It's been a minute since I've done one of the "Wino Confessions", a collection of blog posts that are equal parts ramblings and revelations I have about the hospitality industry. Most times they are reflections of pivotal moments in my career. Usually spilling over with melancholy and bound to ingrain a sound bite of wisdom into your day. Maybe I'll start a podcast, but only include the hilarious moments of my career----have you ever been the alibi for a businessman having an affair at your hotel bar? I was for three years. Let that image sink in and chuckle with me because there's more where that came from!
Enough with the humor. I'm hopping back into the syrupy sweet, emotional monologue now. I've had the opportunity to do more traveling recently for, dare I say it, fun! Normally my travel excursions the past few years have been heavily attached to my professional life. Whether it was a taskforce assignment for a hotel brand or a collaboration event with other businesses, it was always work related. The reason I bring that up is because I'm grateful for the traveling, whether for business or pleasure. A recent trip to Chicago (my 2nd one in less than 6 months which means an obsession is brewing) reminded me of how much I cherish trips, not just because of the AMAZING itinerary I put together, but because of how my connection to the hospitality industry influences said itinerary.
I'm grateful for having built relationships with professionals who get me. Professionals who are just as excited about dissecting a beverage program or getting elbows deep in a restaurant's entire menu. They give me the inside scoop on places to check out or hotels to stay in during my trips. Sometimes they reach out on my behalf, and they coordinate special moments via their contacts in the city I'm in. Our journey as professionals in this field is built on the relationships we cultivate along the way. Not just our regulars & clients, but the skilled individuals we bump shoulders with while in the trenches of our career. They grow to be a support system for us, encouraging us along the way.
I say all that about trips to say this: I'm eternally grateful to be at a point in my career where I get to watch friends in the industry go on to do incredible things that make me reflect on where they started. Some have gone on to become named "Somm of the Year". Others have become apprentices for winemakers. Some have even opened restaurant and bar concepts of their own. I'm grateful for the hoops they have had to jump through, the people who underestimated them, and their dedication to excellence in everything they do. I'm grateful for the first-class ticket I received to travel this road with them is one I wouldn't trade for anything.
The greatest trip doesn't culminate at the destination, rather, it reaches its peak during the journey there, and I'll forever show gratitude for every soul it brings onto my path.