I’ve always been an over thinker, a predictor of the future. Before every situation, I’ve already pictured it in my mind & thought of all the possible disasters that could happen. I’ve always been this way & guess the reason is because when things work out well, I can feel a sense of relief that things were not as bad as I thought!

I’ve been so lucky to have visited this area in France many times over the last 20 years as my friends family have a holiday home here. On my first holiday here, I was aged about 19 with 5 girlfriends. It was boozy. We drank on the plane & on the way to the house & spent a good chunk of our holiday money on ‘supplies’ to last the week at the local supermarket & then drank nearly all of it in one night! After that, I’ve come with many different sets of friends & gained the (undisputed) reputation as the one who got pissed in the daytime. Some of our friends would do yoga by the pool & some would go for a run. Some would swim a lot or find somewhere to play tennis. But not me .. I’d be the one opening the Sancerre at midday or whipping up a Sangria. 

I’ve never really ‘moved’ much whilst I’m here. I would tend to get on the sun bed and the only travel I would make would be to the fridge. Despite coming here so much, I have never really had a clue where I’m going beyond the house as someone else was always driving & I had no real desire to explore.

This time is so different. All the things I thought would be massive triggers have not bothered me in the slightest. Unnecessary worry. You don’t ‘need’ a drink at the airport .. in fact, obstacles that are put in your way are far more easily dealt with sober, with a clear head. 

You don’t ‘need’ drink on the plane. Plane wine is abysmal anyway and costs the Earth. I had water & a kip. 

If I had drunk the night before travelling out of sheer excitement, then drank at the airport then on the plane, I would’ve arrived at the house feeling shocking. Instead, although tired & a teeny bit stressed, I was in much better shape sober.

I’ve been lucky that my friends I’m staying with are not drinking much although it really wouldn’t bother me if they were. But it does make it easier not to think about the ‘what ifs’ & just enjoy my precious time. 

I had also thought that the French would frown upon someone who didn’t drink their national delicacy but in fact, I’ve seen lots of cocktails ‘sans alcohol’ & the supermarket is packed with alcohol free alternatives. 

The timetable here is so different on a sober time zone. We’ve been getting up early to walk .. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a sunrise here before unless it was an extra late bed time. I’ve also rarely been up before anyone else in the past .. I was usually the last to stagger out of my dark, shuttered hole complaining of feeling sick. I’ve also never been to bed to early however the combination of walking loads first thing & the heat means you’re fit for nothing beyond 10pm. Unbelievable!

So in summary, all of the things I worried about were just a figment of my overactive imagination. We can cleverly think we need to throw alcohol in the mix because that’s what we’ve always done, what everyone else does. But actually there is a lot of life beyond alcohol. There’s a whole world out there beyond the cocktail jug & the sun bed. A whole lot more hours available to enjoy everything France has to offer. I can honestly say I think I have enjoyed this holiday far more than others before because it actually feels like a holiday, a chance to recoup, to recharge the batteries and be kind to myself.