The run up to going on your first long term travel adventure is one of the most exciting parts of the whole travelling experience. Planning your route, deciding what to pack and finishing up in your 9-5 job are just some of the best parts.
But there may also be a feeling of dread hanging over you if you’re anything like me. The very thought of saying goodbye to my family made me want to vomit in my mouth!
If your family is anything like mine then the run up to escaping to see the world might go a little something like this…
So, you’ve made the decision you want to head off and see the world. And a two week holiday just isn’t going to cut it this time. You’ve picked up some travel brochures to drool over and your Pinterest board has suddenly become cluttered with ‘travel inspo’ pins. Now you just can’t wait to share your dream with your parents…
You bring the topic up around the dinner table and as you’re flicking through the pages talking at 100 miles a minute, your dad suddenly stops you. The brochure is on a page about Phuket and he states “Phuk-et” (which he pronounces “fuckit”) “Even this brochure doesn’t want you to go. End of discussion!”
That’s you told
Yay! It’s Booked!
With or without parental consent you’ve gone ahead and booked your flights. The world is your oyster! You’ve made a Facebook post announcing your exciting plans to your friends…
Your mum insists on spamming sad face emojis and tells the world that she’s turning to drink.
Finding The Backpack…
You know you’re going to be the best backpacker when you’d rather spend £100+ on a good well fitting, long lasting backpack than on a pretty handbag. You head out in town for lunch with your parents then have the bright idea to go try on backpacks at the nearest outdoors shop – what could go wrong?!
Your mum might just start crying in the middle of the shop when you find “the one”. Yep, backpack shopping is pretty much the same as wedding dress shopping!
The Week Before
You will be absolutely buzzing with excitement and a whole load of nerves. Your parents will not leave your side for this whole week. They’ll probably take annual leave so they don’t miss a single thing. The chat will most likely be about anything but your impending travel – emotions are way too high to even bring up the fact you’re about to take off for a whole year.
It will be a week of “lasts”. The last Wednesday night dinner in a while; the last visit to your grandparents; the last Chinese takeaway and family get together night; the last lunch; the last Sunday roast; the last time you pee in a private toilet with a constant supply of toilet roll etc. etc.
This is a really good time to bribe your siblings to do things for you… For example:
Following this up with something like, “this time next week you’ll be thinking ‘I wish I could go and buy Natalie some ice cream right now'” is also a must. Believe me, it works!
Dum dum dummmm…
The night before will be a whole crazy mix of emotions, excitement and STRESS. If you’re travelling with a significant other there’s a good chance you’ll be packing their bag for the first time because they didn’t think to do it during their two weeks off work.
You probably won’t get much sleep and your parents definitely won’t get any sleep. You’ll wake up to lots of lovely messages from friends wishing you all the best and you’ll be super excited. Then your mum puts one on your Facebook wall and you remember the exact reason why you were dreading this moment. The tear gates open and there’s a good chance they won’t stop until you get on the plane (or at least to the airport).
Everyone will wear black on the drive to leave you at your pre-airport destination. No one will say a word in the car for fear of crying some more (girls, don’t bother with makeup for this trip). Your dad’s silence may be the most depressing one – you’ve never seen him cry and this might just send you over the edge.
You may just think: is it too late to cancel?
The Serious Part
It’s only normal for your nearest and dearest to worry about you heading off on long term travel. And it’s easy to laugh at their little niggles after you’ve come home! Despite my parents worries they were still 100% supportive of me and I proved to them that the world isn’t as big and bad as it is made out to be!
My top (very obvious) tip for keeping worried parents minds at ease is KEEP IN TOUCH! It’s as simple as that. In this technology age that we live in it couldn’t be easier to send a WhatsApp to let your family know you’re safe and having the time of your life! Keeping a blog is also a lovely way to take your friends & family along on the trip with you Or why not invite them to meet you somewhere along the way? I did and it was so lovely to get to show them a part of the world that they never would have explored by themselves!
Do you have any funny pre-travel parent stories to share?! Or any top tips on how to deal with worried parents on the road?