Travel a single step at a time

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Travel a single step at a time is a guest post by Catina Noble, a freelance writer and photographer

My desire to travel started while I was at Carleton University studying the lives of people in Pompeii before and after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. A piece of history that left a mystery for future generations to see, touch, ponder and embrace with a rich curiosity.

Five minutes into the lecture my heart slowed down, my soul relaxed and my desire along with my curiosity soared. I told myself, some day; somehow, I would touch the grounds of Pompeii and see first-hand the architecture, casts and textiles that were etched forever in time.

a statue

At the age of thirty-three I was a single parent of four children ages 14, 13, 11 and 10 years. I had my passport in tow and my kids in the care of their dad and friends. I got on my first plane. This would be the first time I had left my kids for longer than three days. I would be gone for a total of eight.

I was excited, scared and just worried about my kids. I had been on my own as a single mom for 10 years. I was used to the kid’s constant presence, bickering, the odd bump, bruises and occasional tears.

What if they got sick while I was gone? What if they needed me and I wasn’t there? What if they brought home an ‘A’ and I wasn’t there to see it? The guilt gnawed at me and I had to use a shovel to bury it more than once during my trip.

Boarding the plane was easy. I admit I had to focus on my breathing. I kept telling myself thousands of people boarded planes every day. This should feel normal.

I was fine. Until the plane took off. Then for some bizarre reason it bothered me greatly that I did not have control of when I could get off the plane. I had no choice but to wait until it landed. That was all I thought about, that and the kids.

Taking off in the plane I was a bit nervous but did a lot of self talk “I can do it, I can do it”. I managed to work through it. The plane ride was a nine hour flight. After the first hour I wanted to get off the plane, simply because I couldn’t. For my own sanity and temptations sake, I thought it best that I did not move from my seat. Not even to go to the bathroom.

Now the landing part was another matter completely. I had trouble focusing and trying to stay calm. I felt severe pain in both of my ears no matter how much self talk I did. I had tears in my eyes and had to suppress my urge not to run full speed into my survival of the fittest mode when getting off the plane.

A couple of days later I arrived at Pompeii, in Rome. As I stood in the entrance way to Pompeii, I had tears in my eyes. They were tears of happiness. I felt so at peace that I had to focus and remind myself to put one foot in front of another and to keep moving forward or else I would be trampled by the tour group.

a historic stone building

travel a single step at a time
I have arrived

I felt as though my life was complete when I was at Pompeii. I had four wonderful children and a sense of serenity I had never touched on before. My first plane ride and first travel experience gave me something that filled my soul with a sense of balance, ambition and at the same time left me wanting.

As I arrived back in Ottawa, Canada I realized that I wanted more for my kids, from myself and from my life. I needed to spend more time with my kids because some day they would be off into the world without me by their side.

I should take more time for myself.

I wanted to focus more on the little things that mattered and not get too caught up with the items and situations that would not matter weeks or years from now.

I had to make the time to reflect on how I felt at different moments and periods in my life.

I wanted to write down what my dreams were, not just for today, but for tomorrow and always. I would do this through my journal writing, poetry, short stories and the inspiration I gained from meeting different people on my journey.

This was just the first chapter and I was eager to start on chapter two, one step at a time.

How did your first travel experience change your life?

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15 thoughts on “Travel a single step at a time”

  1. Great article and great photos! You can feel the excitement and awe of the experience just by reading it. Great job!! 🙂

    1. Thanks Dave for your comment and most of all for your constant support in my creative work. I would be lost without you 🙂

  2. Dear Catina, glad to read your experience! I am a single mom, too, my daughter is 1 year old and I don’t know how to start faster travelling and then travel writing. You can travel more often for short times, the kids are just right with their dad o gradparents or close friends. I hope you’ll find the best way to travel and to be close to your kids when they nees you more…maybe you organize a travel with your kids for some months…:), find a sponsor……..I dream to travel with my girl all over the world and I hope I will do someday.

    1. Adrianna,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I do hope to travel again in the near future. The exeprience has given me a new perspective on life and an even better appreciation for special moments with those close to me. Good luck!

  3. Your story reminded me of my sister – she is also a single mum of three children and she left them with her ex-husband to come on a 10-day trip with me (which was a cycling tour of the outback in Australia).

    This was the first time she’d left them for an extended period and, like you, she was constantly thinking of them. But I think she also got a lot out of the trip because she was doing something for herself.

    I was also happy to have the chance to travel with her 🙂

  4. Karen,
    I would love go to Australia and many more places.
    I did feel guilty though, a week before the trip I thought of cancelling but in my heart I knew this was an important step for both myself and my children.

  5. It’s very normal to be scared of doing something for the first time. It happens to me all the time – but that may be the most exciting part of the experience. Thank you for sharing yours 🙂

    1. Jane,
      Thanks for a takeing a moment to comment. I love the adrenaline rush when you are scared to try something new!

  6. Ian [EagerExistence]

    Pompeii was great, right? And I didn’t even really study it before I went there. Such a nice day outdoors. Hope you got to see more of the region. The Amalfi Coast is frickin’ awesome.

    Oh, also I agree with you 100% on “I wanted to write down what my dreams were, not just for today, but for tomorrow and always.”

    It’s so important to visualise goals & dreams. Break them down. And make them happen.

    1. Ian,
      Pompeii was awesome and I hope to go back again some day.
      My dreams, my goals and my children are what keeps me going 🙂

  7. Great story! Thank you so much for sharing. I a lot of us have reservations about traveling, whether it’s money or fear – you’ve probably inspired a lot of people to get on with it. I hope you find time to do some more exploring soon!

  8. Thanks Tyler!
    I think too often we miss out on adventures in our lives because we get too caught up on the negative things that “might happen” or the fear or othe reasons. We have this life, just this one, to do all things we dream of!

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