I don’t know if I’ve ever said this on the blog before, but I have THE BEST parents. They have supported me emotionally through all kinds of travel-related situations, they’re two of the biggest cheerleaders for ‘For the Love of Wanderlust’, and they’ve even helped me out financially, on occasion, to make sure I didn’t miss out on certain once-in-a-lifetime experiences while I was abroad. Their never-ending love and support has meant so much to me and even though they like to give me a hard time from time-to-time, they never forget to tell me how proud they are of me. So, I decided to sit down with them this weekend to do a little interview about their experience as the parents of a wandering spirit – a term they’ve lovingly decided to bestow upon me.
Would you say that travel was / is a priority to you for our family?
[Mom / Dad] *simultaneously* Yes!
Wow, thanks for that elaborate answer, guys. Ha! What role would say travel played in our family?
[M] It was an opportunity to spend time together as a family, to explore and learn new things together.
[D] That’s what I would say too. It was just time spent together with no other interferences and undivided attention.
What was the first thought that went through your head when I first started talking about taking off and wandering around the world?
What was your biggest concern?
[M] Something happening to you. That we’d get the phone call that you’re missing.
[D] There are crazy people out there and you seemed to think nothing would happen. You were so okay with it. When you went out we just wanted to know where you staying should something happen.
[M] Yeah, when you were Couchsurfing we wanted names, addresses and phone numbers…. I think, until you have a child you just don’t understand this part. It’s a parent thing. Plus, you’re too trusting and crazy. *laughs*
Well on that note, would you say that that fear gone away, or at least lessened over the years?
[Simultaneously] It’s still there.
[M] I don’t think it’s quite as bad because you’ve proven yourself, I think you’ve grown a lot and I don’t think you’re quite as cavalier about your safety as it felt like you were to begin with.
[D] I sleep better at night. When you first started it was hard not to stay awake, and waited for a sign that you were okay, but we were excited that you were getting to see all the things you were too.
[M] Yeah, we’re excited for you and there’s even a bit of jealousy too.
[D] Yeah there is.
What’s the worst or hardest part about having me away for weeks or months at a time?
[Simultaneously, again] Missing you.
Do you have a “scariest moment” of having a child traveling abroad?
[D] Uh, yeah.
[M] You know which story.
Yeah, I figured, but I want to hear it in your words.
[D] At the zoo.
[M] You were Facetiming us as two people came in your room and dragged you off your bed…
[D] … As you’re screaming…
[M] … And have a look of terror on your face. The scream faded off into the distance and then there was
[D] We heard nothing for about a half hour, maybe an hour. We started looking for passports. Did we need to call an embassy? It was terrible.
[M] Then you came back on like, “Oh my gosh, the guys just drug me out and hosed me down for Thai New Year.”
[D] I wish we had a recording of it because it was terrifying.
[M] When they walked in you had a this look of terror on your face because you knew what was coming, but on our end, it looked like you were just scared to death.
[D] It just felt like we were a million miles away.
[M] And there was nothing we could do.
[D] We thought we had just watched our daughter get kidnapped.
So, basically your worst fear realized.
[M] All the stuff we were afraid of and we got to watch it too.
[D] Not just hear about it, but we saw it.
Were you pissed when I came back and everything was fine?
[D] No, I wasn’t pissed I was just so…
[M] We were just so grateful that you came back and you were fine. I mean, I would’ve appreciated it if perhaps you would’ve contacted us a bit sooner than an hour.
Haha! Sorry about that… Is there anything you like about having a child who’s a wandering spirit?
[D] Well, I like seeing what you see. The pictures you bring back and there is some jealousy because I wish we would’ve done that…
[M] Yeah, when we were younger.
It’s not too late….
[M] It’s not too late, but we have more obligations. House payment, a business…
[D] If we had started when we first got married we could’ve done that. I don’t know that we would’ve gone oversees as much, but even here in the United States, we could’ve done more if we could go back.
[M] It wasn’t the thing to do either. There were the few who did it and everyone just thought they were the lazy people who didn’t want to get a job. Nowadays, it’s more accepted.
