“Where’s the money coming from? You’re going alone? What will you do when you get back? How will grad schools feel? Where will you live? How will you make money when you come home? What about health insurance? What if your laptop gets stolen? Where will you put all your stuff?
My father is a large, opinionated, very caring, but very dominating, man. Imagine the Jewish Godfather combined with Jonah Hill.
Telling my father I would like to leave my prestigious job, great apartment, and travel thousands of miles away from him, was not easy. No more Sunday night dinners (for awhile) or lunches downtown in the middle of the day. I knew the questions he’d ask and the skepticism that would follow. I was feeling the weight of the conversation on me for days. And while the unsettling feeling of the potential of not having support was in the back of my mind, I knew that beneath it all, he wants me to see the world. I care deeply about how my father views my decisions and value his perspective immensely, even if his opinions (and he has many of them) don’t always align with my own (wink to you, Pap).
The conversation was a long time coming. For someone who I run every idea by and who has more opinions than a bus of Israelis, I knew I had to prepare for this one. His questions are legitimate; how will I pay for this? They’re important to think through; what will I do when I get back? And I knew that not only for his satisfaction and sanity, but for my own as well, that I needed answers I felt comfortable with before I had this conversation.
If you’ve been following, you’re familiar with how I’m saving and planning to make some type of income (even if minimal) while I’m abroad. I’ve also made the decision to apply to graduate school, which has helped drive my determination to take this trip this year rather than at some ambiguous point in time in the future. Sometime soon, I’m going to have loans, a two-year commitment to graduate school and then, I’m going to have a career (hopefully) that will not lend itself to year-long travel.
So, I told him my plan. It was nerve-wracking, anxiety-inducing and flat out scary, but I was ready for it. I was truthful, I was confident, and I felt reassured at the end. He may not be thrilled, but he’ll help me find a place to store my car for the year (thank you in advance!). And that’s all I can ask for.
There are many sites out there for people who picked up and left and never came back. While the future holds my truth, I plan to pick up, leave, and come back after a year of self- and world-exploration. Read below for some advice on how to tell your parents you’re taking a long-term trip. I won’t give you too much, because obviously you know your own parents better than I do. Overall, telling your parents you’re traveling solo is hard.
Make a legitimate plan: How long will you be gone for? Where will you go? How much money will you need? What will you plan to do for money there? What’s your back-up or emergency plan? What are your thoughts for what you’ll do when you come back? You want to feel comfortable and confident with your own plan before you share it with your parents.
Prepare for the conversation: Think about what their concerns will be. How will they react? What will their questions be? Answer their questions ahead of time for yourself and then talk them through with someone else. They are your parents and their questions probably do have some legitimacy to them.
Send them stuff: Send them the travel blogs you’ve been stalking. Show them the insurance plan you’ll buy. Email them the link to your new travel blog you’ve started where you’ll share all the photos and stories along the way. Keep them in the know.
How did you tell your parents you were leaving the “beaten path”? How did they react?
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