37 In Travel/ Travel Talk/ Wanderlust From Others

Why My Parents Are Okay with Me Being A Wandering Spirit

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?

[M] No.

[D] Scared.

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

[Together] Nothing.

[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. 

[Together] YES

[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?

[Together] No.

[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?

[Together] Yeah.

[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.

*more silence*

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?

[M] Pray.

[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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  • Reply
    January 17, 2017 at 10:20 am

    It’s awesome that your parents are supportive of your travels. They seem so proud!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 18, 2017 at 10:03 pm

      Thanks for reading, Alice. I definitely count myself fortunate for having them as my parents!

  • Reply
    January 17, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Great interview!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 18, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      Thanks, Dale! It was a lot of fun to sit down with them and do this!

  • Reply
    Thelittlelai: Beyond limits
    January 17, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Wow, you’re just so blessed to have a parents like them. Aside from they really support you in all your travels, they even support you financially in your travels. My parents didn’t know much about my life, especially my love for travel. I didn’t grow up with my parents since I was 13 years old and that something I guess have made me independent in almost all ways. Thank you for sharing your super blessed life.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 17, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your parents so young. I am very, very blessed. They have certainly helped me from time to time with money to do something extra-special while I’m abroad, but just to clarify they don’t pay for my travels. I have never lacked in the emotional support that they’ve given me. I’m sure you’re making your parents proud. Xx

  • Reply
    Megan Indoe
    January 17, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Wow, I love that your parents were so supportive of your desire to travel! I wish mine were more eager to see the world and more excited about travel! Also, even though you already did elephant riding I think it’s awesome you talk about it and also mention that it’s something you don’t agree with anymore! There’s no shame in learning from mistakes and spreading the word!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 18, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      Thanks so much, Megan. I was actually really nervous about including the elephant riding because I’ve been working on that post for a while now, and I just can’t get it to the point that it feels ready to publish. I appreciate you being understanding and I’m hoping others will be too! I am very lucky to have parents who are also inflicted with wanderlust. They like to give me a hard time about being away a lot, but they still are so totally amazing!

  • Reply
    January 17, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    Awe, what a wonderful post. Having parents who support your love of traveling is so awesome. This makes me want to interview my parents 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 19, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Thanks, Candy! I think it would be fun to read the interviews of other travel blogger’s parents!

  • Reply
    Aubrie Engman
    January 17, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    This was such a cute idea for an article! My parents were definitely worried at first and I think they still worry sometimes now, but I think they are finally more used to it!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 19, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks, Aubrie! I don’t think my parents will ever stop worrying, but they’re definitely less vocal about it and I think they trust my decisions a whole lot more now!

  • Reply
    January 18, 2017 at 6:36 am

    Aww I love this so much. I never thought to do this. I love how their opinions of being scared have changed and how they are more open to it now since you have been doing it awhile. Good luck on your next adventure.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 19, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      Thank you so much. It was such a fun interview to conduct. It was a little awkward, oddly, because it was like I was stepping out of the daughter role and into the writer role for my parents. But I’m so glad I did it! It was so much fun!

  • Reply
    January 18, 2017 at 7:09 am

    It’s a blessing to have family that supports you in whatever you choose to do in life. Not all parents are that accomodating. I’m curious to know how close you got to the bear in Alaska. That photo looks like you were right next to it.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 19, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      It truly is a blessing! The bear was actually in Wyoming, on the way to Alaska (my dad and I drove there from Missouri), but we were VERY close. We had woken up early to drive to part of Yellowstone and saw that mama along with two cubs down in a valley. We pulled over to take pictures and watch them. Through our cameras we didn’t realize how close they were getting until we put them down. We were about 6 feet away. Luckily, we were able to jump back in the car. This bear sat right next to my car window and ate flowers (where this was taken from) about 2-3 feet away!

