I know you’re probably tired of hearing it, but 2020 was different. It changed so many things about the daily interactions and events of our lives. Proms were cancelled. Graduations and weddings were held virtually. Expectant mothers celebrated their new little ones online and we all experienced Zoom fatigue. We were trying to navigate the same roiling sea of confusion and uncertainty, but some of us were navigating it in a cruise ship while others were navigating it on that piece of board Leo put Kate on in Titanic. Others of us slipped beneath the water like Leo. We gained and we lost a lot.

One of the things we lost was the ability to travel freely. Everything came to an abrupt stop and all of our vacation plans evaporated into thin air. Flights were cancelled, cruise ships were docked, airports were ghost towns full of the memory of travel fatigue and travel excitement. Cities ground to a halt, standing eerily silent.

We were lucky to have traveled to Kentucky in February 2020, before the pandemic hit the United States in full force. Stephanie gifted Jason a bottle your own bourbon experience at Angel’s Envy for his birthday which was scheduled to take place during the trip. We also had tickets to watch our Louisville Cardinals play NC State and were there to celebrate the unveiling of a portrait of one of our friends and Jason’s fraternity brother. It was a wonderful trip full of basketball, friends, celebrations, and new bourbon experiences. It is also the trip that more than doubled our bourbon collection as we came back with hauls from Westport Whiskey and Wine, Costco and some drive-through liquor stores (YES, THIS IS A THING. A BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL THING IN KENTUCKY) in Louisville and at the Total Wine, Christy’s and Toddy’s in Knoxville. We came back, exhilarated, excited and planning additional trips.

Less than a month later, all travel plans were cancelled and we were stuck in the house with our growing bourbon collection. We became Certified Bourbon Stewards, began hosting virtual tasting events and as summer started to come to a close, decided to take the safest trip possible to find some fun as the months inside started to wear on. We ventured to Red River Gorge where we spent our evenings in a beautiful cabin and our days bourbon hunting in Lexington, Richmond, Louisville, and Frankfort. We visited Buffalo Trace Distillery, stocked up on E.H. Taylor, found a $40 1.75L of Weller Special Reserve at Kroger, and came home with a car full of bourbon hoping no one rear ended us.

We found fun in 2020 through our love of bourbon. We found fun through the edutainment events we hosted, the flights we curated ourselves and the long list of bourbons we were popping open. Joy was hard to find in 2020, but through bourbon, we found succeeded. How did you find joy  in 2020?