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59 replies
Kahunna
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I don’t know what I can add to this thread. All of you added some wonderful advice – making this thread a perfect candidate for sticky posts. I just wanted to jump in and thank Hope and the others for throwing out my website. It really is a great feeling to see vetran travelers directing first timers to my site.

Outofstep, where in the US are you from? It sounds like your parents are not from a big city themselves, thus the hesitation.

jalen
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I’m 32, not a parent but I understand the parent’s feelings. You have to understand that your parents have heard so many horror stories, as the only thing on the news these days is about the train bombing in spain, tourists killed in some other country, etc. The news doesn’t talk about the millions that travel to Europe every year without any problem. And the crime rate? I guarantee you that the crime rate in Seattle is worse than most cities in Europe. It’s all about education. It sounds crazy, but your parents are not educated about how safe it is in Europe. Educate them.

Let them know that you are "solo in Seattle" without them, and that there is no real difference (except for a more expensive phone bill to say HI). Parents would also be more likely to compromise if you let them know where you’ll be staying (doesn’t mean you have to stay there, as plans can change) and emailing them every couple days to put their mind at ease. Going away for a month without emailing them — big mistake. Hell, I’m 32, and my mother is so much of a worry-wart that she wants me to email her a couple times a week when I take off to Europe next week. I wish I had gone 15 years ago, but didn’t have the money then.

Another great thing to do — early in your trip, let mom/dad know that you hooked up with some great people from Australia / US (which will likely happen) and are NOT alone in the least. This should put them at ease.

Best of luck to any others who are having trouble with their parents on this issue.

clunker
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Jalen, Outofstep accidentally posted a it under a new topic, but he convinced his parents to let him go, so all is well. Good advice on your end, nonetheless.

MeredithBlueEyes
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Thanks for the shout out Hope!

I’ve done two big trips now, one in Europe and one in South America. My parents were not enthused about either trip but ultimately learned to live with the reality of my traveling when I didn’t back down. I think one of the best things you can do is provide your parents with an explanation of how they can contact you. Your parents may not realize that internet cafes are cheap and plentiful, so they might be thinking that you’ll disappear from their lives for a whole month. These days I think some travelers even manage to get a temporary cell phone, which might go a long way to easing your parents’ minds. I also really recommend keeping a blog. Being able to read my experiences definitely helped my parents see why traveling was so important for me. My South America blog is at www.kahunna.net and my current Japan blog is at cestovatela.livejournal.com

Your mom is right — there are lots of crazy people out there, and one look at an American newspaper will remind her just how many of them live in the USA.

Good luck! I hope your parents come around, but if not, I hope you go anyway Smile

wcostello@hotma...
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"there are lots of crazy people out there, and one look at an American newspaper will remind her just how many of them live in the USA"
Hehe, my Mums seems to assume automatically that I AM going to get mugged and I AM going to get murdered because I’m a young woman and that’s what happens to all of them. She latches on to the horror stories and generalises too much. I havn’t told her about my Morocco plans yet, she’ll probably try to stop me because I’ll get kidnapped by all the terrorists that don’t exist except for in her mind.

luv_the_beach
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quote:
You’re over 18; if you are financing this trip on your own, your parents can’t stop you — although I suppose they could refuse to support you in college, take you off the family health insurance plan or throw you out when you get back.

I seriously doubt that would happen. It would defeat the purpose of being a protective parent.

quote:I talked to them a little while ago and my mother gave me there "there’s a lot of nuts out there"

And you can give her the "there’s a lot of nuts in here." Many Americans for some reason are afraid of the outside world, and while it is true that there are some countries where your personal safety is at high risk, this does not hold true for the vast majority of European countries, especially not the countries that American tourists tend to visit. Many Americans fail to distinguish the vast differences between various countries. Just because Iraq is a war zone, women are severely restricted in Saudia Arabia, and Colombia has a high rate of kidnappings, does not mean that the same holds true for say Germany, or Japan, or Spain, or Barbados, or Sweden, or Poland, or Thailand, or New Zealand. There’ major differences among the countries of "the outside world," so make sure you emphasize this to your parents.

Another major thing is that the United States has higher crime rates than most other industrialized nations (Almost all if not all European countries fall into this group of nations). You are no safer at home. A MeredithBlueEyes point out, you can show your parents a major US newspaper (NY Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times) and show her all the domestic psychos that threaten your everyday life. And the same thing applies to terrorism. Many Americans are concerned about the March 2004 bombings in Madrid, others were concerned with terrorism at the Athens Olympics (which proved to be unfounded fears)…but why is it that Americans constantly forget the fact that the largesst terrorist act in the history of mankind, which involved the effortless hijacking of not one but four airliners in a single day, occurred in the USA? Let alone the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the bomb at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and the first WTC bombing in 1993. Are you really safer at home?


beach-lunch-siesta-beach-shower-dinner-nightlife-repeat

CanYouDigIt13
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But in a sense, wcostello, you’re quite right. Your mom’s cool

jboy
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Blackmail ?

HomeSkillet
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This is a cool thread (even if the original author is no longer reading it). I was 25 and still living at home when I announced my plans to quit my job and backpack through Europe for two months. I expected a total freak-out from my folks, but they were actually surprisingly cool about it, which I totally didn’t expect. I guess it helped that both of them had traveled to Europe before, and that my old man actually lived in Germany for three years long before any of us were even an itch in our daddies pants.

What’s even more interesting is that my Eurotrip ignited such a wanderlust that I haven’t been able to stop travelling since then(which is difficult when you have a 9-to-5 job). I’ve been to three more continents than my parents, and to at least 15 more countries than either of them or both put together. Anyway, the interesting twist is that they never question my love of travel (at least not out loud) but they don’t talk too much with me about it either. My theory is that either they’re secretly jealous, that they think I’m filthy rich, or that they just can’t seem to figure out what it is that I like so much about foreign soil that I’d rather be there than in my home country.