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A different, less fuzzy vacation awaits

When I was really young, I used to go visit my grandparents on a weekly basis.

My grandma and grandpa were the most interesting people in my world, mainly because of the stories they could tell. See, my grandparents were travelers. They would go places all over the world and come back with random artifacts for me to admire.

Since my grandparents had been to places such as Ireland, Turkey, Africa and southeast Asia, I definitely got some incredibly interesting gifts from them back in the day. I still have boxes of foreign coins (I loved coins when I was little), and I also had a shillelagh from Ireland my grandpa gave me to "beat off rabid dogs." I was always a history freak and still am.

Anyway, having my grandparents blood in me, I've come to love the opportunity to travel to different places, and Thursday, I'll once again be out of the country, traveling to Jamaica and Haiti, to see some new places.

My parents have given me the opportunity of going on a vacation every year since I was 14. I've been to Mexico, The Bahamas, Honduras and the Cayman Islands, and I'm looking forward to expanding my horizons this year. But, at the same time, I'm kind of worried about it.

The past two cruises aren't memories I necessarily love to remember. Being that I'm a drug addict, I spent the majority of the trips under the influence. I basically missed out on enjoying all of the awesome places I got to go to because I was too worried about drinking or getting high.

This year is a completely different scenario for me though. I've been sober for 65 days, and that old lifestyle is something I definitely have no ambition to go back to. But, I also know being in the Caribbean is definitely going to be a struggle for me, especially in the particularly vulnerable state early recovery leaves me in.

I'm looking forward to being able to actually enjoy a vacation this year, needing some time to get out of this crappy Minnesota weather to sit on warm sandy beaches. But, leaving here also means leaving my support system and having no way to contact anyone if I should struggle. I feel confident enough in myself to be able to handle it though.

The only other problem that comes with me leaving the country is missing school for two weeks. Normally you'd think a kid would be pumped to get to miss school, but I missed classes when I was in treatment, and I've only been out for three weeks, now I get to miss more school, which might jeopardizing my chances at graduating on time.

Come Thursday it will be time to leave all these worries behind me, because after all, I'm going to make sure I have a good time, and stress is not in the equation for that result.

Deep down, I know I'm really excited to get out of here and to be somewhere I've never been, and what better thing is there to experience sober?

Jonah Bowe is a senior at Detroit Lakes High School.