If you’re living overseas as an expat, taking a holiday, or working at a short-term job around the world, you’re going to experience incredible things as you take in new cultures, customs, and traditions. But, whether you’re a first-time traveler or you consider yourself to be a “professional nomad,” the idea of you traveling alone may not get easier for the people you love back home.
One of the best things you can do is to prepare your family ahead of time. If you plan on moving abroad for any reason, having the talk about it will calm everyone’s nerves a bit.
But, that doesn’t automatically mean your family won’t be worried – especially if you’re headed to a new place, or perhaps a country with a less-than-stellar reputation.
So, what can you do to reassure your family that you’re safe while traveling? How can you ease their worries and even get them excited about the things you’re doing?
Nurture Your Relationships
It’s estimated that 10 million Americans live outside of the U.S. So, while you’re certainly not alone in your travels, that statistics doesn’t always make it easier for family members back home to feel comfortable with it.
One of the best things you can do to ease their worries is to make sure you’re nurturing your relationships. Some of their concerns might come from a lack of connection. Your parents, for example, might be used to seeing you every day. Knowing they won’t be able to once you move is a hard reality, and it’s normal for them to worry.
Thankfully, technology makes it easier than ever to keep relationships going, no matter where you are. There are plenty of ways to stay connected, especially if you’re willing to get a little creative. Try some of the following ideas to “check-in” frequently and assure you’re family that you’re okay:
- Have a Zoom or FaceTime call at the same time each day.
- Communicate via email and share photos and videos.
- Be a part of holidays and big moments on conference calls.
You can also stay connected in a few “old-fashioned” ways. Sending postcards from your location, or writing weekly letters will give your family something to look forward to. It will also help them to realize you’re enjoying your time wherever you are, which can alleviate their worries.
Provide Extra Information
It’s not uncommon for worry and fear to stem from an absence of information. It’s easy for people to fill in gaps with their own imaginations when they don’t know what’s going on. The more information you can give your family before and during your trip, the more at ease they’re likely to be.
Thankfully, the kind of information you can/should share will also be helpful for your travels, making things easier and smoother for you as you head from one place to another. Make sure to keep them informed with the following:
- Your flight schedule(s)
- Information about where you’re staying
- How you’re being transported when you get there
- Proof of travel insurance
- How you plan on keeping yourself safe
It can also be a good idea to install a location-tracking app on your phone. Doing so will allow your family to know exactly where you are at any given time. So, if you’re not always able to check in with them, they can still look up your location and know you’re safe.
Everyday rituals can also ease the worries of the people back home. It will continue to keep your connection strong, but it will also provide reassurance when your family knows you’ll be calling them or sending a message at a certain time each day. If you’re overseas for work and you’re in different time zones, try calling them when you start your day – it could be how they end their days back home.
In-person meetings won’t always be easy when you’re an avid traveler. But, they’re not impossible. The more you make an effort to actually see your family, the easier your traveling lifestyle will be for them.
That might mean going home once a year for a visit or even using your family’s house as a “home base” between your travels. You could even rent a place in a more central location for a holiday or special event and meet your family there for a few days. It will save you both time, money, and effort while allowing you to see one another.
You could even invite your family to visit you wherever you’re staying. That might not always be possible with different schedules and financial issues, but if it’s a possibility you should consider it. Showing your family the place you’re currently calling home can offer them peace of mind. They’ll know you’re safe, they’ll get to know the area for themselves, and they might even start to realize why your love of traveling is so deep.
It’s normal for your family to be concerned about you while you’re traveling. So, do your part to reassure them. Just a few extra steps and different ways of “checking in” can make a big difference, and will help everyone to stay connected.