages for The King, and I was at Elvis’s front doorway in the dead of August—with a pair of headphones participating in an audio tour narrated by massive Elvis enthusiast John Stamos. 

I pushed earlier the overcrowded lobby, Stamos whispering into my ears, and started to take up it all. In the dwelling place, a stunning white grand piano flooded my creativeness with photographs of Elvis serenading his close friends and spouse and children. In the dining space, I observed Elvis and Priscilla’s marriage china, which nevertheless sits atop the desk, prior to passing the famed staircase to Elvis’s private dwelling quarters, which keep on being shut to site visitors nowadays as they had been when he was alive. In the kitschy Jungle Room, with its eclectic, tropical furnishings inspired by Elvis’s time in Hawaii—like a constructed-in waterfall, and eco-friendly shag carpet on equally the flooring and ceiling—I noticed where by the musician expended most of his time and even recorded the bulk of his previous two albums.

As I wandered by means of Graceland’s other constructions, like the trophy setting up which houses countless halls of Presley memorabilia, and the racquetball setting up, where by Elvis included a tailor made court to the house in 1975, I was in authentic awe. Very first, of the sheer spectacle of how this gentleman lived, but also the enormous fat his everyday living carried for so many some others. I was not exceptional in my unbridled love of the guy. 

When gawking at hundreds of bedazzled jumpsuits, and indulging in photo opps I’d normally deride—including an AR-driven photograph booth that positioned me on Elvis’s legendary motion picture posters—I promptly befriended other people, some of whom had been there for the 17th or 18th time.

By a stroke of luck, I was born a mere two days—and 19 years—after Elvis died, so heading to Graceland for my birthday also meant overlapping with Elvis 7 days, a celebration held each and every calendar year on the anniversary of his demise. As I entered the lodge banquet space for the yearly Farewell Celebration on the night of my birthday, feathers, sequins, and shiny lights all all over, I spotted a common deal with from before in the working day: an Ohio woman named Tamara, who arrived to Elvis Week each 12 months. I joined her for a hearty Southern meal and an animated performance by an Elvis Tribute Artist, prior to sojourning to the film theater for a screening of “Viva Las Vegas.” As the crowd hooted and hollered when a young Elvis graced the large monitor and sang alongside to his musical flirtations with Ann-Margret, I realized I was right to come to Graceland by yourself. I no extended felt the absence of my family members and close friends I had surely located my people today, at minimum for the day. 

I experienced also, for the to start with time in a extensive time, done one thing completely and utterly for myself. I didn’t glimpse to the people in my everyday living to share my really like of Elvis or even affirm it, and I did not really feel upset when they, inevitably, didn’t get it. 

I may perhaps have arrived in Memphis alone, uncertain of what the working day would maintain, and fearful that I’d designed a awful blunder, but I left with a renewed perception of self—not to mention a several Elvis t-shirts and some outrageous souvenir pics picked up alongside the way.