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aren't gas stations amazing?!

Happy Hump Day!! Even with the shortened week, you’re halfway through it! If you didn't get a chance to read yesterday's post - “conversations with strangers and #basic meals” - you can catch up by clicking here now! Also, if you didn’t get the chance to vote for me to be the next #MaximCoverGirl, you can click here to vote or click here to read about why it’s important to me (and then vote!). You can vote once every twenty-four hours, and I’d be so grateful for your support! Otherwise, let's pick up where we left off in Dublin! Strap in, it’s time for some adventure (or, at least, some material you can use to tease me at a later date... hey, it's a win/win)!

Ever since I found my Frank’s Red Hot and realized I had access to an abundance of Kerrygold, settling into Dublin felt a little bit easier. I started to notice more things that made a big world feel smaller, including the T.K. Maxx from yesterday’s post. I’ve talked about this with some of my friends who have done solo travel, and it’s amazing just how profound an effect seeing familiar places and having some familiar foods around can have on your mood.

It’s not all that different than re-experiencing a childhood favorite as an adult. The food that gets you through a lonely spell while traveling isn’t usually something gourmet or extravagant, it’s usually an option like the pasta dish I mentioned in yesterday’s post or finding yourself at a McDonald’s in Vienna because you’re feeling a bit lonely and nothing sounds better than french fries. (Side note: The Vienna McDonald’s example is a true story about me from a solo trip I did through Germany, Austria, and France back in 2012. Also, I promise you I am not hungry while writing this blog… it’s just a phenomenon I’ve noticed while traveling that has come up in many conversations.) I admit that the first couple weeks adjusting to Dublin (since I was also training for the Dublin Half Marathon) consisted of a lot of omelets with Frank’s Red Hot, toast with Nutella, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and pasta dinners with fresh veggies. I can actually track now when I’m fully adjusted to a new place based on the rotation of foods I’m eating. It’s pretty funny, actually.

I mentioned in a previous post that running was a nice way for me to get my bearings in my new neighborhood, and I mentioned above that I’d been training for the Dublin Half Marathon when I first arrived in Ireland. One of my early runs took me in the opposite direction of Trinity and would be a route I would get used to walking on a weekly basis to get myself over to one of the gyms where my basketball league played. On this particular run, I ended up passing a Circle K, which immediately reminded me of how excited I was when I moved to LA and saw my very first Circle K (they're all over now, but they didn't used to be!). I immediately thought of that moment in LA and how much I loved Bill and Ted, and a bit farther down on my run, I ran by a pub that served Sierra Nevada. In that one run early on in my move, I managed to find two separate landmarks that reminded me of home in California: a(n Irish) Circle K and a pub serving Sierra Nevada, a California beer (also served at my cousin’s San Diego wedding way back when.. multiple moves and two kids ago to be exact). Seeing these landmarks and being able to have a small comfort like Frank’s Red Hot truly reaffirmed to me at the time that I was going to be ok in this fun new version of my life.

Have you had any similar experiences while traveling where passing a familiar gas station or housing some McDonald’s french friends was just the thing that reminded you enough of home to get you over a bump or through a bout of travel loneliness? I’d love to hear about it, seriously! I’ve had so many friends who have had similar experiences, and once we trade stories, we ended up cracking up over how we swore we’d never eat McDonald’s again… until it’s 11 PM in Vienna and you just can't eat (nor do you want) any more schnitzel. Take it from me, there's a schnitzel limit. If something like this has happened to you, I’d sincerely love to know! Subscribe in the e-mail submission box below and reach out, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so happy you're here and that I’ve been getting a lot of really great, fun-to-read stories, questions, and feedback from a community all over the globe from all different chapters of my life (and from people I don’t know *yet*)! The other stories of people’s travels that I’ve gotten to read via e-mail, text, tweet, DM, etc. recently bring me such smiles, and I am so grateful for all of it! I hope I get to hear all about the crazy stories you’ve been thinking about as we’ve been on this virtual journey together! Especially during this time of uncertainty and pandemic, it's important to surround yourself with things and people (via video chats) that bring you joy; we're all in this together. I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, truly, thank you.



P.S. - If you want to catch up from the beginning on this series of adventures, here's a cheat sheet to the posts (in order in which they were published):

#maxim #maximcovergirl2020 #maximcovergirl #maximmagazine #maximcovergirl #maximcover #dublin #ireland #circlek #franksredhot #travel #travelwriter #womenwhotravel #girlswhotravel #natgeotravel #solotravel #traveler #travelblog #write #writer #writerslife #writerslife #writing #blog #blogging #blogger #wanderlust #adventure #adventures #tourguide #tour #guidedtour #virtualtour #gasstation #europe #european #solo #mcdonalds #vienna #germany #austria #schnitzel #kerrygold #act #acting #actor #actress #actorslife #actors #mastersdegree #masters #abroad #studyabroad #liveabroad #americanabroad #irish #rathmines #rathgar #running #runner #marathon #halfmarathon #marathoner #humpday #wednesday #wednesdaywisdom #wcw #model #modeling #rolemodel #hotsauce #tkmaxx #competition #win #winning #vote #voting #campaign #lonely #lonesome #loneliness #selflove #selflove #selfcare

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