The alarm blaring at me once again and I spasm into consciousness.
Where am I?
What day is it?
This has become my morning routine and no, it’s not just when I travel and today was certainly no exception. I gather my things in my little room and prepare for the next leg of my trip. I have to get to the airport extra early as I am to have my 90 day review. Perfect. After a solid week of meetings and showing some of my higher ups some key accounts at night it only seems appropriate to wake up at 5 am to be sure to have time to fit this call in. luckily, in these short 90 days I have become quite adept in quickly navigating airports.
The rest of my morning is of no real consequence. The 90 day call came and went and I try to make as much sense from it as humanly possible whilst trying to skillfully find where the hell I was going. I board the plane and simply wait to get out of here and into San Antonio. I am halfway through my trip and to say I am tired would be like saying a shot to the nuts “smarts a little”.
Then our song comes on.
I try maintain a sense of calmness but my guts feel like they are being tickled in that way that makes you helpless to the discomfort. My jaw clenches and I can feel the water begin to well up in my eyes. Maybe it’s the stress of it all, maybe I do miss my wife that much or maybe I just want to say “fuck this” and go back to my simple life I had just a few short years ago. I’m not sure but for some reason I feel shameful for letting this moment sneak up me. I hate myself for feeling this lost in my own world that seems to have grown to an unimaginable size.
I have been a whiskey man for quite some time. When I got married a few years ago I quickly realized that I wasn’t challenging myself enough. A friend of mine charged me with the challenge to write a book and for as much as I wanted to I really had no idea what to write about. I could never write a book about the history of whiskey because I could never live up to the ones that have done it already. I could never write a cocktail book because I am not nearly as talented and creative as those that continue to shape our beloved industry.
So what then?
Perhaps the answer is not building on greatness of intellectuals but pulling out a private collection of stories and safe places and simply offering it as a truce. Music, books, pictures and other assorted personal tomes I bring with me on every trip keep me from tearing up. If I get nervous, which is often, I can always rely on these things in my pockets to remind me that I’m never too far into the oblivion of growth. This is not about thinking, this is about guts and determination. When that moment comes when happiness meets exhaustion and that favorite song plays privately how will you handle the goosebumps turning to tears?
I’m not trying to be cocky, I’d really like to know. Quite frankly it has happened to me more than I should be admitting. It’s when I sit alone in the airport on my way home meditating and reflecting on my trip that I always seem to realize how much work I still have to do. I have no safe place anymore and familiarity is invented with each new city. When my jaw is unclenched after choking back the embarrassing moments of loneliness all that remains is the distilled version of myself. What is it like being a whiskey ambassador?
Well, this is just the next chapter in a book I unknowingly started writing a long time ago.