As a traveller not everyone is going to share your view on the world and your explorations around the world.
This sadly include family (and maybe friends too), who can be such a big hurdle when it comes to travelling.
I’ve had my own differences with family members of mine. Notably my mum. My dad would be more concerned that it was impacting my ability to save money (far from the truth). Whilst the issue wasn’t to do with me travelling itself on my mum’s side, but with the frequency of the trips I was doing solo.
The conversations I had with her did not always end positively or constructively, and sometimes I’d have to politely end them before they got ugly and went left. As of now I’m still trying to sway my mum to the other side or at least meet in the middle.
Coming from a Black African background my parents and most people of their generation don’t see going abroad or exploring the unknown depths of the world top of their priority list in terms of the way they seek to enjoy life.
Their way of enjoying their lives leans more towards traditional weddings (had enough of them recently!), visiting relatives at their homes, spending time with kids and grandkids, hall parties and receptions for other special occasions.
On Twitter, I invited my followers, mainly travel bloggers to share close ones’ general opinions on them travelling and some of the challenges they’ve had to face:
“My family’s perception of travel is more romanticized when its not a family member, however, they still support why I travel, especially those who have done so before. Generally, it’s viewed as a positive thing, from expanding family borders & perspectives to self-awareness. Although it took 2 years of frequent travelling, the perception towards it has gotten much better” – Angela Rose (@allthings_ang)
‘I come from a Mexican family and was born and raised in California. Americans already aren’t known for travel but especially first generation people… Back home no one really travels. Or if they do it’s a standard Big Ben, Paris, Leaning tower in Rome trip.
[That’s why] I founded my own business and platform off of putting myself on to travelling alone. So I can share my story and make my own merchandise as well as the stories of others on my website’ – XXXDCD.COM – (@xxxdanielcd)
‘My mother in particular does not like it at all. She always says: “I don’t know why you don’t just come back and live with us here (in the UK)” I’m in my thirties by the way 😀 I told her that I’m going to Japan/East Asia next year and she was like “NO, that’s too far away”. They also never come and visit me wherever I end up. My parents are totally different to me, there are only two places that they would go to outside of the UK: Spain and Italy.’ – Meglio Vivere (@MeglioVivere)
‘The support from my family is great and I’ve been encouraged to continue and do more because they feel like they are living through me by picture sharing and telling stories about my adventures.
My mother in particular, encouraged me to travel after I have finished Uni; to go out there and see what the world has to offer before major responsibilites come my way. My galivanting ways have been made easier because of their support and brings out a happier me because I am gaining experience and memories that I will cherish forever’ – Liza (@LizaM_20)
‘My parents think I travel excessively and always ask about the state of my finances and query why London isn’t enough’ – Jess (@Road2Culturedom)
‘As a young Muslim woman who loves to travel, it’s not always easy to do so. My parents have always been against me travelling alone purely based on me being a female and jumping to conclusions of what could happen. But couldn’t those same problems arise in my own country?
Asian communities are based around appearances and keeping up this perfect image. Travelling alone as a young female within these communities goes against this “perfect ideal” and is seen as a form of disobedience. Take it this way, if a son came up to his parents and said he’s going travelling for a few months he’d be praised and egged on. When I told my parents I was doing the same? I was shunned by my elders in my family and told I could not go.
I went anyway and the backlash I received when I came back down was horrible…But in all honestly, I’m not going to conform to these backwards, out-dated “rulings” and I still continue to travel from country to country whenever I have the desire to’ – Jazzy (@jazzyafsana)
All families and relatives are different: some will be fully onboard because they endorse the idea of knowing the world better, some are taken out of their comfort zone and are more, whilst others just sit on the fence and let us serial travellers live our lives.
Hence why it was important to ask bloggers who was the person or group of individuals who tended to be concerned most regarding their loved ones flying the nest:
‘Family. They’ll worry & say send pictures. Naturally, [my] mom worries the most, siblings asked to join, and aunts & uncles are a little of both.‘ – Angela Rose (@allthings_ang)
‘My mum does. She’ll ask for a number of my travel pals for emergencies. She was at most peace when I did my Central America tour as there was 18 of us! If I’m solo, she’ll ask my sisters/friends for an update from my social media if she hasn’t heard from me in a day. I prewarn her if I know there may be issues with lack of WiFi but I’m not sure how much that helps!’ – Jess (@Road2Culturedom)
‘My mother in particular does not like it at all. She always says: “I don’t know why you don’t just come back and live with us here (in the UK)” I’m in my thirties by the way 😀 I told her that I’m going to Japan/East Asia next year and she was like “NO, that’s too far away”. They also never come and visit me wherever I end up. My parents are totally different to me, there aronly two places that they would go to outside of the UK: Spain and Italy.’ – Meglio Vivere (@MeglioVivere)
‘My mum hasn’t left the UK/Ireland in a very long time and worries whenever I take a trip, regardless of who I’m travelling with. It’s worse when I travel solo. It hasn’t stopped me travelling though! I talk to her about the preparation I do before a solo trip and she sees how much I get from travelling and how happy it makes me so I think it’s resassured her at least a bit. I think we sometimes forget that our ambitions often challenge those who know and love us best.’ – Sagittarius Travels (@skyreacher7)
No one’s wrong to feel the way they do and their views and concerns come from a good place and are well-meaning, particularly when the reasons for their worries are predominantly safety, ways of contact available/unavailable to them and evidence of a travel strategy per say.
There’s an immense amount of pressure, as much as we may not don’t feel it, to please others and uphold certain traditions and values but at the same time make sure we’re doing what makes us happy and will bring us memories that we will savour for a lifetime.
With a plan or strategy and time too, the doubts and insecurities of a parent, sibling or close friend can be reduced get easier and things can “normalise” given that how often they’ll find travellers coming back, not just in one piece, but with lots of friends, life lessons learnt and stories to tell others. Although sadly there are some that base their perceptions on gender and bring about double standards, and some of them stem from their lack of personal experience travelling.
To all travellers and bloggers going through similar experiences with those close to them. You’re not alone and you have a lot of love, support. This goes out to anyone reading this – don’t let anyone tell you what kind of life you should live or depend on others to help you do what brings you joy and satisfaction.
Thanks to those who contributed, their blog and twitter links are below:
Meglio Vivere |http://www.megliovivere.com | @MeglioVivere
Jazzy |http://www.afewmoments.org | @jazzyafsana
Sagittarius Travels |http://www.sagittariustravels.wordpress.com | @skyreacher7
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What do your family and friends think of you travelling and how you do it? Do they agree or disagree? Do they at least try and support your never-ending quest for the wanderlust? (a bit cheesy I know). Feel free to share your opinions.
Thanks for reading 🙂
Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures