There are many factors stopping people from traveling and, unfortunately, family and friends often play a big role in creating doubts, fears, and hesitations. It’s sad that people you count on the most don’t give you the support you need and try to cut your wings instead. Nevertheless, they usually do it out of worries. They’re afraid of the problems you might face. Probably they’re also scared they’ll miss you. How to overcome all that? While everyone’s situation is different, the experiences of various travelers show many patterns repeat. People who don’t travel often react to travelers in similar ways and say the same things, such as the examples listed below. Check if there’s something you’ve heard from your loved ones and what you can answer to ease the situation.
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‘The world is a scary and dark place. You might be killed, hurt or robbed.’
They’re partially right; the world does get scary at times. Note this detail: THE WORLD. Not just one country or one city. Your hometown can be a dangerous place as well. You walk around suspicious neighborhoods at night – there’s a possibility someone will attack you, whether you do it in Paris, New York, or a small village in the south of Spain. You can even get attacked in your own house! It’s not an optimistic vision, but it’s true. Life is inseparably connected with risks. All your actions are followed by the risk of dying or suffering. You fall in love – you might get heart-broken. You drive a car – you might get into an accident. It doesn’t matter where you do it. Luckily, these things don’t happen all the time. Because of the media and society’s tendency to spread and cultivate fears, people freak out. They do it even more when they’re faced with the unknown. You should explain your loved ones other countries aren’t necessarily more dangerous than your place. Let them know safety is your priority and you’ll take care of yourself. Try not to look heedless or naïve, that’s only going to make it worse. Unless you’re a professional journalist or an overly venturesome individual, you’re most likely not going to a war zone. Check the travel warnings of the U.S. Department of States or whatever your country of residence is. Let them read blogs and websites about your destinations, show testimonies of other travelers who have been there, it should help.
‘You’re trying to escape the reality; it’s not healthy.’
Many people assume travelers are runaways who escape their problems, homes, and worries. It can be the case indeed. For some people traveling is a way of dealing with issues, because it helps them to get the right perspective and refresh their minds. There’s nothing wrong about it. Unless someone gets addicted and keeps running all the time, it’s okay to use traveling as a form of therapy. It has nothing to do with escaping the reality. People tend to think the reality is limited to your neighborhood, family, job, daily routines, but traveling is just as real as that. Besides, you might be moving for a variety of reasons and somebody calling you an escapist is just judgmental. Tell them it’s your passion, and it makes you happier. As they enjoy working, spending time at home, going to the gym or for a beer with friends, you enjoy traveling.
‘Why can’t you just get a job?’
People are obsessed with working and making money, even if they don’t know what they need the money for. Many of them work extra hours to buy some useless stuff and believe that’s the way to prove their worth. The fact you don’t want to do it doesn’t mean you’re a crazy hippie thinking money doesn’t matter, and you can feed on solar energy. It also doesn’t say that you’re lazy and irresponsible. Tell your loved ones you’ll work on the way, or that you’ve worked hard before to save up and realize your dreams. Besides, a vast majority of us will work most of our lives. Why not take a break from it for a while?
‘You should rather get married than wander like a lone wolf.’
Despite all the changes our society has been through in the last years, marriage is still considered to be a standard. If not marriage, then at least a long-term, serious relationship. Travelers often complain parents push them to settle down and start a family. There’s something you must understand: our parents grew up in a different time, with different norms. Back then people usually met their partners through common friends, on local parties or because they lived across the street. As much as it’s annoying, your parents are naturally worried you’ll end up sad and lonely, but traveling doesn’t mean you won’t have a chance to meet someone. Just like at home, on the road you constantly come across new people. Who knows, perhaps there’ll be this charming person you’ll fall in love with and eventually travel together or build a home in one place? Or, if you just want to be alone and feel great this way, explain them. Give them a chance to understand your priorities.
‘Travelling solo is dangerous. What if something happens and there’ll be no one around to help you?!’
You’re alone in your house sometimes, right? You walk back home from parties by yourself, don’t you? We’re all are alone once in a while. Traveling solo has its up and downs, but it’s not as risky as they say. Something bad can always happen, and there might be nobody nearby. Besides, even if your friends would stay with you all the time, it wouldn’t keep you away from all the dangers. Don’t forget to let them know you’ll be cautious and keep them informed about where you are. Show them you’re independent and reasonable.
‘You could buy a car with this money.’
The money thing once again. A car would last many years and travel only takes several weeks or months, that’s what people often say. They tend to value objects more than experiences. Well, there’s no other way than explaining what matters for them doesn’t necessarily matter for you. While they enjoy buying stuff, you enjoy booking flight tickets and tasting different foods around the world. Interestingly, after all, many of them will get jealous of your adventures.
‘What is the point of going there?’
‘Is it so different? What are you going to do there anyway? If you want to go to the beach, you can drive to the coastal town 30 kilometers away from home.‘ Someone who hasn’t traveled might have severe difficulties understanding what you’re doing on the road. These kinds of questions appear especially if you’re going to some places that aren’t top tourist destinations. It’s easier to get why someone goes to Barcelona than why they’d love to see some weird Asian villages. That’s because people who haven’t traveled often don’t even imagine how amazing it feels to see new things, meet people and listen to their strange stories. You can just say that’s what gives you joy, just as they find happiness in other activities. If you want them to understand, start a blog, send emails and photos, show them what it means to be a traveler.
Remember that: You have the right to make your own decisions, no matter what other people think about it. They make their own decisions too. Would they go traveling if you told them to do so? No, if they’re not interested in it, they wouldn’t. And you won’t force it upon them, so don’t let them force something upon you.
Be understanding. Assertively is better than aggressive. Getting angry and fighting isn’t going to help. Stay calm. Show your dear ones that even though you leave, you appreciate and love them very much.
It can be hard for people to comprehend your ideas. Since they’re on your travels, they probably haven’t traveled themselves. They have different priorities and ways of thinking. Try to speak their language. Don’t get overly poetic or philosophical. Look for logical arguments and simple words.
Then, if it still doesn’t help, accept that sometimes people just disagree. You might be called insane or silly, but is it essential? Stop seeking approval, do what you want and make the best out of your journeys.