I had an extremely lucky start to life. I was born without any major physical or mental disabilities. I was born into a stable family environment, raised in an average middle-class American household, and I graduated from high school with flying colors. So when I approached my parents about going to Morocco after graduation, they both just looked at each other like, “Where the hell did this come from?”
Up until this point, I had never really gone abroad alone or anywhere particularly novel. I went to Europe with 12 of my closes Mexican family members (no lie), but Africa was so far left field that they weren’t really sure what to do with it.
So they just let me go.
I was able to fundraise my way through the whole process so really it was my decision whether or not I was going to go through with it and my parents respected it. It was the first step towards having an adult relationship with two other adults who had just happened to give me life. Casual.
The truth is, I don’t know what it feels like to have my parents NOT support my dreams. They’ve always been my biggest fans, despite my throwing the f-bomb on blog posts with heavy traffic. That’s just who I am and they get it.
Having your own money to backup your argument is THE BEST way to prove that you have the maturity to support yourself abroad. Parents aren’t unreasonable, they’re just probably don’t trust any of your decision making abilities and I don’t blame them. If you show them that you’re mature enough to gather the funds necessary to pay for your adventure, they’ll recognize your dedication and hopefully, reward it handsomely since they won’t be covering the bill.
The more your parents know about where you’ll be at all times, the more likely they’ll be willing to let you go on your own. Keep a detailed list of where you’re staying, how your traveling from point A to point B, and what you plan to do while your there. This way, your parents will be able to keep in contact in case they want to check in that you’re alive and breathing.
3. Good Behavior
Make this easy on yourself. Don’t be a brat days before you ask to travel alone abroad. I know your young and your hormones are making you act cray cray, but being a good kid and cooperating with your parents HELPS your chances of being able to take off on your own.
4. Travel with a friend
Traveling with a friend often puts a worried parent’s mind to rest if some other adults signed off on a trip before them. It’s also just good travel sense to go with a friend because it makes things THAT much more fun and you get to share the memories with someone you care about.
5. Don’t travel with your significant other
Most likely, unless there’s a real sense of trust, your parents probably won’t be cool with you traveling with your partner in fear that you might elope or get knocked up. This is a legit concern and to curve this risk, save that “romantic holiday” for after Turkey Drop, a.k.a. Thanksgiving break where all of the high school sweethearts breakup and agree that both parties should “get more experience.” It’ll save you money in the long run for that awesome singles vacay that you’ll take during spring break with your bros or bro-etts.
6. Don’t put your studies at risk.
Taking a “gap year” isn’t really an American thing, but it should be. If you’re trying to take a gap year before you start college/university, be sure that you lock in your acceptance so that you can travel without fear of returning home to nothing. Many English teaching jobs abroad also require you to have a college degree so it’s in your best interest, especially if you want to teach abroad, to finish your degree first and then go abroad.
7. If you’re older than 22, you’re an adult. Just go.
Unless your passport is being held hostage, if you want to leave, then leave. Grow a pair of man/lady balls and DO IT ALREADY! Because if you can’t stand up to your own Mom, how the hell are you going to make it in the real world?
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