STOP GUILTING YOUR NOMADIC FAMILY MEMBERS INTO FEELING LIKE THEY HAVE TO COME HOME!!!
Okay now that I have that off my chest let me dive a little deeper into what I’m speaking of. So, first and foremost, I haven’t actually personally had to deal with this specific issue, my family has always supported my travels. They give me the usual “stay safe, thinking of you, miss you, love you.” But that’s all, I am lucky enough to have never felt as if I was being emotionally blackmailed into coming home.
Traveling is something that certain people simply yearn for, it’s something that makes me feel independent, strong, and proud of myself. Traveling is something that makes me feel like myself, it makes me feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. That’s how a lot of travelers feel, I promise, it’s not just me. People who travel don’t want to be away from family and friends, they don’t feel joy in not being at home, they simply feel home everywhere.
Personally, traveling is something that has made me proud to be me. I used to be so shy and scared to talk to anyone. I couldn’t do anything by myself. When I was younger I would make my big brother do everything for me — order at restaurants, ask questions, take me or at least go with me where I wanted to go. Even at family reunions! I was scared to be without my big brother or mom or dad when we were hanging out with my actual family members. People I was related to. People who are obligated by blood to be nice to me. I was deep in that shell of awkward, scared of the world insecurity. Honestly the first time I even stayed in a hostel wasn’t until I was 23, much later than a lot of the people I meet now on my travels. From there though, I was hooked. I spent the better part of the next year living in Queenstown in New Zealand and traveled through Southeast Asia for the first time, visiting four countries. I did eventually return ‘home’ to the amazing valley I was blessed to grow up in, but I never took my mind off of the idea of traveling again.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I definitely meet a lot of people who are completely uninterested in ever going back to where they’re from. They hate their home countries, home towns, whatever. I LOVE the Roaring Fork Valley. If you’ve hung out with me for more than five minutes you’ve heard enough about two things in my life in order to last you a lifetime — 1. My dog (she’s the greatest thing to ever grace this planet and if you’ve met her you’re welcome)
and 2. My hometown. It’s small, its welcoming, it’s fun, it’s got everything I like to do, it’s beautiful. Geez, honestly I would love to grow old there! It’s a magical place. And honestly, say what you want about the politics of the United States (trust me it would be a whole other blog post for me to say my peace) but it’s a beautiful country. There’s so much there, so much to see, so much to do. I’ve only seen a fraction of it, but my god, did Mother Nature do a great job. And the humans did a decent job as well, aye?
That being said, when people ask when I’m going home, or ‘don’t you miss home?’ It’s actually a simple answer. I miss my dog, but no, I don’t have any idea when I’m going home. Because this is what I want to do. This is what I’m meant to do.
Every time I travel to a new place by myself, every time I make a new group of friends at some random, tiny hostel, every time I fall in love with a new place, every time I simply use public transportation successfully, I’m so exponentially proud of myself.
I love feeling insecure in a new place now, because when I get over that and I go out and meet new people and do new things, I feel so much more empowered and excited about the next place. My introverted self, deep down in my mind, she’s super friggin proud of me every day, and that’s all that I need to know that right now I’m doing the right thing for me.
As for your traveling family members and friends? They feel the same way. They didn’t leave to make you miss them, they left for them. They left because there’s something missing or something they haven’t found at home, and they’re exploring the world in search of it. Don’t get me wrong, you are more than welcome to miss them! That’s not what I’m saying here, but dang just let them travel. Tell them you love them, tell them you miss them, tell them you’re thinking of them, tell them you’re proud of them, tell them you’re excited they’ve fallen in love, whether with a person or a place. Just please, dear god, stop emotionally blackmailing them into coming home. Stop asking when they’ll be home, stop saying you’re sad they’re not there, stop saying ‘I just need you right now’, stop using their love for you to make them feel bad that they’re not with you. That may not be what you mean to be doing, but it is, and it’s not fair. You are literally telling them to stop doing what makes them happy, stop doing what makes them proud and excited to be them, in order to make you happy instead, and that’s simply not fair (and come on, be honest, deep down, you know that).
Travelers are nomadic, and may not feel like they need to be home. They may be independent and strong, but sometimes they just need a little bit of support from home, a little bit of excitement for them and what they’re doing.
Encourage them, don’t tear them down until they feel like they have to come home. I know you wouldn’t be doing it if you realized, so here you are, this is me telling you what you’re doing, and to politely, please, cut it out. I mean, if anything, use their travels as an opportunity to check out a new part of the world yourself! My dad visited me in New Zealand and my mom in Southeast Asia! Grab that opportunity people! We may not be home, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love you!