I have always enjoyed getting out-of-town, travel, and the road not taken. The first travel my wife and I ever did together was an 18-day, no expressway, blue highway road trip from Mississippi to Colorado and back. My favorite remembrance from that trip is a picture of her standing in a field of sunflowers. I still have that photo in my campus office. One of our favorite road trips was the north-south two-lane Road to Nowhere from Texas to North Dakota. In sobriety I have traveled throughout much of the U.S. on those same back roads. For work, pleasure, and mission, I have traveled to Turkey, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador, and out to the Galápagos Islands. At the advanced age of 60 plus, last year I began a collaborative project in the highlands of Peru that I intend to continue so long as I am physically able to sleep on a dirt floor in 32 degree nighttime temperatures without heat. All of the above is a blessing of sobriety.
I traveled a good bit during me pre-recovery days too. I remember being enraged at my partner at the time for having the nerve to schedule a whitewater rafting trip in a dry county of West Virginia. What I recollect most from a trip to Ireland and England was going through an entire bottle of Jameson’s one day in Irish Coffee, and at one pub being lectured to by an angry bartender “What you want is a pint of bitter, not bitters.” On a road trip to Minnesota before I was 21, I made certain to stock up on fifths of bourbon as I did not want to possibly run into problems with underage drinking away from my regular suppliers at home. On a trip to visit old drinking friends in rural Yakima Washington, I faked an excuse to cut the trip short, but actually just sat in a Seattle hotel room bar drinking for two days because my friends no longer drank and they had kids that screamed all day. Consuming alcohol is what I remember most about these trips.
Comparing my travel before and after is another reason I choose to live in recovery today.