About The Mole


Eating tiramisu in Florence, Italy

“How was Italy?” “Amazing.” “Did you fall in love?” “Yup. With the food.”

Hey there!  My name is Marianna Moles.  All my life my last name has been the cause of strange looks and long conversations and really uncreative name-calling (I’ve heard them all, so don’t bother trying). Yes, it’s pronounced the way it looks, just like the semi-blind critter that tunnels through our backyards. Hence the name of this blog.

“It’s Portuguese,” is my response to people who give me quizzical looks, which leads them to be curious and excited about my nationality because apparently Portuguese people are especially rare.

Except they’re not.

In 2011, it was estimated that over 1.4 million people of Portuguese heritage live in the United States. A little outdated stat, but makes my point.

I am also proud to claim Germans, Scots-Irish and English as kin.

But enough about my name. What the heck is the point of this blog?

The Meandering Mole is for adventurous anxiety prone people who enjoy traveling and would like to do more of it — even the adventures that scare them — and feel reassured they won’t die or get the plague. Even with the anxiety beast wedged in my back pocket, I am living proof that everything will be A-Okay.

Whether you have social anxiety or severe panic attacks, are professionally diagnosed or self-diagnosed, taking medication or coping naturally, or simply have anxiety about traveling and trying new foods – I hope you find solace and reassurance here.

Or maybe you care for someone who has anxiety and would like to understand them better and be able to help them.

I hear you and applaud you for standing up to the anxiety beast.

Anxiety tends to have a finger on me nearly every single day. Sometimes it’s standing next to me twiddling its thumbs, other times it has me in a straight jacket.

Manina Moles

I like to lean on Mother Nature. She’s so strong. Especially when she’s a petrified piece of wood that’s millions of years old. She just seems to get stronger with time.

Not wanting my life to be dictated by the anxiety beast, I decided to embrace my adventurous side, travel, be courageous and dive into the escapades that make me the least bit curious and nervous (with encouragement and support from family, friends, articles written by strangers and a really great therapist). Every time I choose “to do it,” I’m making a conscious decision to not let anxiety rule my kingdom.

I’m the queen, damn it.

Anyhoo, back to the little critter that burrows in the ground.

The mole, a small and timid looking creature, expertly tunnels through life, meandering pretty darn strategically and resourcefully, to build a life and scour tasty morsels and hidden treasures, all in literal darkness.

To onlookers, they appear sporadic and feel like a nuisance. Why do they insist on digging up our perfectly planted petunias? Well, they’re kinda essential to helping keep the ecosystem in check.

Just sayin’.

Moles are greatly misunderstood, as are people who have anxiety.

Since moles live in complete darkness, there’s no doubt in my mind they experience anxiety from time to time. For example they may think, Did I correctly calculate the coordinates of this tunnel? Am I about to knock my tender noggin against a boulder? What if I accidentally dig up another sprinkler head and flood my home? Will I die if I eat this worm that’s been sitting out in the sun all day? Will I ever see the light of day again?! 

Moles, I’m sure, often give themselves pep talks that go something like, “Geez, just stop making mountains out of mole hills!”

This mole sure does. On a daily basis. Because just like a mole, living with anxiety often feels like living in the dark, until I gather up my courage to tunnel to the surface, where the light can shine on my vitamin D deprived face.

Not literally vitamin D deprived. I live in California. I mean, c’mon. Get real.

Just like the sensory bumps on the end of a mole’s snout used for tunneling through the darkness and into the light, this mole goes where the nose knows!

With a flashlight in-hand, I’ll point you towards cool eateries and travel destinations, helping you plan for your daunting trip, and share my anxiety-riddled experiences about how I pulled through and surfaced stronger than before. While wearing high heels (Ask anyone. They’re my calling card).

Marianna Moles | The Meandering Mole

I’m often meandering in high heels.

Grab your flashlight and hit the road. Tunnel past anxiety and travel tenaciously, as little moles do.

Let’s meander,