I saw a thread floating around on Facebook about traveling backpackers. I laughed. A lot of that pertains to me. I miss traveling.
But the bits about drinking got me wondering if traveling sober well be difficult for me. It is easy to tell myself “you will save so much money without drinking” but bars do tend to be a natural habitat for backpackers. I used to pick out places to eat in the backpacker areas based on the drink specials. I avoided hostels that did not allow alcohol consumption. If a hostel sold beers, I sometimes had the highest tab by the end of the night. I spent one Christmas Eve getting drunk at an elephant camp in Thailand with other travelers and the guide was shocked that I drank more beers than anyone. Even the German guys. Beer really was cheapest beverage in some countries. That was my excuse when I kept getting drunk in Czech Republic.
I need to remind myself of the times I put my life at risk by getting drunk in other countries. The times I got lost or went home with strangers. The times I lost my wallet or passport. The time I almost got arrested in Mexico or ran nude in Muslim countries. I never drove drunk in other countries because I rarely drove in other countries. (Though once I drove from Tijuana to San Diego after a lot of tequila shots for lunch. I was so worried the border patrol guard would smell my breath but he was more concerned I wasn’t smuggling people.)
I have a trip planned in August to Portugal. I am a little nervous. It is my birthday gift to myself. I am already planning to spend the day at art museums and then a nice dinner. As of now, I will be spending it alone. I keep skipping the parts of my guide book that mention clubs and bars. In the past, I would go to bars alone in strange cities. I would sit and observe. And drink. I am hoping I will be able to stay strong and sober while traveling.
Mistake 119- I was staying at a hostel in Melbourne, Australia. I bought a bottle of abstinthe that day. I was so excited because it was still illegal in the United States. I remember I did not know how to drink it properly. I was mixing it with juice and some Gatorade type of drink. I got trashed on it by myself. I met a cute Swedish guy somewhere in the hostel. Either in the kitchen or common area. For some reason, I think it might have been by the soda machine. I don’t remember much except we ended up having sex in his dorm room. We were on the top bunk. He had 3 upset roommates. I told some friends about it the next day and everyone said “that is dorm life!” I spent the rest of my stay wondering if any guys giving me strange looks were his dormmates. Never talked to the guy again.