By Grace Burton, Third Year Social Policy and Politics
The Croft Magazine // Drinking is something we so often take for granted whilst travelling. Grace Burton considers her experience of hangxiety both at home and away.
Sobriety is not something we often talk about as students, especially whilst travelling. A pint in the hostel bar is always my first tip for solo travellers. The social lubrication that alcohol offers are not to be dismissed lightly; for those of us that are not naturally social butterflies it gives you the Dutch courage to step outside
However, those rounds of the local craft beer don’t always feel as great the next morning in a hot ten-bed hostel dorm room. The hangxiety is multiplied by not being at home in your own bed, debriefing the friends you’ve had forever about the fun you had, and mistakes you might have made the night before. Although drinking whilst travelling or being away from home can be an amazing way to see a city, or to connect with your new friends, it can sometimes feel like it is integral to having a good time.
Whilst recently exploring Dublin, I found this pressure to be drunk at the heart of so many of the conversations my boyfriend and I had in the city. Our discussion of the pros and cons of drinking for another night running, mimicking many conversations had with close friends at uni. The internal debate over whether another night out was worth inevitably missing the seminar we had the next day and causing our future selves to stress over the money wasted on VK’s. Dublin is a city known for great nightlife and a great pint of Guinness, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d have felt differently about it if I had travelled completely sober. It made me think about how much more I could have potentially seen if I’d felt fresh enough to get up and out of the hotel before 10am.
I had similar feelings whilst solo travelling, drinking too much to feel more comfortable and charismatic in front of near enough strangers in the hostel bar. Whilst I successfully made some incredible memories and great friends this way, I also found myself in some sticky situations when travelling alone.
Although, I don’t regret drinking whilst travelling in the past, when it comes from the right headspace it has led me to some amazing stories, like dancing on tables in The Hague or partying on the beaches of Byron Bay. That said, it has become so normalised to associate alcohol with socialising I almost forget the perfectly sober hikes or picnics in the sun, which were just as enriching, if not more so in my experience.
As you can tell, much like many people I haven’t figured out all the answers yet. The reality is the pressure to drink is something so many of us are continuously trying to make peace with.
This Sober October I haven’t stopped going for beers with friends, I have just tried to swap mine for a 0% alternative or a soft drink. I think the same can be done whilst travelling, remembering that for every crazy drunken story there can also be a sober hike or picnic on the other end of the scale.
Featured Image: By Grace Burton
Finding the right balance for you can be a journey but finding that balance is so important both at home and away.