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Dealing with Unsupportive Family and Friends Who Try To Crush Your Travel Dreams

May 4, 2016

If you want to travel or go anywhere, really, you’ll want to learn to be your very own cheerleader, preferably sooner than later.

Why? ‘Cause the haters are going to hate. The indifferent are going to disappear.  And, just like that, you’ll be left with…you.

Get ready for the ride of your life. how to deal with unsupportive friends

If you are smitten with wanderlust and actually take steps to put travel, adventures, and dreams into action, especially unconventional ones, such as full-time nomadic living, extended travel, or worldschooling your children, you may just discover a world of haters you never thought existed.

People are going to intentionally and unintentionally try to bring you down.

People are going to try to discourage you from stepping toward and into your dreams.

People are going to attempt to steer you toward ‘safety’–back toward your their comfort zone.

If you’re hoping for cheers, applause, overwhelming words of support from family, friends, acquaintances, or colleagues when you announce your plan to quit or change your job and travel the world–or announce any other dreamy plan–don’t be surprised if there’s a lack of positive fanfare, at least at first.

From my own experiences, and from those who have shared their own travel experiences with me, as well as the countless stories I’ve read on Facebook or gleaned in parenting, travel, and homeschooling/roadschooling circles, it’s not uncommon for eager travelers fueled with wanderlust to discover a lack of encouragement among family and friends when they share their travel plans.

Truth be told, no one is going to support your wanderlust or travel dreams–or cheer you on and encourage you to travel more, travel broader, see the world…ALL of it–like you can and must do for yourself.

Gulp.  Swallow.  It’s a hard, sad truth.

By the way, this is the point where you might want to crank G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha’s song Me, Myself & I to uplift your spirits.

Somehow, when wanderlusty types actually put their dreams and plans in motion, people you thought would offer the most support run for cover.  That’s why you need lyrics or a mantra in your head, such as “Oh, it’s just me, myself and I, Solo ride until I die, Cause I got me for life, Oh I don’t need a hand to hold, Even when the night is cold, I got that fire in my soul.”

Be warned everyone under the sun is going to offer you their unsolicited opinion about what you’re wanting to do.   Why would you want to do that?  It can’t be safe for a woman to travel solo? Isn’t that country dangerous?  You need to grow up and get your priorities straight. How will you afford all that travel?  You’re going to shortchange your kids if you don’t provide them a ‘real school’ experience if you take them around the world instead. What do you need to see out there anyway, everything you need is right here (in this town, in our friendship, in your job, etc.).

Somehow wanderlust and travel can have a polarizing effect on relationships. Even long-term friendships that you thought could weather anything.

Friends and family may think you’re running away from them. Friends make think your abandoning them.  They may tell you or suggest that you must believe you’re better than them–or you’re too stuck up, special, spoiled, privileged, rich, wild, free-spirited, or too selfish to stay put and live an ordinary life.

Despite your enthusiasm and best laid plans, your mother-in-law may freak out, your own parents may suggest you’re not thinking clearly, your siblings may think you’ve gone off the deep end, your neighbors may tell you that you’re making a mistake, your boss may say you’re behaving irrationally, or your bestie may argue your travel plans make you too untamed for a continued friendship.

Unsupportive family and friends may believe you have a problem–your wanderlust, your cravings for more…. They may even tell you that YOU are the problem.

You’re going to have to dig deep and remind yourself that those who refuse or even hesitate to support your dreams are likely insanely jealous or fearful about what your willingness to travel or risk it all in the name of adventure ultimately means or says about their own lives and decisions.  The lack of support is not about you. 

Few people are going to jump up and down and yell at you to be gone, already.  Few people are going to encourage you to dream big, go big, or chase after your jumbo-sized, adventurous travel dreams.

Most people will respond with words like, ‘wow,’ ‘cool,’ ‘neat,’ or the classic line, ‘I wish I could do that’ (to which you’re probably wondering, why can’t you?), and then be done with the conversation.  A handful of people will ask follow up questions with genuine curiosity.

Some people will say an encouraging word or two, but are secretly shriveling up with envy and jealousy, or on the verge of eruption–ready to spew resentment that you are doing what they’ve always hoped to do.  After all, why do you get to be the girl (or boy) who got away from the regular, ordinary life?

Some people will feign support.  Others will say gossipy, maybe even over-the-top judgmental things about you as soon as you’re out of earshot.  Some will keep their thoughts quiet until you board the plane.  Others will have shared their opinion about your ‘ridiculous, hopeless, childish’ (or insert any other unsupportive or unkind word) plans on social media before you’ve even finished telling them your travel itinerary.

Others will rip your plan apart in front of your face. They will try to rip you apart too.

Somehow when people choose travel dreams, friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers react in unexpected and unpleasant ways.  The response you get from friends and family when you tell them you’re following your dreams, taking time to travel, or making any other lifestyle change to pursue your wanderlust can be heartbreaking.

But you might also discover your biggest fans.  Those fans might turn out to be the people you least expected to stand up alongside you with pom-poms in hand.

Regardless of who whips out pom-poms, if anyone does or when, it is ultimately YOU who must rock the cheerleader outfit and attitude.

Your travel dreams are YOUR dreams.  They belong exclusively to you.

You don’t have to justify your plans, dreams, or wanderlust to the naysayers.

You don’t have to meet others’ expectations–or compromise who you are or what you believe in.

You don’t have to do what other people think you should do–or what other people think is reasonable, rational, or well behaved.

You don’t have to be anyone, but yourself–the one with dreams, plans, and a passion for experiencing adventure and soaking up possibilities.

Life is too short to pretend you’re someone you’re not, especially if pretending is to make others feel comfortable in their own comfort zones, at the risk of not expanding yours.