  • Reply
    January 18, 2017 at 10:47 am

    That’s a really cute post! Great idea!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 19, 2017 at 3:37 pm

      Thanks, Holly! I hope you’re doing well! I may be coming by your bakery in 2018! <3 <3 <3

  • Reply
    January 18, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Sounds like your parents have a good sense of humor, but you still gave them quite a fright. My mom hates that I travel but she knows she can’t stop me so at least we don’t fight about it. She was never much of a traveler herself though.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 19, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      I definitely terrified them. I feel so bad because I didn’t even think of how that looked to them! It’s very true that it’s a great thing that you and your mom don’t fight about travels; that would be the worst!

  • Reply
    January 18, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    It’s so great that your parents stood by your decision to travel and still support you to this day. Kudos to them!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 19, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      It’s truly a blessing. They’re fantastic!

  • Reply
    Sarah Kim
    January 18, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I love this interview! The part about you getting dragged out for the Thai New Year is hilarious. I can tell how that would be scary from your parents’ end! I love how you appreciate your parents so much. Mine both died by the time I was 10 so when people appreciate their parents, it makes me happy 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 19, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      I definitely got an earful for that one! I’m so sorry that you lost your parents so young, but I know you’re making them proud still. Xx

  • Reply
    TalesOfABackpacker🌍 (@clairesturz)
    January 18, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Aww this was so sweet, it brought a tear to my eye! I am very lucky to have the support of my parents when I travel, and I know they were terrified when I first left. They’re not surprised at all now when I tell them I’m off again, but they will always worry I think – natural parent tendancy I suppose – thankfully whatsapp has made it much easier to keep in touch now than when I had to call a landline to speak to them!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 19, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      Awe! Thank you, Claire! I’m glad that you also have your parents’ support! You’re absolutely right that smartphones and their apps have made communication much easier!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    When I first left Australia 13yrs ago, I still remember my parents crying at the airport and everything I told I was venture off somewhere they would be like before its dangerous. These days, all they say is be safe and have a great time. It makes it easier when your parents are supportive.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      I definitely know that feeling – my parents cry every time I leave for an extended period of time! It’s great that our parents see that travel is important and try to embrace it instead of guilt trip us!

  • Reply
    Stella the Travelerette
    January 19, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Your parents do sound really special and loving. That Thai New Year story is hilarious! Your poor parents must have been so scared! It’s great that they support and encourage your travels.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 20, 2017 at 7:51 am

      They definitely are! I still feel bad about the whole Thai New Year thing. I didn’t even think of how it looked! I would’ve called back sooner if I had! Haha.

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    January 20, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Very warm and touching interview. Your parents come across with all their love and concern, like parents anywhere. Loved the lovely interaction between Mom, Dad n Daughter.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 20, 2017 at 7:58 am

      Thank you! They are definitely great parents! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Reply
    Anne @TravelTheGlobe (@TTGLOBE4L)
    January 20, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Oh your parents seem so sweet. I’m not surprised they were terrified though when your ‘kidnapping’ took place. The joy of parenting!

  • Reply
    World Of A Wanderer (@worldofawander)
    January 20, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Loved this post. It is so important to have a strong support system. I have so many friends that travel whose family doesn’t fully support their decision, and it’s quite sad. I’ve been blessed to have a family that supports me, no matter how afraid they are at times, and I’m so thankful for it. Your parents seem wonderful and it’s really great that travel has been a big part of your family.

  • Reply
    Ami Bhat
    January 20, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    I love this post. I suppose this is what most parents go through and I can feel myself relating to your mom, especially since my little girl has been talking of backpacking in a few years….that she says is her dream. Can’t blame her …I brought that on 🙂

  • Reply
    Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad
    February 2, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Aww, this is great! My parents aren’t travellers at all but I think I’ve been banging on about it for so long that it’s instilled into them that it’s what I love doing, ha!! That said, they’ve been super supportive whatever I’ve done, including my 18 month stint around the world, and I’m really glad they’ve never tried to hold me back. 🙂

  • Reply
    Always a Foreigner
    February 24, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    What a great idea to have an interview!! I always wonder what my mom thinks, even though she puts up a supportive front most of the time, I know she is scared and misses having me there.

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