4 Tips for Traveling Without Reducing your Neurotic Parents into Nervous, Gibbering Wrecks

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Guest Post by: Mike Curtis who has has just returned to Merry old Blighty after spending 3 months being very, very lost in Asia. He now works for Uswitch, comparing gas and electricity prices. Forever.

“Mum, I’m going to go to a Malaria hot spot, strip naked, create several open wounds, and then I’m going to play football, hopefully in a minefield. I may also take time to snort the local chicken droppings before attempting to undermine a violent dictatorship with nothing more than a megaphone and my cheeky personality”

Not actually what I said – I actually just told her that I’m going backpacking across Asia – but judging by her reaction, this is what she chose to hear.

Now, this is by no means an unusual reaction in my neck of the woods – I grew up in deepest darkest Norfolk, England. Which, for those who have never heard of it (everyone) is historically remote farmer country. I’m quite confident that Tolkien based his Hobbits on us. People from London are considered ‘strange and exotic’, and anything further afield is viewed only by most through the prism of Rupert-Murdoch-o-vision. So, of course I was going to get off the plane and immediately get SUPER-SARS and die instantly.

So, for those of you who want to travel half the world and nearly get married by accident (that’s another post) but don’t want to make your Mummy cry while your doing it, I’d like to provide my handy little guide.

1) For gods sake, remember birthdays

Ironically, considering her concern for my safety, if I forgot my Sisters birthday, my Mum would fly out east and kill me herself, to hell with local dangers. Hallmarks Personalised Birthday Cards bailed me out, when all other hope was lost.

2) Finally accept that Facebook request

It’s not like your folks are going to know how to use it, anyway. That picture of you passed out in your Yom Tom at 7am in Vang Vieng goes from embarrassing to effortless proof that you live. Sort of.

3) Skype

Not to actually use, mind. But when your Mum can’t get the video call working, she’ll automatically assume it’s her fault. And not that you completely forgot and aren’t online.

4) Leave a bit of emergency money

And instructions for how to use a moneygram service. They’ll feel better if you have some means to help you out, even if you don’t need it.

Image of Vietnam by Amy Thibodeau

 

18 Responses

  1. j.

    August 1, 2011 2:07 pm

    I’ve always found lying to be particularly effective. “No, mom, I’m not going to Guatemala City. It isn’t any more dangerous than anywhere else, though,” and “Of course I won’t wander Manhattan alone at night,” are two of my favorites.

    Though “I’ve got plenty of money,” is moving up quickly.
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    • j.

      September 28, 2011 4:20 am

      I don’t see much difference between me lying to them to keep them calm now, and them lying to me when I was a kid (and, you know, last week/month/year about dr. stuff) to keep me calm.

      Could I just tell them “If I tell you what I’m really up to, you’d freak out”?

      Sure. But then they’d freak out. And call the consulate when I’m not on Skype all day long. Or when I’m delayed 10 minutes on our “weekly” call. Or when there’s news of anything happening within 1,000 miles of where I am.

      People can say lying to parents or whoever is wrong. But sometimes it really is “for their own good.” Eventually… they may be able to deal with it. Just not yet.

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  2. carly

    August 23, 2011 4:54 am

    That’s how I sounded to my mom when I told her I was traveling to Thailand. :) I never thought of accepting my parents Facebook request or the emergency money tips to calm them down. Great tips!
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  3. Sarah

    September 14, 2011 11:50 pm

    Well, one daily sms confirming that everything is ok with us is sometimes enough… our parents just need to check that we are alive!!! And of course, some emergency money is mandatory!
    3 months in Asia… what a great vacations! ;)
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  4. Lily@EasternAirways

    September 27, 2011 11:23 pm

    First off, I love the title of this post and you make some great points. My sister traveled abroad with school and decided that she wanted to go to the Czech Republic, which was not on the itinerary. She hopped a train, had a blast and told my [furious] parents when she got back. ;)

    Reply
  5. Dion

    September 28, 2011 10:25 pm

    It can be wonderful to have the opportunity to read a good quality write-up like this and I believe too that people can say lying to parents or whoever is wrong. But sometimes it really is for their own good. I consent along with your conclusions and definately will desperately look ahead to your updates. Thanks a lot and keep on putting up worth more details.
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  6. Wendy

    October 19, 2011 1:01 am

    Truly believe on this that it may be wonderful to have the opportunity to read a good quality write-up like this but too that folks can say lying to parents or whoever is wrong. Knowing and accepting your feelings brings freedom and a stronger connection with difficult parents. As an adult child, simply saying out loud, “It aggravates me when mom tells me how to discipline my kids!” can be liberating.
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  7. Xander

    October 25, 2011 10:55 am

    This is so true especially if you have an overly protective parents. I myself don’t like my mom to get worried every time I’m away. I give her all the information she needed especially if where to contact me.
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  8. slumdunk0506

    October 25, 2011 5:25 pm

    Good article, I got the same from my parents when I went to India, I had to phone home virtually every day. The funny thing is that it is probably safer that my hometown of Glasgow. | :P
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