Oh, some people still think that…
[M] Well, some people do, but I don’t. Our parents would’ve died off if we would’ve decided to drop everything and take off.
So, you guys are all for the trip Matt and I are about to take?
[M] Except that we’ll miss you.
[D] Right. I just love seeing the adventures you take.
[M] And you’re a person that openly accepts and feels at ease in other cultures and people feel at ease with you.
Everything except the food.
[M] Yeah, but we didn’t even love the food in France. Italy has had the best food.
[D] My favorite is still the picture of you bathing the elephant. It’s spraying you and you’re laughing.
As a disclaimer, my feelings about riding elephants have evolved with education // I no longer have any desire to ride an elephant nor could I ethically recommend it, but this is the photo my parents are talking about, and in that moment it was a total dream come true. More to come on this in a later post.
[M] You had this look of joy, like this was your dream and you couldn’t believe you were doing it.
I remember you text me when I posted that picture.
[D] I’m gonna cry talking about it now. I was getting my oil changed and I could just see the joy and it looked like you were having a blast.
I’m going to kinda switch gears for a couple of questions about actually traveling with your kid. What has been the biggest difference between traveling with me as a child versus as an adult?
[M] Well, when you first go out it’s just Parent / Child, as you get older it’s still Parent / Child, but it’s also Friend.
[D] The conversations are different. I got to know you deeper. As a kid, you’re just excited to see certain things, but as you get older I got to get to know you as more than just my kid. It’s just neat.
[M] And you’re enthusiasm brings out more for us too.
[D] You were always fun to take on trips, but it’s just different now.
Awe, well thanks guys. What’s your favorite memory from our travels together?
*there was a good 15 seconds of silence*
[M] Gosh, there have been a lot of them.
So many that you can’t name any? HA!
[M] Well, when you held my hand standing in the Aegean Sea and we looked up at the Temple of Poseidon, just the beauty of that. Just the different places we’ve stood together. We’ve stood in the Coliseum, put our hands in the Mouth of Truth. Just the different things we’ve done… We’ve been to things that I never really thought I would go and see, and I probably wouldn’t have gone to see if it weren’t for you. I can just think of a whole bunch. Even when you have laid across me and slept on the plane. That was a moment when you were back to a little girl again.
[D] Just seeing all of the different things for the first time. The national parks, for me. You filming the prairie dogs (I was 9), just getting all excited and we just stood behind you watched you get excited about the small things. Plus, just all the things we’ve seen and playing the road trip games in the car.
[M] Yeah, the license plates, the alphabet game and seeing how many states we can see in one trip.
Instead of one specific moment, was there a favorite trip?
[D] Mine was the Alaska trip. We saw the bears in Yellowstone, just the long drive and all the things we did there were really neat.
It was like four vacations in one.
[D] Yeah, it was.
[M] For me, my favorite family trip was the Grand Canyon/Southwest Trip. Then, probably Italy would be my next, but I have a feeling that Iceland might become my new favorite because it’s just you and me. We get to choose what we do, we’re not on a tour or anything.
Lastly, what advice would you give to the parents of first-time world travelers?
[D] Let them do it.
[M] Yeah, encourage them to go out. Encourage them to be safe and wise. Also, let your parents know where you are. But definitely encourage them to go.
[D] If you can’t do it, live it through your kids. Well, not really live it, but you’re getting to see things not in a book, but through my daughter’s eyes. It’s almost like I’m there when I see the pictures you take.
[M] If you have a chance to do it, do it because the time might not come again. I would just say encourage your kids to do it, and if they need a little help to get there, help them if you can so they can at least once in their lives have an amazing journey.
[D] It’s just something you can look back on. Your memories are there forever. It’s neat to go back through pictures and relive it. I would definitely encourage them. Plus, your passport looks really cool. Haha!
If you can’t tell, I have some extremely special and loving parents. I’m so grateful to have parents who not only have instilled the importance of hard work and love for family and friends, but a sense of wanderlust as well. Thanks for sitting down with me guys and for all of the love + support you’ve given me through the years. I love you both!
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