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Unpacked: From PEI to Palawan, by Mo Duffy Cobb

Unpacked: From PEI to Palawan, by Mo Duffy Cobb
Unpacked: From PEI to Palawan, by Mo Duffy Cobb - Desiree Anstey

Honest, heartfelt travel memoir of a young family navigating the unknown landscape of grief

Maureen “Mo” and Mitch Cobb, along with their two-year-old daughter Leila, set off from the Maritimes and travel to wild and distant landscapes in an attempt to find the courage to face the future again after the stillbirth of their second child, Tya.

Tya’s heart stopped beating just eight days before her due date. The doctors said it was a “true knot” that had cut off all the oxygen. The eight-pound baby was born perfectly formed and perfectly hushed.

As a coping mechanism for their insurmountable grief, and an escape from the silence, Mo turns to travel.

The young family leave their small town in the south shore of the Island for the musical sounds of Brussels, busy scenes of London, noisy spice markets of Bali, crashing waves of Asia, and spectacular sunsets of Borneo.

In nine months they travel to twelve countries, while learning how to repair their marriage and not cling on to loss like a drowning soul.

This transition does not always come easily. Several travel mishaps are written on the cards – from forgotten shoes, handling an overly exited toddler, and delayed flights – but the family must find the perseverance and inspiration in each other to continue on.

An excerpt from the story goes:

“It was unplanned. It was chaotic. It was youthful.

“I hadn’t always been lost, but Prince Edward Island had suddenly become too small for my grief. My grief needed the whole world. It needed isolation. It needed something to change, something to be released. It needed an answer.”

This terrific travel memoir is moving, thought provoking and beautifully written. Cobb shares a raw and honest account of a young mother coming to terms with the greatest loss imaginable, while finding the physical space to shed tears that are removed from familiar scenes in etched memories.

Travel becomes an apt reminder to Cobb and her family that they hold an irrevocably connection to the world and its people.

The Charlottetown author, Mo Cobb, has been published in The Rumpus, Literary Mama, Red, Damselfly Press, and Understorey magazine. She is the editor of Cargo Literary, an online travel magazine, and has an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Cobb also contributes to Welcome PEI, a travellers guide to Prince Edward Island.

Cobb lives in P.E.I with her husband, Mitch, and three young children.

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