As a faithful lover of everything travel I was bold in my pursuit of adventure. Depart for Spain solo, armed with New York Bodega Spanish and an address of a host family? Fly to Italy for a weekend because the pizza is dope? Spend the night in the airport in London to save on hotel fees? I will take yes for 500 Alex. I loved every minute of it. I took in the scents of different foods, admired the diverse cultures and flirted with the idea of not returning to the U.S. during every trip. The love of travel became a piece of my identity. It shaped how I selected a mate and altered my priorities.
It was a huge piece of me until it wasn't. One day I just stopped. Stopped looking at flights just because. Stopped non-business related domestic travel. Hell, I even divorced the damn travel channel. I stopped with no expected return date. My passport and love of travel was shelved and collected an unspeakable amount of dust.
Because fear is kryptonite to boldness and faith, I became paralyzed when I consumed it. I drank fear by the gallon, let it marinate inside me and shape my thoughts and words. When I became a single mother the thought of traveling with simply my daughter and I scared me to no end. I was fine traveling solo, but for some reason I assumed I would be too vulnerable to travel with my daughter. A woman and a child traveling alone would surely make us a magnet for danger. When I wasn't repeating those words in my head they were being uttered by family. When my own words failed to elicit paranoia levels of fear, the words of my family were successful. This fear became like a self-imposed prison sentence.
After serving about five years I released myself. It was a slow release because I didn't realize I wasn't free. I didn't realize that my attempts of "protecting" my daughter from the dangers of mommy and me travel trips was actually introducing her to a fear based lifestyle.
Nothing makes you crave freedom more than witnessing it from a distance. As a member of an online travel group I was introduced to single parents who traveled the world with their children. What is this you say...moms can travel with their children just as cautiously as they did solo and have an amazing experience? I watched from the safe distance of my cell as single parents shared pictures, stories and tips for traveling safely with the little ones. I saw memories being made and life lessons being shared as single parents introduced their children to the world. I saw a brave sister successfully navigate legal logistics to take her son to Abu Dhabi! Trust me, nothing scarier than the U.S. legal system. A few members even took the brave leap and moved out the country with their children.
It took some time, but I was like Andy from The Shawshank Redemption chiseling away at that prison wall daily. Then one day it happened! I reached freedom on the other side of that wall. I am no longer afraid to travel with my daughter alone. Cautious? Absolutely. Afraid? No. When you are no longer imprisoned by fear in one area of your life this new found freedom opens the door for so much more. So what's next for this fearless mom of one? I will take Madagascar, finally finishing my books and a PhD for 500 Alex.