How Do You Deal With The Travelers In Your Life?
A few days ago I was talking to some travel girls in a group chat on Instagram about how to deal with friends back home who cut communication with them while they were traveling. Around the same time I was reflecting on how sad/angry I am that I haven't been hearing from my twin sister, Madison, as much as I thought I would while she is in South America.
Then it occurred to me…the idea of long term travel is only now becoming more common in our society and we really don’t have it all figured out yet. I’m talking about friends and family who feel forgotten by their loved ones while they travel and travelers who feel like the enemy for choosing a path of happiness and exploration.
I can’t even tell you the amount of times I’ve talked to friends about their guilt and insecurities caused by the idea of leaving the people they love to travel. “What happens if a family member gets sick?” “What if a friendship fades because I won’t see them?” “What happens if I can’t talk to everyone every day because of the time change or bad wifi?” “What if I end up missing everyone and don’t enjoy traveling?”
On the opposite side are the questions and thoughts I hear over and over again from those family and friends at home. “When are they ever going to settle down?” “I can’t believe I haven’t heard from them in weeks.” “How could they be so selfish to leave their family and friends?” “Where could they possibly get all of this money?”
Travel is a totally personal choice and in every sense selfish. Whether you travel to volunteer, teach, party, shop, sight-see, eat, hike, aid etc. I believe you are or at least should be looking for personal enrichment through the journey. I congratulate people who recognize the value in personal experience, which is why I can understand, for example, one of my best friends’ choice to move across the world from Canada to Australia to be with the love of her life leaving behind her family and friends. I say “You Go Girl!” for recognizing her personal needs and feeding into her soul’s happiness.
I think the negative opinions that friends and family members have of their traveling friends and family is rooted in a lack of understanding or to be kinder a lack of dialogue and communication.
I’m not saying that communication will remove the sadness/missing the person but understanding their motives and goals is important to allow yourself to value and respect their decision.
When an individual chose's a lifestyle that conflicts with a historical and societal norm of course there is bound to be confusion and negativity. The current generation places value on an idea that has never really existed before. Even if we don't all seek a year round travel lifestyle I have yet to meet a 20 something year old who does not show even the slightest envy of their peers who have chosen travel over a 9-5 job. This is an idea that I think really challenges the generation above us in every sense. Most parents, employers, mentors, adults in general struggle to fully grasp the idea that most of us value travel more than ever before. We can be hard working and dedicated in our professional careers but you can guarantee we will be using all vacation days. Some of us may never find a career and seize the most of each day by roaming the world aimlessly learning more each day. Others may find quick jobs such as serving or retail positions to save quick money and continue their travels only returning home to fund their next adventure.
I hope that this little rant has inspired you to reach out to your traveling friends and let them know you support their happiness and if you are traveling send a quick note back home to let your friends and family know you are on a journey of self discovery and the pursuit of happiness and that you would love their understanding and respect!