First Solo Sober Trip: San Pancho, Narayi

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I did the unthinkable. I traveled without booze. Wow.

The key to my first solo sober trip was to be prepared to look at my drinking habits more closely. Traveling has always been a good environment for getting to the roots of my life's difficulties at home. However, in the past, I was unwilling to look at the real hard root. Drinking too much alcohol. Left to my own demons, I’d be drunk and high 24/7.

Being able to take myself out of my daily routines I was able to look at my drinking habits more closely.

For example, one of my favorite things to do when traveling was to take a canteen with me to restaurants, bars, coffee shops, to ensure I could, at any point, take a roadie with me when I left an establishment. So… I still took my canteen, a Corkcicle bottle, with me and asked the waiter for their mocktail recommendations. The homemade Aguas in Mexico are better than any tequila I have ever tasted.

I would order a couple of mocktails and pour my last one in my canteen and fill the rest with sparkling water. I then walked around as I used to do, but this time I was rather alert, engaged and interested. Unlike having a canteen full of booze a canteen full of sparkle is much more fun. Truly. I never thought I would feel and think this to be true.

I also hide chocolate from myself (I know, weird, but hey, I'm an alcoholic) in the closet. I’d get up from reading a book in bed and take a bite into sea salt, caramel, chocolate bar (yum!). In fact, I was not aware of my habit of hiding sweets. It was not until I got sober that I realized I used to hide wine in the guestroom and sake in my tea. Like a rebel without a cause; there’s something oddly fulfilling in thinking I am being sneaky. So, for now, I will hide the chocolate and pretend I did not finish an entire bar in one night. Ha!

The most difficult habit to break, I thought, were the long hours held up at a bar doing nothing but talking nonsense with strangers and pretending to be fascinating. Boring! Fucking Boring! My days in San Pancho were active. I was doing interesting activities rather than thinking that psychoanalyzing myself and the world at a bar, for hours, days, my entire holiday was an interesting activity. Again. Boring!

My first solo sober trip was to San Pancho, Nayari, Mexico.

The moment I set a fast wheel outside the Puerto Vallarta airport and began my descent north, I was amazed by the Mexican jungle I found myself in. I highly recommend landing during the day so that you can see the outside during the drive north. The coast of Narayi is a hidden gem. It’s Mexico meets jungle and the jungle meets spice.

I have traveled throughout the country of Mexico, my entire life, both as a native and also as a gringa. Having visited states such as Guanajuato, Michoacan, Jalisco, Yucatan, Baja and a one-hundred mile radius around El D.F. I did not think I could continue to be impressed by this fabulous of a country.

Until Narayi.

I stayed at a woman-owned and operated hotel, Maraica, where the bar was not the center point of the resort. There was no back wall full of interesting mezcal, tequila, and wine to fantasize over. Instead, there were hammocks, sun, a jungle, and peace. There is so much talented bodywork in this area, which I highly recommend.

Given that I am an alcoholic I intensely love body highs. There are many ways to get a quick fix that does not involve alcohol; aerial yoga, surfing (one of the most recommended places in the Pacific Coast to learn how to surf is Playa La Lancha), affordable massages, pilates and of course running. Instead of hot yoga, I did several sessions of hot running. Amazing!

I read my way through the book, Drop the Rock, which is utterly insightful. One of the most difficult things in early sobriety for me has been finding the tools to begin altering my character detects. This book gave me a starting point. Going from being reactive to thoughtful in the moment is my life’s work and now I have a starting point.

There is nothing sexier than owning my feelings and emotions, at the moment, and not vomiting out every single emotion, that passes through my body, thinking it appears as sexy passion. Wrong. Sexy passion is comfort and easy with my feelings, not a cry for “look at me, I am full of color and passion.” Gross.

There was a huge relief to know that not only do I not need to drink when I travel, but it does not enhance my experience. I never thought this was possible. As a travel junkie, I married both the booze and the travel as if I could not do one without the other.

My fear that I would never again have fun when traveling has lifted. This makes me want to cry because for the past 14 months I had resigned into thinking that travel was a thing of the past. Something I did in early adulthood and now that I am sober I would sit at home and watch endless hours of Mr. Robot and join him in his lonesome agony.

I am so excited to have initiated by sober travels. Hooray! I can not wait to see the world with a clear head and a sober attitude.

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