I started planning my solo trip this past August and knew the majority of my travels would be on my own. I personally have no problem with traveling on my own, and have for short periods of time traveled on my own in the United States and always turned out fine. However, now that I plan to be a solo female traveler abroad, many of my family and friends don’t seem to think it’s a good idea for me to be traveling on my own. Anytime my travel plans are brought up around my Dad he just rolls his eyes and shakes his head and then says “I’m hoping when she goes to Mexico it scares her out of doing the rest of her trip.” And even my boyfriend Ryan, who I started dating after most of my plans were set in stone, just told me the other day that he thinks I’m ignorant to the fact that I think I’ll be just fine while traveling alone. He keeps wanting me to watch the movie Hostel in hopes that it’ll scare me off from wanting to be in hostels and scaring me into thinking that something that happens in that movie could happen to me. Obviously bad things can happen to anyone during their travels, but bad things can also happen to anyone even in their home country or state or city. On top of my family and Ryan, other of my friends as well will mention something about the summer and will then be like but you’ll be in some other stupid country and not here, in a way that doesn’t sound jealous but more so like why would you go.
I started planning this trip as a way to in a sense find myself. I’m still young, and don’t entirely know what I want to do with my life, and thought seeing the world and volunteering abroad and helping others might shine some perspective on what path I would like to take in the long run. I didn’t want to just go on some random trip where I’m just a tourist doing the same things every other tourist does. I wanted to be able to see the world and experience what it’s like to work alongside local people and get a taste for what they do in their everyday lives.
Because my family and friends haven’t been as supportive on my leaving as I had hoped, it is making me less excited to go off and travel on my own. Some of my family is supportive though by saying I might as well go out and travel while I’m young and will have stories to tell later on in life from it. One of my uncles even said how people in the United States have such a bad conception on what it’s like to travel outside of the U.S. because “everyone” hates the United States. Yes I have heard stories on some travelers that are given a hard time from other travelers and natives in some countries because they are from the U.S., but at the same time I think most Americans have such a strong belief that everyone hates Americans which makes it unsafe for people to travel abroad – especially being a young solo female traveler.
Even though I wish my immediate family was more supportive on my decision to travel alone, I feel like my dad just can’t wrap his head around the concept that I won’t actually always be alone. Sure I’ll technically be traveling from place to place alone, but about 2/3’s of my travels are through volunteer abroad programs where I will be in a group setting for several weeks, not just on my own in one place for a few weeks at a time. He seemed especially concerned with me being in Fiji and Bali, both of which are touristy vacation islands which I keep trying to convey to him, but he doesn’t seem to want to listen. I’m hoping that after I come back for a couple days after my Mexico trip he’ll realize that I can fare for myself and will be just fine while on the other side of the world.
I know my family is mostly unsupportive because they’re really just worried about me, but sometimes it would be nice to have they say “You are going to have the time of your life there” or “This will be a really good experience for you” or any other sort of cliche supportive saying. Time will only tell on how their feelings about me leaving change in the next couple weeks and even once I’m gone.
Have you ever dealt with your family/friends being unsupportive of your decision to travel? If so how did you deal with it, and how do they feel about you traveling now?