Hola Sober April 2024

At one point I remember hanging off a giant stiletto by the strap of my new Topshop (RIP) jumpsuit. How I got there was a bit of a mystery. I’d just won lots of cash playing Craps with a gentleman who could only be described as ‘from the wrong side of the tracks’ and who clearly had more problems than I did (hello legitimised binge-drinking - my problems aren’t as bad as his, so I must be fine). I was euphoric, my jumpsuit strap fully broken and flapping about under the fierce air conditioning of the Bellagio foyer, but elated with the $352 dollars stuffed down my knickers because of course, I’d lost my bag. This is living, I thought! If I’m honest, I don’t think I’d ever been on a holiday that I had enjoyed as an adult. Rather than being a real break, it tended to be an extended exercise in controlling daily and fully legitimized holiday drinking. The internal struggle when offered a ‘cheeky lunchtime beer’ by the pool: if I drink now, will I still be around to see cocktail hour? Or will I pass out? Will I make it through dinner? Maybe just one beer now, then I’ll slow down and have another at 4 pm, that’s surely going to give me the best chance of a good outcome. As ever, I’d wake up at 3 am panicked, mouth dry, in unfamiliar surroundings, and unable to remember the evening, with the usual feeling of dread. That would go on for days, until it was finally time to undertake the anxious journey back, arriving home f*cked, not fresh. This was not the holiday I’d had in mind when I left. But let’s be honest, it’s what I knew was going to happen. The simplicity of a great holiday was, for me, the most complex thing about it. To truly enjoy simple pleasures in life you need to be present, focused, and calm. Not a state alcohol induces in anyone to my knowledge. When it comes down to it, a great holiday is a combination of a few simple things that can be quickly destroyed with an anxious hangover or Pina Colada-driven blackout. Where you stay, the people you’re with, the opportunity for new and enriching experiences, rest, and great food and drink - these are the core elements of a really good holiday. And that’s what we’re committed to delivering at Salty Bird Alcohol- Free Holidays.


For many people in early or even later sobriety, holidays can present specific challenges because many of the people you know or holiday with probably still drink, and the lure of cocktail hour and a beautiful sunset is hard to ignore. Surrounding yourself with like-minded, sober-curious friends who are committed to fun without the booze is the first step to an excellent trip. Building authentic bonds with other people takes a little longer than it might if you were boozing, but the results have so much more value and longevity. This is especially true in a smaller group where you have time to get to know each other.


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