An Open Letter to the Parents of Backpackers

This letter is for all you parents who worry on behalf of all the sons and daughters who long to do nothing more than strap on a rucksack packed with the bare essentials and break away from the norm. This one is dedicated to you mom.

Dear Parents,

For you, it may be daunting to think that your child is in another country with little or no knowledge of the culture or ways of life – but this is what makes us thrive. This is what teaches us the life lessons that cannot be taught in a classroom or lecture hall. This is what makes us believe that we can do anything, and trust me, we really do believe that we can do anything. Life is limitless. Traveling shows us that there is more to life than working a bullshit job and just ‘getting by’. There is no education greater than the lessons one learns whilst traveling.

You may think that your daughter or son is aimlessly wandering the world with no end goal of a career, but here’s the thing – we aim to be lost. Being lost at 26 is much better than being 40 years old and looking back at your twenties with regrets of not taking risks. You are probably also worried that your child is damaging they’re hopes of any sort of career due to constant job hopping and globetrotting, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Traveling really does have the ability to change our lives completely, no matter how cliche that may sound.

You see, this generation is different. This generation has so many more opportunities; and going to college, getting a degree and a job for life is no longer the objective. Traveling is much more eye opening and immersive than a book will ever be, because you write your own chapters and tell your own story. And is there anything better than a really good story?

You know that when we are gone, we miss home everyday, even if it seems like it is the opposite. You may not see the tough times though, the times when we cry in to our pillow at night because we miss the normality of home life and the support from the people who we’ve spent 20 years surrounded by. The times when we sleep rough, when we have ran out of money and the times when all we want to do is return home again. We probably won’t tell you we’ve been crying, we will tell you what an amazing time we are having. We don’t want to worry you with our struggles. You see, we learn to not rely on you – we learn to look after ourselves. But always remember that no matter what happens, we will always return home, even if just briefly. Home really is where the heart is.

You want to protect us, but you must let us go to be free to discover ourselves and the world. You fear something going wrong and not being there to protect us, but in essence, this is the whole point. Traveling is there to teach us to no longer rely on our parents, but to trust our instinct and make mistakes for ourselves to learn from. You have done an amazing job in preparing us for the rest of our life – now it is time to let us live it ourselves, spread our wings and fly free!

Sincerely,

The young and the restless.

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