When you’ve traveled as often and as far from home as I have, your family and friends inevitably have thoughts and opinions about the dangers of venturing so far from comfort zones. Eventually, they come to terms with what you are doing and accept that nothing they say is going to change your mind. That is where my family stands.
In fact, I was recently having a conversation with my mom about teaching in Italy this summer. She just laughed and muttered, “Only you, Dani.” Hmm, maybe so. But you need to get to a point with those you love so they know you are going to be ok.
But say you’re not an experienced traveler (which is ok, the first step is making the decision to go, and that’s what I want to help you with on this site!), so you might run into some resistance from your family and friends. It’s not always easy to convince them that travel isn’t dangerous and that you can take care of yourself. But here are a few things to try – and trust me, I’ve learned this stuff the hard way:
Have a serious conversation.
Find out what their concerns are, and address them in a matter-of-fact, professional and business-like way. (i.e. don’t just tell them they’re stupid or get into an argument). Parents worry; it’s what they do. And even if you think the things they’re worrying about are silly, that doesn’t actually mean that they are. So have your facts straight, and know what you are talking about before you bring the trip to them. This will ease their mind from the very beginning (at least a bit).
Let them in on the planning process.
Show your friends and family how you’re researching your destinations and your accommodation choices. Let them leaf through your guidebook or check out some blog posts with you. Basically, try to show them that you’re doing your homework and that you aren’t taking nearly as many crazy risks as they assume you are. You are being as safe and responsible as possible.
Agree on a communication plan.
When I first started traveling, I would email my parents at least every few days to check in and let them know I was okay. Now, she follows my Facebook page and blog in order to keep up with me. I also am able to text anyone and everyone I need to when I am on wifi, just to check in to say hello. I’ll tell them when I think I might be without Internet connection for a while , just so they don’t worry. Do what works for you, but have the plan set up beforehand. One last thing: bring your laptop with you! It may help with the whole communication thing.
Invite them to go with you.
You don’t need to invite your nervous dad or best friend to join you on your months long adventure, but you can always try a long weekend. Letting a worried parent or friend see you “in action” (i.e. able to take care of yourself) can help put a mind at ease. And maybe you can even prove to them that traveling isn’t nearly as scary as it’s made out to be in the movies (or in their own heads:) )
What do you do to convince your family and friends that you are safe when traveling solo? Let us know in the comments below!
You better believe I am going to be using my packing lists for any trip I am planning for – and I show the itinerary sheets to my friends and family! Get your lists HERE!