I knew going abroad, even to my mother’s homeland, would be very difficult for my family to accept. I am the youngest of eight children and will always be seen as the baby. I have always been surrounded by overprotected people who can never seem to easily let me go and experience the world on my own. Unfortunately for them never really give them the choice. I have always been considered the adventurer and the independent one of the family; always going off and learning about the world around me. IThey admire that about me and want to support me on my endeavors, but are always conflicted by fear and anxiety.
I’ve had the separation conversation with my family many times before, usually I simply remind them that it is more dangerous for me to grow up in a bubble of ignorance than it is for me to experience the world and become a self sufficient person. Yet it was a lot easier convincing them to support my independence when I was still in the same country. This time I received a lot more resistance, they didn’t understand how traveling alone to another country would in anyway benefit me as a person; all they could think of was me being mugged or hurt in some way. This is when I came across the perfect passage by Mark Jenkins, that could help enlighten my family as to why being a wanderer is good for me and how supporting my adventures is the best thing for me, in order to
becoming the best person I can be in life. Jenkin states, “Adventure is a path. Real adventure-self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagined it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind- and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”
When I told my family this quote, I asked for each of them to recollect on each of their experiences abroad, specifically the bad ones, and how they have changed because of them. Then I asked them, if they thought that they could have learned or grown as much as they did, if they didn’t go abroad and instead learned from other people’s experiences and advice. After a moment of reflection they all seem to come to terms with the fact that it is necessary for me to go on this adventure and for them to learn from my own experiences. And although they finally supported me going on my trip alone, that didn’t stop them from trying to give me as much advice and preparation as they could. As means to ensure their support as well as help them cope with the separation, we agreed that I will send them weekly pictures and updates, and they will send little adventure ideas and places they think I should do while abroad.