I have only drank around 1 oz of alcohol my entire life. That 1 oz was even an accident at a college party involving a Sprite bottle that was not entirely Sprite. The reason I haven’t indulged before mostly comes down to a few factors. First, I never saw the appeal. Second, medical issues make it so I can’t really drink. Third, I like to be in my normal senses too much.
What does this have to do with traveling? Anyone who has read some of my other articles will know I recently took a trip to Ireland. The country of Ireland is known for many things, among them is its pub culture, Guinness, whisky, and general drunken debauchery. There were a few times where people were wondering why I myself did not drink, because there was more than once I may have been the only sober man in Dublin.
My normal response to why I do not drink tends to be something along the lines “I find it far more entertaining to observe people getting wasted than to be myself”. Most of the locals agreed with me on this topic, many of them got over the party scene long ago. I have done a good job making it so the fact I don’t drink has effected my social life as minimally as possible. I don’t think my amount of enjoyment of a night out has been harmed by not drinking.
So what are some benefits of not drinking? The first reason i would recommend not drinking is if you are in a less than safe city. Having your wits about you does help in case anything sketchy is to occur. You are far less likely to be in major danger if you are sober than drunk. That being said most cities are fine to drink in, and if you don’t go crazy you are safe 99% of cases. Keeping your faculties and the fact you will remember the night if a good reason not to go too crazy.
Secondly is the financial cost. Alcohol is expensive at bars, and you can easily rack up a large bill at some bars. Most of the time when I ask for a club soda with lime (my drink of choice at bars) or a sparkling water it is free. This is because many bars in the US give designated drivers free drinks to keep them from drinking and driving. I tend to order food to offset the not drinking when it comes to not being a free rider at the bar. If they don’t have a food menu I always tip the bartender like I was getting a regular drink. A night out for me though can be as low as about 15-20 dollars, which allows me to go out more often.
A third reason to not drink is that someone needs to do it. Most places you go in the US you likely drove there. Someone needs to not drink in order to drive the car, and make sure everyone gets home safe. Every group needs a DD, and like the tank of a dungeon group they are the person that makes sure no harm comes to the group, and everyone has a good time. Its this fact that makes it so that people still invite people who don’t drink out with them.
Before I mention my last reason why its good not to drink, there is one major reason why it is a good idea to drink. If you are the sober guy at the bar some people may view you with suspicion. It is a little weird to be in a setting where people normally are drinking, and to not do that thing. Most people are respectful of the choice, but that does not stop people from questioning it. Thankfully few people are going to argue with medical issue when you tell them why you don’t drink.
There is however a way to mitigate suspicion, and believe it or not the State Department uses it. If you get a drink that looks like alcohol and just hold it, few people are going to even question your drink. Looking like you are playing along is just as important as actually drinking. The State Department encourages its diplomats to drink as little as possible. Being drunk in a diplomatic setting is not a good idea, and it is also a place where being fully there is a good idea. My drink of Club soda with lime is an example of a drink that people will just assume is a vodka tonic or something similar. This makes it so your average observer won’t be able to tell as quickly.
There is also something to be said for moderation. One or two beers with dinner never hurt anyone. Drinking responsibly with friends can make for a good night. It should be noted for most Americans though that European alcohol is higher proof, so take that into account. There is little harm in drinking inherently, it is only when done to excess it becomes a problem.
The last big perk of not drinking is that you don’t get a hangover. Being able to get up and get back to work is important if you are travel writing, and nobody wants to be hungover on a long hike. I have never been hungover personally, but I have met many people who after a long night have been. It is just easier to get going the next day without drinking the night before.
There is a note to be had for this blog with this as well. I can easily write about nightlife, but something you won’t find will be bar crawl guides or where to get a good pint. I plan on writing food articles (lookout for one this Friday) But I won’t be reviewing the alcohol at the places I go, unless a friend of mine tells me how their drink was or something similar. I do not find this to be a large limitation on the ability to talk about food when traveling..
I have always lived by a principal of live and let be when it comes to many things. If what you are doing does not harm others, they have little to no say in what you do.There is nothing wrong with someone going out to the bar with friends after work and having a few drinks. For me I have made a personal choice, and that choice is not the right choice for everyone. I love spending time with people at bars, they are a fun place to be; so what if I don’t drink?
As always hope you enjoyed reading,
Go With The Winds.
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