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Is it normal for family to be against you travelling?

Travel Forums General Talk Is it normal for family to be against you travelling?

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11. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

As a father with my only child (a son) in college right now, and as a person who has also travelled the world, I certainly can understand both sides.

Most parents worry about both items magykal1 mentions: security and responsibility.

We also wonder why you would "take advantage" of living at home to save for a trip rather than saving for an education, a home or apartment, or a car.

In my own son's case, he would rather save for the car (already bought and paid for), and then the education (wants to go to law school). I actually offered to pay a bit for him to go to the UK with me when I go there again in a week for my business. But as he put it "Dad, I hope to have lots of chances to go to London in the future. I'm only going to have this one chance to get through a bachelors' program and law school now--while I'm young. Hopefully doing this will make my ability to travel later on more affordable."

Is he right or is he wrong? I don't know. Lots of people go when they are young like you--because it is probably true that taking a really long vacation (like multiple months or even a year) isn't possible once you get into the working world. However, because of having a good job and education--and working for companies with offices overseas, I've been able to take a 3 week trip here and there for multiple years--resulting in my seeing most of Europe, most of South America, all of the US, India, and parts of the far East over my many years. On the other hand, the guy who runs my company did what you are planning to do--take off when he was young--and now he still travels all over as part of his work--and when he has time off.

Only you know what works best for you.

Good luck with your decision.

12. Posted by Rach-a (Respected Member 368 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hellooo here4life!! Yep I can understand this. My family got into verbally bullying me not to go travelling. At first I was mad and felt threatened because I couldn't understand why they didn't want me to do something that I thought was worthwhile. I think the media is partly to blame for this, why?.. well because they always remind us that there is "danger" out there, making us fear that something 'could' happen. Naturally being parents, my mother and father were worried, and with me being quite headstrong, they wondered how they might "stop" me, at the same time I came to understand that I wouldn't be "under their wing" and instead in some far flung country somewhere where they wouldn't know how to communicate in a different language if something went wrong. I became tired of arguing with my dad and my mum making me feel guilty and decided, that my fear of staying in one place without exploring outside my bubble was far worse and booked a RTW ticket against their will. I booked it for nearly a year later and subtly mentioned to my parents that I had made the definite decision to go (but hadn't yet mentioned the £1,000 spent on ticket RTW and insurance). They of course went nuts but I informed them that I doubt they would refund me for the ticket (and then mentioned that they owed me £1,000 if I didn't go). I then mentioned that I didn't really expect that, and that I wanted to talk to them like grown-ups...after all I was also "a grown-up". I mentioned about how the media exploit "bad things" that unfortunately happen to backpackers from time to time and they fail to mention the 100,000 or so backpackers that travel annually without any mishaps whatsoever!! I FINALLY reached a compromise. I assured them that I would contact them regularly via email. My mum mentioned to call her daily but I resolved to emailing (which would be cheaper) every two to three days or a week if I was on a big excursion to inform her where I was. This gave her and my Dad a lot of reassurance and we agreed I could go. I then worked two jobs until I saved enough to go and went. Was it worth it - yes definitely. I do want to settle now though and do not want to keep travelling long term however that won't stop me taking the odd holiday or 5 per year!! :-) The point is, if you can show your family that you are responsible, and reassure them by letting them know you will keep in contact and keep to those promises, then they should understand eventually. It is important to show your Dad you are mature and responsible and be able to talk to him reach a compromise otherwise he will panick like crazy, hence why he acts the way he does. It may take guts but just take a deep breath and go for it. He's going to respect you more for that than not doing so. Good luck!!

13. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Though depending entirely on your parents and your relationship with them, It can be easier not to tell them. Either tell them the day before, so they don't really have time to get all aggressive/angry, or tell them you are off to visit friends for the weekend/2weeks holiday in Spain/whatever and then send them a postcard &/or phone them from your first destination. If you've already departed, there's not allot they can do. Yes, i know this is quite drastic and not ideal, but in certain circumstances, it makes more sense.

Even now, i won't tell my parents (who live in a different country and thus see/speak to me infrequently) i'm going on a long trip until a week or two beforehand, if in fact i even do that. I've used the postcard trick a few times. Whilst they aren't really against my travelling (i've been travelling almost constantly since i was 13, so they are kind of used to it now), my mum is a terrible worrier, so i just don't tell her things she will worry about. We both know this, and it works. I bounce random one line emails to and from my Dad/brother fairly often anyway, so just don't change the tone etc when i'm away, and they don't know i'm away/doing anything different. Certain places i go for work or dodgier areas i have travelled in, I don't mention at all until i've left, or in cases, years later/not at all.

Obviously, all of that is harder if you still live with your parents...

14. Posted by sweetnessp (Budding Member 11 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hi! At first my mum reacted in a really similar way. After talking to her I discovered that she was scared for my safety, because of all the media coverage of the very small amount of accidents and tragedies that happen to backpackers. She was also sad because it meant I was growing up, and I also think she was a little bit envious.

Now she fully supports me. All it took was for us to have a discussion in which we both shared our points of view. Would this work with your Dad and Sister?

15. Posted by rborzillo (Budding Member 84 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I'm in the same boat as you here4life. I just recently graduated a private 4 year college (and here in the US that is a ton of $$$) and after graduation I spent 5 weeks in Australia. Now my next goal is a RTW trip for a year when I am about 25/26. My parents think I am crazy for doing this. Now that I'm in the corporate world (sitting here in my cubical now at work), I just want to travel. I feel there are so many life pressures such as saving for a house (more money now than ever with the credit crunch) and MBA school...ughh frustrating!

