‘Be safe’, mum always says.
Whether it’s nights out on the town, solo trips across the world or going to the shops, she always says, ‘be safe’.
I know my mother wishes nothing but happiness for me, but the fear of something happening to me when travelling is something that would cripple her with worry.
This letter is for all you parents who worry on behalf of all the girls who long to do nothing more than strap on a rucksack packed with the bare essentials and break away from the norm. This one is dedicated to you mum.
For you, it may be daunting to think that your little girl is in another country with little or no knowledge of the culture or ways of life – but this is what makes us thrive. This is what teaches us the life lessons that cannot be taught in a classroom or lecture hall. This is what makes us believe that we can do anything, and trust me, we really do believe that we can do anything. Life is limitless. Travelling shows us that there is more to life than working a minimum wage job and just ‘getting by’. There is no education greater than the lessons one learns whilst travelling.
You’re probably worried for your daughter’s safety; it’s normal. But your daughter is smart; she is capable and she is independent. She really can look after herself, I promise you. You might fear the worst each time she informs you of her future plans, but the important thing to remember is that you must not live in fear of what may happen, instead letting us enjoy the roller coaster that is life and seeing where it takes us.
You may think that your daughter is aimlessly wandering the world with no end goal of a career, but here’s the thing – we aim to be lost. Being lost at 24 is much better than being 40 years old and looking back at your twenties with regrets of not taking risks. You are probably also worried that your daughter is damaging her hopes of any sort of career due to her constant job hopping and globetrotting, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Travelling really does have the ability to change our lives completely, no matter how cliche that may sound.
You see, this generation is different. This generation has so many more opportunities; and going to university, getting a degree and a job for life is no longer the objective. Travelling is much more eye opening and immersive than a book will ever be, because you write your own chapters and tell your own story. And is there anything better than a really good story?
You know that when we are gone, we miss home everyday, even if it seems like it is the opposite. You may not see the tough times though, the times we we cry in to our pillow at night because we miss the normality of home life and the support from the people who we’ve spent 20 years surrounded by. The times when we sleep rough, when we have ran out of money and the times when all we want to do is return home again. We probably won’t tell you we’ve been crying, we will tell you what an amazing time we are having. We don’t want to worry you with our struggles. You see, we learn to not rely on you – we learn to look after ourselves. But always remember that no matter what happens, we will always return home, even if just briefly. Home really is where the heart is.
You understand our desire to see more and do more, but your worry overcomes everything else. You will constantly ask questions, over and over again, and we will give you the same answer. You will never be satisfied with the answer we give you, but that’s your job – to worry. You’ve worked so hard for two decades raising us and you want to do everything possible to keep us safe.
You want to protect us, but you must let us go to be free to discover ourselves and the world. You fear something going wrong and not being there to protect your little girl, but in essence, this is the whole point. Travelling is there to teach us to no longer rely on our parents, but to trust our instinct and make mistakes for ourselves to learn from. You have done an amazing job in preparing your daughter for the rest of her life – now it is time to let her live it herself, spread her wings and fly free.
On behalf of all your little girls.
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