On Never Walking Alone

Just over two months ago, a few days before I moved to Ireland, I was sitting in the living room of my parents’ home watching Manchester City play Chelsea. There were no fans in the stadium, hadn’t been since the Premier League had restarted after a long, coronavirus-induced break. Stakes were fairly high for each team. A win for Chelsea would boost their Champions League qualification hopes, while a win for City would keep them in the title race for one more week. Chelsea’s young American Christian Pulisic opened the scoring, then City’s Kevin De Bruyne equalised. In the second half, a handball saw Fernandinho sent off and Willian step up to the penalty spot to bury a second goal for Chelsea. Twenty minutes later, the game was over… and suddenly Liverpool were champions.

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Maybe the real OTP was the friends we made along the way

In September 2005 I had just started high school. On Tuesday, September 13, I think I had an orchestra rehearsal, if I remember right, but there was this new show premiering on the WB that I was super excited about because I loved (and still love) all things paranormal. So I set up my VCR to record it—unfortunately the episode ran five minutes over so I missed the ending, but it didn’t matter, I was instantly hooked on this story of two brothers searching for their missing father and hunting ghosts and demons as they went.

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Worldwide friends, again and again

I’ve been lucky in my life to make some amazing, close friends. I’ve never been someone with a big social circle, and being terrible at keeping in touch means that I don’t stay connected to many acquaintances, but I have a few friends from every place that I’ve lived who I know I will always be close to even if sometimes we don’t see each other (or even talk!) for years on end. I’ve also been lucky enough to have seen two of those close, best friends (two of my flatmates from Ireland) here in New Zealand (their partners are kiwis) and my very best friend and her husband came for a visit last month.

Still, even if I know I have these amazing friends I can count on to be there for me across thousands of miles and months or years apart, moving the number of times I have in the last few years means that I am in a constant state of making new acquaintances and hopefully new friends. For an introvert who has struggled with shyness all her life, this can be tough, especially in places notorious for their difficulty in creating non-superficial relationships (see also: the “Seattle freeze“).

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Keep Calm & Drive On: Minimizing Conflict on Your Road Trip

Picking the ideal copilots for an extended road trip is important. Whether it’s your partner or your BFFs, you want people with whom you can spend hours in a car without wanting to kill them. Choose the perfect travel companions and your trip will be an incredible bonding experience, full of amazing adventures and special time spent together. Well, 95% of the time it will be. The other 5% of the time you’ll be tired and hangry and whoever’s driving will have just made the fourth wrong turn of the day and you’ll be all-out shouting at each other over the hellfire-and-brimstone religious radio station you’re being forced to listen to because someone forgot to charge the phone with the music. That’s just how it is. But there are some important steps you can take to ensure that percentage stays at 5% and that you still all love each other when you reach your destination.

Get out of the car

On our road trip, we tried to limit our driving time each day to five or six hours, but some days we had to spend nine or more hours in the car and on those days we definitely got more antsy and more argumentative. Obviously the conditions of your road trip may dictate how long you have to drive each day—if you’re trying to make it across the country in a week as opposed to our 2+ months you’re going to be forced to have much longer days on the road—but even if you know you’re going to be driving 12 hours don’t be tempted to try to push through without pitstops. Even 15 minutes’ break outside the car to stretch and get some fresh air and explore a town or a nature area makes such a difference in everyone’s temperaments.

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We stopped at this beach for lunch on our way through California, a nice and relaxing break

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