If you come from a family who doesn’t travel much, telling them you want to set off on an adventure, whether it be your study abroad trip, spring break or a round-the-world trip, can be difficult. Their reactions may range from concern to outrage to disinterest, but it’s best to be prepared for any and all outcomes. I’ve been blessed to have friends and family who understand how important travel is to me, but that doesn’t keep them from being concerned about my safety. Not everyone will be so supportive, so here are the best ways to handle the comments from opposition.
“It’s Not Safe”
Your safety is a reasonable concern for your friends and family. They wouldn’t give this response if they didn’t care about you. They might spout out all the “for instances” like rapes, kidnappings, robberies and murders. But while there are bad things that happen to solo female travelers, assure them that you will use common sense and call often.
- How to Respond: Check in at least once per week through email or Skype. Tell them that you’ll be vigilant about your safety, registering with the embassy. If they want you to carry a personal safety alarm or whistle, consider doing so. Remind them that something bad can happen to you anywhere, including at home.
“But What About Your Job or School?”
They might even ask what you’re going to do about your job and how you’re throwing your career away. Or if you’re taking time off from school, they might remark that you’re quitting or running away. This response is also out of concern for your best interest.
- How to Respond: Tell them that you take your career or studies seriously and that you will use your trip as an opportunity to learn more about the world and grow emotionally. You can always go back to school or find another job.
The Things You’re Going to Miss
Yes, you’re going to miss things while you’re gone. People get engaged and have babies and life generally goes on without you. Your friends and family might say, “But what about this event? You’re going to miss it!”
- How to Respond: Give your apologies and send a nice gift, but tell them this trip is important to you. If they’re a good friend or family member, they will understand.
The Guilt Trip
I’ve heard everything from “do it while you’re young,” to “it must be nice, but not all of us can take off.” Not everyone makes travel a priority in their lives, so they may not understand the rationale of those who do. Some of these comments may get downright nasty, which you can’t take personally.
- How to Respond: Brush it off. You have something to look forward to, so don’t let the jealous haters mar your experience. You will be glad you took this opportunity, despite the guilt trip people may send you on.
At the end of the day, you’re an adult who can make your own decisions. You want your loved ones’ blessing, not their permission.
Have you had experience in telling your family you want to travel? How did you handle their responses?