Let me start this off by saying, if you do drink when you travel this post is not to shame you or make you change your ways at all. I had a lot of amazing times travelling when I would drink and I also don’t regret nor would change any of those. It’s also important to mention that I’m sure I will drink while travelling again at some point (maybe just to cover my ass? Haha). Nothing has to be definite or final, choices you make can be fluid and you can still be proud of each one.
Not drinking while travelling started in Indonesia 2 years ago, this will now be my 3rd trip where I decide for all or a part of it I won’t drink. In Indonesia the decision to not drink can’t even be credited to me, it was my friend Ness who decided for herself and I jumped on her wagon. It started willingly but did not continue that way, I went through many times where I felt frustrated. It’s easy for the thought to go through your mind “What does it matter if I have one drink, it’s not like I have a drinking problem. This is ridiculous”. Thank goodness Ness is an amazing friend and knew exactly how to handle me at the time, as I’m sure it wasn’t always easy. A couple weeks into the trip I stop thinking about drinking, or what I was missing out on at bars and we had an amazing trip full of exploring, diving, yoga.
I don’t think I have a problem with drinking by any means, I don’t drink every day and will go easily a week or two without touching alcohol. In saying that, during the peak of the golf season (May-Sept), anybody that works in the golf industry can attest it is very stressful and trying. We are working with Mother Nature who is unpredictable and golfers who have minimal compassion, wanting top conditions at all times no matter what.
I know that I can get into a cycle where a trying day can be relieved with a glass of wine. While I don’t think this is critically harmful it is known that when you dull senses of stress, anxiety and sadness with substances – whether it be alcohol, your phone, drugs, sleep – it makes it hard to feel the opposite of those emotions, happiness, elation, joy, etc and I have been subject to that. I am very guilty when it comes to sleep, if I am super stressed (maybe a break up, money thoughts, work, etc) I know I am prone to just going home and napping the afternoon away. With the early mornings it is also very easy to justify as getting up at 5am also just makes you tired. But deep down I can know the reasons I am either drinking or sleeping; and if because I don’t want to be carrying around the discomfort of the day then that is different then having a glass of wine to enjoy it or napping because I’m just tired. I am choosing to disconnect from my emotions rather than dealing with them.
Ok, enough rambling, let me get to the point. I have realized that the moments I have had drinking are many times, a ton of fun, meeting new people, not being as uptight, dancing, etc, BUT I have had a couple moments of complete consciousness where all of a sudden the world stops and I feel everything is completely perfect. One was in Indonesia, diving with Ness where I looked over at her and we had so many fish in between us we could hardly see each other and we waved, another was in Hawaii snorkelling and a giant sea turtle came up and swam beside me for what felt like an eternity, another was after a long hike in Australia coming out to a cliff looking out over the ocean, one was in Thailand where I met a puppy I brought home. I figured out that every single one of these moments were when I had not been drinking for awhile and my senses felt completely different. We are all searching for those moments in some way but we get caught in quick satisfactions that we know we can attain immediately.
I have no intention of completely cutting out alcohol but I think it is important to challenge yourself sometimes to gain a perspective on why you drink and how it is affecting you. Even this trip, for the first four or five days it was definitely noticeable that I was conscious of the fact that I was trying not to drink. The difference between giving up and giving in is you don’t get to know what is on the other side of the craving when you don’t submit to it. This can heavily be directed towards technology and our phones as well, as that is a very similar addiction to alcohol and other substances.
Being self aware is something I strive for and I wanted to share some of my thoughts and reasoning behind deciding to not drink while travelling.
Peace and love xoxo