Once you let go of the need to hear cheers and applause from family and friends, you’ll come to see you really are your own very best cheerleader.

And the ironic thing you may discover in letting go of your need for acceptance and approval by others is that some of those haters and unsupportive people who initially dissed your dreams come around and take some interest in your adventures, once they realize that you still bear resemblance to the person they once knew…you just happen to be someone more amazing thanks to incredible, life-changing travel experience.

So, go ahead, grab some pom poms and get ready for the ride of your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If You’re Motivated, You Can Find Ways to Travel

April 29, 2016

You want to travel.  So, so, so want to travel.  Wanderlust occupies your brain. But a travel lifestyle sounds totally impossible, right?

After all, you have bills to pay and a bunch of grown-up responsibilities–maybe a mortgage or lease, private school tuition, daycare expenses, student loans, a job…as in I have to get up and go to work in a building, at a desk job.

It didn’t take embarking on a 48-State Road Trip SOLO with my four children last year to convince me that anyone can find the time to travel the world and make it financially feasible.

Anyone can travel–even live a long-term, nomadic lifestyle–if they are committed to the idea of doing so and making it happen.  Even with kids in the picture.

Since my college days, when Kraft Mac & Cheese was dinner most nights of the week, I have made travel a top priority.  In those days and still in my late teens, I figured out a way to set money aside to travel.  In law school, I continued to travel.  Years later and with four kids in the picture, I continue to prioritize travel.

For me, prioritizing travel is about leading the life I want, and living a life that reflects my authentic self.

I value experiences over things. I value relationships over stuff.

I’d rather have a plane ticket and a plan to stay at cheap hostels, than have a closet full of fabulous dresses or a drawer filled with jewelry.  Actually, I’m not too keen on laundry piles, so I’d rather have a few pairs of jeans and a few t-shirts that I adore and do laundry more frequently, than a wardrobe stocked with clothes to last months.  I’d rather cook at home, order cheap take-out, or chew my way through a baguette and cheese from a neighborhood market, than go to an upscale restaurant.  I’d rather drive the same car for longer than replace it every two years. I’d rather sit around a bonfire or go for a hike with friends, than go to the theater or have the latest tech gadget.

Travel can be as luxurious or frugal as you can afford to make it.

For the price of staying a week at a high-end, all-inclusive resort, it’s possible to rent an apartment in Paris for months–and much, much longer in other parts of the world.  For the price of staying at a mainstream, average hotel for a week, it’s often possible to spend the same amount and rent an apartment for weeks instead.

I’ve traveled enough to know.

If you’re motivated enough, you can find ways to save and finance your travel lifestyle dreams.  You can probably even dream up a workable plan to quit your day job.  With enough planning, you can set a job or career trajectory that allows you to travel often, slow-travel, or live a nomadic lifestyle–or find a job that supports your dream lifestyle.

It’s all about figuring out your priorities.

If you want travel to happen, it can.

For additional reading, check out some of these inspiring posts:

 

 

 

 

Getting Through Post-Travel Depression: The Downside of Coming Back to Reality

April 28, 2016

It’s not always easy coming back to the reality of a regular (sometimes boring), mainstream life or normal routine after you’ve been gone away on a trip.  Post-vacation or post-holiday blues are seemingly common, especially when a trip away from the mundane was packed with excitement, fun, adventure, or relaxation.

Post-trip blues can be a bit more intense when coming back ‘home’ after an extended trip.

I know. I’ve been there.

I’m not making this stuff up.  It’s legit.  Just ask anyone who has traveled and returned home.

While I’m usually very excited to come home after a long travel adventure, I usually experience a let-down effect in the days after my bags are unpacked and the ordinary routine of home life returns. Though I’ve always climbed out of a post-trip funk relatively quickly, particularly as the distance from my trip grows, jet lag disappears, and lingering nostalgia settles, I know this isn’t the case for everyone.

Some people experience deeper and longer lasting post-trip ruts.

At times, the downside of coming back to reality after travel feels similar to those feelings experienced after a holiday rush–those feelings that surface after the presents that took weeks to shop for are unwrapped, holiday parties are over, and visiting guests have long left.  Some people feel worn down, exhausted, sad, short-tempered, maybe even weepy, and homesick–but for their adventure and for what was, rather than for home.

Sometimes, though, it takes some people longer to bust out of a post-trip mood.  Occasionally, post-trip blues morph into something more serious–depression–which requires professional mental health attention and care.  

The fix?  Is there a cure for post-travel lows?

Yes! Time.  Time usually heals everything, right?  It definitely helps remedy post-vacation blues.

But one of the most effective strategies I’ve discovered to beat the blues is starting to research or plan the next trip.  It’s hard to let the reality of normalcy bite when you are busy filling up your bucket list with new travel ideas.  Planning a future trip is a good distraction.  Plus, a new plan in your calendar book gives you something to get excited about.

A new plan will keep your brain occupied, and replace the space that was earlier occupied by post-trip emotions.  Keep in mind, a new plan could also entail making a big lifestyle change or overhauling your relationships or life direction, perhaps based on something you learned about yourself or discovered while away; consider that the need for real, lasting change of some sort could underlie your post-trip mood.

Talking about your trip with other people, sharing your pics, and stories, or connecting with people you met on your adventure can also go a long way toward recovering from post-trip lows.

Of course, if you happen to be someone who doesn’t experience a post-trip funk, don’t put yourself into one thinking that there’s something wrong with you or your trip experience.  After all, the beauty of travel is that everyone’s experience is uniquely their own.

So, happy, sad, relieved, flooded with mixed emotions, or feeling whatever, take it all in stride.  It’s all part of the adventure.