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

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.







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