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Editor’s Letter Summer 2024: On travel and triumph

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Uncategorized
| Spring
2024 |
Volume 3,
Issue 1

Editor’s Letter Summer 2024: On travel and triumph

No matter how much you love travel, making the transition to experiencing it alcohol-free can be daunting. This issue is dedicated to the strength that it takes to make this switch and the beautiful stories our writers shared about their experiences.

When we first set out to put together an issue about travel (the first of many, I hope) we imagined information about places to go, things to do, finding NA beverages, and more. On the surface, that is what we accomplished, but something far more beautiful quickly emerged, almost by accident, from the stories we collected: These are stories of determination, vulnerability, fitting in, standing out, growth, and triumph, told in oh-so-relatable ways. They are the stories of the threads that connect us all.

 

In this issue, Susie Streelman discusses the social awkwardness that is so common when first giving up alcohol and how she built a vibrant, globe-trotting community to address that issue. Heather Lowe tells us her moving story of learning to travel alcohol-free, and more importantly, learning to be present and joyful in those experiences (There and Back Again). Brigitta Dau shares her experiences with fitting in—and allowing her real self to shine—in the midst of new groups and new experiences (Let Your Banner Fly). Izzy van Zuilen shows us just how many wonderful opportunities are available for travel to exotic places with—and thanks to—like-minded sober people (Your Guide to Sober Retreats). Cara Strickland addresses the need to feel worthy nice things and experiences and being included as a non-drinker, even if it just means something tasty in your glass (You Can Take It With You).

 

I teared up multiple times reading through these articles. (I realize this is no surprise to anyone who knows me.) I remembered my first days of sobriety when I carried a can of Kin Spritz in my bag at all times (the only NA beverage I knew of and still a favorite) so I could feel a little less deprived and less like a pariah at social gatherings. I remember thinking I was the only one who ever had to go through such a thing—not the case, it turns out. I remember worrying endlessly about how I would never get to taste Scotch in Scotland since I was pregnant on my first visit and now sober. (This is no longer a worry. I’ll be too busy trying to create my own Outlander experience next time I visit.) Much like Heather Lowe (There and Back Again, p.28), I remember worrying about visiting France without wine, Champagne, Calvados, and a pack of Gauloises reminiscent of my 20s. Besides the fact that even the French don’t smoke as much as they used to, the answer is in Heather’s article: Not only will I do it, but I will love it even more, and so, I hope, will you.

 

So while this issue is about exploring near and far, it is also about our common human desire for love and connection, no matter where we go. It’s about being true to yourself, present in the moment, and enjoying it all for all it’s worth.

This summer I will be in Italy paying homage to my family’s heritage and remembering my parents while soaking up the warm rays of the Italian sun, eating lots and lots of delicious food, and searching for the best Italian NA beverages! I would love to hear your stories. Write to us, tag us at @after_af_mag, and if you find places that offer great alcohol-free beverages remember to tag @mocktail.quest in your videos for a chance to have your journeys featured on the MQ account!

 

Here’s to a beautiful summer full of sunny days, real emotions, cold alcohol-free beverages, connection, introspection, and loving yourself.

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