Our question this week comes from one excited new reader from Wyoming in the United States. She asked:
“Before you guys bought a ticket and left to see the world, how was your support system with family? The lack of support and encouragement I am receiving from some friends and mostly family is bringing me down to excel in this journey I want to take. Is it common for family to not want you to see the world because of dangers? I guess it is hard for me to listen to them since they haven’t gone to explore the world.”
This is a great question Elaine and something we both have had to deal with, especially in our early days when we were taking off to travel for the first time. Since we’ve both had different experiences, we’re going to answer this question individually.
First off, congratulations on deciding to become a world traveler! I am so excited for you! There is nothing more thrilling than planning your first big backpacking trip. But no matter how stoked you are, it’s easy to let your family and friends talk you out of it. As a female, I was definitely bombarded with questions about my safety before traveling solo. It is difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t traveled much just how safe the world really is. Honestly, the best way you can convince them that you are a capable, smart traveler is to just go. After you spend a couple weeks away without any mishaps, they will loosen up a bit. When I first left, my mom begged me to call her everyday. She was really worried about me which in turn made me scared! But in the end, it was something I wanted to do for myself and thank God I did. Now, I’ve traveled so much, I can go weeks without calling my mom and she will barely notice!
To help appease my overprotective family, I made an itinerary for my trip so they could see exactly where I would be headed. I agreed to Skype my parents at least once a week and to email every other day. Once they saw how serious I was with my itinerary and budget planned out, I think they realized I had made up my mind and the best thing they could do was support me. If they are really getting you down, share your excitement with other travelers. There are so many groups and forums you can join online to hear about other people’s experiences. Once you realize there is such a huge community of backpackers out there, already safely enjoying the road, you will feel more comfortable when your departure date comes closer! So enjoy and remember that in the end, you’ll be the one on the road so everyone else can just deal with it!
As Christine said, welcome to the world of traveling! A wonderful experience full of learning and self-discovery. Over my years of traveling I’ve found there are fewer worries for males than females, but don’t try and tell that to my mum. Parents are going to worry about you, that’s what they do best. The key is to keep them in the loop. Christine did a pretty good job looking at the parent side things, so I’ll take a look at the support from friends.
In our experience it’s always hard to convince people about traveling when they have a different view of to you. That being said, if they’re your family and friends you need to let them know why it’s an important thing for you to do. Nothing should hold you back on your dreams.
As you grow up you’ll realize that you and your best friends start to develop different priorities. While you’re young and creating your independent identity it’s easy to find that you have everything in common, but as you get older you’ll start to see people change. But that’s not a bad thing and it doesn’t mean you won’t be friends anymore, it just means you want to do things differently in life. We both have good friends like this, and it hasn’t changed how close we are with them. Some want to get married, have kids, buy a house and get stable jobs. While we want to work for just enough money to start traveling again, so we can trek our way through exotic jungles, sleep in hammocks on river boats, climb ancient ruins and live with new cultures. No ones to say which lifestyle is better, it’s all individual choice.
At the end of the day it’s your trip and if it’s something you want to do then you should set your goals on it. Don’t let other people bring you down! Besides we’ll always be here to support you. Welcome to your new traveling family!
We hope this was helpful and please send us your travel questions! From the serious to the ridiculous or intrusive. We’ll answer anything!
So be sure to email us all your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or write them in the comment section below.