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There And Back Again: Finding yourself wherever you are

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Magazine Archives
| Summer
2024 |
Volume 3,
Issue 2

There And Back Again: Finding yourself wherever you are

Sobriety coach and advocate Heather Lowe shares the story of her journey to discovering herself, learning to be present in the moment, and falling even more in love with travel without the alcohol.

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

-Anonymous

I’ve always had an immense eagerness to explore the world—you could say I was born with it. Family lore told of my quick arrival at birth that surprised even the doctor, and I’ve had a sense of curiosity and adventure ever since. Growing up as a small-town girl in Wisconsin, family vacations usually involved road trips in our camper and time in the woods around a campfire. My first airplane ride was at age twelve when my family attended a wedding at the St. Jerome Hotel in Aspen. I was wide-eyed with wonder at this magical destination. It affirmed life outside my 100-mile hometown radius, and a spark was lit. Grander travel was in store for me. I wanted to see the world!

 

In college, I was envious of the girls who returned from Spring Break with suntans and tiny braids, swapping stories about drinking cervezas at swim-up bars in Mexico. I promised myself that I would get there someday and eventually I did. My first international trip was my honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta at age 25. My equally adventurous husband and I fell in love with exploring the world outside the resort, interacting with locals, eating cactus (me), and ordering a whole fish with bones (him). Our nights included endless rounds of tequila shots at Señor Frogs offered up by enthusiastic waiters who commanded us to drink, blowing whistles like drill sergeants. We reported for duty until we moved up the ranks into drunken stupors.

 

Our second trip together was to Italy, this time feeling more grown-up ordering casual glasses of wine in the afternoon. Years that followed involved more travel with both my husband and with friends. For my 30th birthday, I left my then one-year-old baby for the first time and enjoyed a celebration in the Bahamas with girlfriends. I was drunk in a string bikini every day, enjoying the temporary freedom from motherhood. A decade later, I traveled to Costa Rica with these same friends and our growing families. This time, as a 40-year-old mother of two, I tried to moderate my drinking. One night, it got away from me. I was put to bed early and awoke to the fear that I had done something wrong and that everyone was mad at me. This was becoming an awful, familiar feeling in my life. To protect myself from the dread and shame, I started distancing myself from my friends and family, an invisible wall between us built by alcohol.

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There And Back Again: Finding yourself wherever you are

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