Sometimes you just need a whisky with your people


It’s no secret that we need our people. Even the most introverted person (and I have a little of that in me) needs people that ‘get’ them. My dog gets me. My wife gets me. I’m such a secret goofball that kids get me. Those friends I’ve held close for many years get me.  

Why do I bring this up? 

Remember those terrible weeks in early 2020 when we weren’t sure how big of a deal this COVID-19 thing was going to be? My wife and I were about to head home to Scotland for a couple weeks to see our people. She was flying out a week ahead of me. The day before her flight, she made the call that she wouldn’t go. It was a tough one because it meant losing her ticket (after 20+ hours on hold, we never managed to speak to anyone to reschedule). The day after her flight departed without her, all international travel ended.  

At the time she wasn’t an Australian citizen, just a permanent resident. Do you recall all the stories of Aussies stranded abroad? It would have been next to impossible for someone without citizenship to get back into the country. We’d have been separated for what, 18 months? Two years? Boy, near miss.  

You don’t need my personal story of COVID-life in the world’s most locked down city, but needless to say, I’m glad I had my most important person here. But there were a lot of other important people we hadn’t seen in years back in Scotland – and we were already overdue for a visit. 

As things started to open back up, it was hard to know when to make the call and finally jet off on our planned trip. In retrospect, we probably played it a little too safe and left it too long – but in October 2022 we got back to our people. 

It was a glorious 3 weeks of long anticipated reunions. Friends who had barely changed. Family who had changed a lot. There were many pints of ale consumed in Edinburgh pubs with old friends. We met brand new babies. We followed the familiar ritual of climbing the stairs to the sixth floor of tenement buildings (constructed before Australia was federated) to attend flat parties. I was trashed by my niece at mini golf and by my nephew at Fortnite. 


We toured the highlands, switching at impulse between distillery hopping and dropping in on old friends in nearby cities. We borrowed an extremely large campervan and spent nights playing rude Scrabble in a small pub on the isle of Islay, followed by days of whisky tastings with friends. We visited the sites of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ayrshire, Aviemore, Speyside, Aberdeen and Jura. And getting drenched while you camp on the beach? Well, that’s just how the Scots do.  


What a perfect antidote to the Covid-19 years. The only downside – it was exactly the kind of holiday that requires a holiday to recover from. A slightly less stormy beach will be in our future.