When parents question your decision to travel long-term

This week has been a little bit frustrating for me. I’ve let my parents know for quite a while that I will be leaving the US, traveling and then heading back towards Cambodia. My parents have always been very supportive of me and have always let me make my own judgments. They have never said ‘no’ to anything I have decided on. I, of course, value their opinion and do ask them for thoughts when I am making those decisions – it’s every child’s wish to have their parents’ approval and praise when making life changing decisions that can sometimes be confusing and hard to make.

My Decision to Leave:

It took me a long time to finally decide to leave. After years of working hard towards one goal, finding a stable job in the U.S., and in the process asking the question ‘is it really worth all this trouble,’ I came to the conclusion that it was not. I worked as hard as I could and don’t regret any of it. However, I found out eventually that all this was not worth it for me to be so far away from family and sacrifice the joy in my life – traveling. I also wanted to find out what else was out there. I was so focused on my field and how it’s used in the U.S. that it got in the way of what I want for the future. So, I decided that it would be wise for me to take some time to travel and research for not my own personal improvement but also for my career down the road.

Parents Worry:

It’s not unusual for parents to be concerned when their children say ‘I’m quitting my job, not looking for another one, will be traveling for a few months until I run out of money.’ I understand that. My parents have been quiet about my decision this whole time and have said things like ‘yea, you deserve a break.’ I think my parents are getting mixed feelings about the whole idea, which was very evident in the message I received last week.

The Conversation:

  • Mom: When are you leaving the U.S. again?
  • Me: February 26th.
  • Mom: Where are you going again?
  • Me: Copenhagen. Why?
  • Mom: Dad’s very worried about you.
  • Me: Why all of a sudden?
  • Mom: He says he can find you a job if you want and you can get a visa to stay in the U.S.
  • Me: That’s not really how it works and no, I don’t want to stay in the U.S.
  • Mom: Well, can you travel and go back in April?
  • Me: No… Mom, I have it all planned out, remember? It was hard for me to decide to leave and I have made my decisions. Don’t make things complicated because I get worried too sometimes.
  • Mom: Well, want me to help you look for a job in Korea?
  • Me:
  • Mom: Send me your resume.
  • Me: *rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant*
  • Mom: *silent*
  • Me: Sorry mom, here’s a picture of Minnie Mouse. Love me again…?

Why it affects me:

Anyway, you get the idea. Yes, it was a conversation that stressed me out a lot but it’s not just because my mom was asking me bunch of questions. The real reasons it frustrated me were because:

  1. I, too, at times have these thoughts about uncertainty and if freaks me out. AND, having it said out loud to you by the people whose opinions matter to you the most, and you trust the most, makes that problem seem 100 times more real. My head started to think “what if this travel is a waste of time, what if I should be looking for a job, should I be sending out my resume, am I traveling for too long, is this going to hurt my career,’ you get the idea. BAD thoughts. BAD.
  2. it makes me feel like my parents do not trust my judgment. It really made me feel like my parents were saying I wasn’t good enough to start this new idea and new project. That I should just settle for a job and be happy/grateful. That I don’t deserve this crazy experience and that I don’t have enough skills to go out there and make an actual impact.
  3. no matter how open minded my parents are compared to many traditional Korean parents, they will never be able to get rid of the idea of conventional life the society has put together (even though they never had one since my dad’s the one that decided to quit his stable job in Korea to start his own business in Cambodia).
  4. I am actually worrying my parents and I don’t like it. I’ve always been the one that’s on top of everything, has everything planned out and enjoyed stability. And now, I’m the kid that they can’t brag about to their neighbors since ‘my daughter is just traveling. She has no job,’ is probably not something they want to say.

However, what’s stressing me out the most is that I’m letting it get to me! So, I’ve been trying my best to shake it off. Like I said, I’ve thought this through for a long time and I’m ready to take on this challenge. This is just another obstacle I need to get through in order for me to do something that’s not ‘normal’ to many people.

Horoscopes are surprisingly correct


I was bored and decided to play around with my horoscope app. It scared me how accurate it was and it also helped me think things through and articulate why I was in such a crappy mood all week. I don’t take horoscopes seriously but I mean, come on:

“Willing to stand up for yourself….you are however finding it hard not to be pessimistic.”

“This week will be very frustrating for you, as a female member of your family, probably your mother, will question your qualities.” (!!!)

Crazy right? Anyway, as stressful as it is, I’m happy to know that although they will be worried and a little hurt by my decision, they will always be on my side and support me. I’m also thankful that they didn’t come right out and say no or that they didn’t bring it up while I was in the process of making my decision – as I know it would have affected me very much.

Have you had a similar conversation with your parents? How did your parents take it when you told them you were going to do something different with your life? Did it affect your decision making?

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2 thoughts on “When parents question your decision to travel long-term

  1. OMG YES! In 2010 I decided to do something that was admittedly unorthodox with my personal life and when I got up the nerve to tell my parents what I was doing, they flipped out! After a short cooling off period, I explained my decision to my mother and she came around and accepted what I was doing, but my father hung on to his negativity for the next 18 months. It’s tough, but you have to stick with what YOU think is right!

    • Always so hard when dealing with parents because you know they have your best interest at heart but just aren’t exposed to different lifestyles and are only used to what they’ve been though! Glad you stuck to what you wanted to do though! :)

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