16. Posted by Clarabell (Travel Guru 1696 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!


In my opinion, depending on your relationship with your family, the best thing is probaly to try and discuss it properly. At 21, they might be still in the habit of treating you like a child, so if you can prove you're as mature as possible it can only help. Find out exactly what their concerns are. Probably they are worried that something bad will happen to you. For people who have never travelled, the whole idea of it, and of the "backpacker lifestyle" is a mystery.

Perhaps try to get them to understand a little more about the places you want to go to, and why they are interesting or amazing places. Show them that you have researched it well and you know what you are doing and understand the risks. Perhaps try to introduce them to websites and books with relevant information. As most people here have suggested, reassure them you will be in touch regularly.

17. Posted by kathidi (Budding Member 51 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

As a parent and traveller, I'd like to offer a few ideas for you to think about.

First of all, I think it is very common for parents to react as yours have. They are worried, they are concerned for your future, and they are anxious for you to become self-sufficient so that they won't have to worry about you anymore! Your parents have put 21 years and lots of sacrifice into doing everything they can for you to have a successful life, whatever that means to them, and now you are doing this thing that they consider risky, expensive and a selfish waste of time. You need to allow them to have these feelings. Brushing off or denying normal fears is an immature reaction. Your consideration of their feelings will show that you are mature. Actually, what you are planing to do IS risky and expensive, but totally worth it!

I first travelled as an exchange student at 16. When I wanted to go go back to France at 18, my parents were understandably fearful! I convinced them by enrolling in a language school. For them, education is a reason to go off somewhere far away. Think about what your parents value. Would they be more supportive if you were going to have an opportunity for some kind of educational or trade school experience? Consider a volunteer stint or a short class. This does not have to limit you from moving on in your travels once the class or work is finished. It just gives your family a way to accept what you are doing. It is a crutch for them to overcome their fear and their disappointment that you are not doing something that they consider to be constructive. I didn't realize it at the time, but by studying the language, my parents were able to respond to concerns from their friends and unsupportive family members by telling them that I was going to study French and become a French teacher! In fact, I studied for a few weeks in Paris and then hitched all over Europe and had an amazing time!

My sister's son wanted to go to SE Asia and she thought it would not be safe for him. She asked me to talk to him. I said, "Sure. Put him on the phone." I told him that everywhere is safe, use common sense and go for it! Then I talked my sister through some of her fears by getting her to realize that her son is a mature, careful and smart guy. What I am suggesting is that you think about other family members or friends of your parents who would be supportive of your plans. Ask them to reassure your parents.

Also, consider the possibility that a first trip of a month or two might be a good way to start rather than a hazy, illdefined RTW extravaganza that could last for years. This would give your parents a lot of confidence and would provide you with experience for a longer trip.

Now believe it or not, I am over 50 and I am dealing with something similar to you! My husband is unable and unwilling to travel to places I want to go. It is really hard for him to explain to his parents and his coworkers why his wife has taken off by herself to Borneo or Guatemala for six weeks! I have to make some concessions for his feelings and his fears. I have come up with volunteer and homestay opportunities that make all these people feel I am safe and doing something relarted to my career, which makes it acceptable for them. This has required some thoughtfulness, research and creativity on my part which has actually resulted in more meaningful travel experiences for me. Of course, after my volunteer project, I take off for adventures unimagined by them!

Give your parents some time to get used to the idea and maybe a reason they can value, and then go for it! Good luck!

18. Posted by Aussie Mel (Budding Member 6 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

First of all, recognize that their worry shows that they love you. Even if you think your family is being unreasonable, be thankful that they love you enough to be so incredibly concerned for you. Not everybody is that fortunate.

Concerns are different for every family and for every child in that family. I'll give a multiple choice:

1. They may be concerned for your safety, in which case heed their advice and take every precaution necessary to travel safely. Read up on where you are going, don't take unnecessary risks, and whenever possible, travel with someone. (It's more fun that way too - someone to share memories with!) :) Once they see you physically doing something to prepare for safety during your travels, not just talking about it, some of their concerns should ease.

2. Some people don't understand wanderlust/the urge to travel. There's really nothing you can do about that except to let your own excitement show through and explain to them (respectfully) that they may get a thrill out of something that you think utterly boring (i.e. golf), but you would never hold them back from pursuing their dreams simply because you don't share them. You are only asking for the same support.

3. Perhaps they've seen you plan things in the past that you haven't followed through on or haven't enjoyed as much as you thought you would. In that case, the only way to convince people that you will follow through this time is to do it. I had to learn that lesson. I am a big dreamer and planner, and until I started actually carrying through with my plans, no one took my musings seriously. Now, I think when I bring certain things up, people may be more likely to worry about WHEN I do them rather than IF.

Whatever you do, don't give in to the discouragement!!!! If your parents have legitimate concerns, listen to them and heed their advice. But don't give up on traveling just because your sister is predicting that you won't. Prove her wrong, then when she sees how much fun you had, invite her to join you on your next trip.

19. Posted by jaxstar84 (Respected Member 415 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

my parents, paid for my ticket to come overseas as my 21st present, and when i said (after some small trauma while over here) that i might wanna come home, they offered to pay for a ticket to canada or the US for me, because i shouldnt throw away the opportunity to be overseas and travel, esp while im already away and over here lol.

i have the problem that my parents dont want me to come home!!!!!!!!

20. Posted by Hien (Travel Guru 3906 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Quoting jaxstar84

my parents, paid for my ticket to come overseas as my 21st present, and when i said (after some small trauma while over here) that i might wanna come home, they offered to pay for a ticket to canada or the US for me, because i shouldnt throw away the opportunity to be overseas and travel, esp while im already away and over here lol.

i have the problem that my parents dont want me to come home!!!!!!!!

I'm sure most, if not all, of us here wish we had parents like yours!!! *envy*