I’ve known many parents who are terrified at the thought of their children travelling. Whether it’s international terrorism, Ebola, or EU instability, there’s always something that will be a cause for concern out in the wide-open world. The truth is that problems of this nature can’t be avoided, and should never be enough to justify giving up on the wonderful dream of travelling.
Wanderlust is a wonderful thing, and once it strikes someone that you love, you should be giving them all the encouragement they need to travel, especially as a parent. Travelling is an eye opening experience for a young person, and serves to better their understanding of the world and drive their personal and professional endeavours. Holding them back because of fear is selfish, and is preventing them from reaching their potential.
Firstly, there’s the professional aspects to consider. Employers are always keen for staff who have travelled, especially if the individual has volunteered or worked abroad. This kind of experience is crucial in the professional world, and can give a young person working experience that you would not find anywhere else. With unique skills such as these, your child would be in a better position to get better work.
Travelling is also very therapeutic, good for figuring out our problems and working out frustration. Everyone should be given the opportunity to see the world, so holding back your own child out of fear doesn’t make sense. Travelling is not only good for the mind, but also the body. You’re likely to walk for many miles whilst on your travels, all whilst changing up your usual diet, so it’s bound to have a beneficial effect. Opportunities such as summer sports camps are also highly active, and are considered even better for keeping fit whilst travelling.
There’s a reason why gap years are so popular. Taking time out of your professional endeavours to travel is a rare opportunity, and before you commit to your career and buying a home, taking the opportunity to travel is recommended. Even before you go to University, getting it all out of your system so you can focus on your work has become a standard practice. From this point, people don’t usually get the chance to travel until much later in their career, and this is fine, but communicate with your child and find out whether they’d be happy with that. Stopping them otherwise will only cause pain further down the line.
If there’s any lesson you want your child to learn as they grow, it is tolerance. Travelling teaches tolerance through cultural immersion, and gives us the best possible understanding of life beyond our own home. Immersion also has a range of other benefits, such as those for language learning. Being completely immersed in a new language is perfect for learning, as it forces you to develop your skills through interaction and listening, whilst encouraging a friendly disposition. This is the most natural way to learn a language, and beats any form of formal study.
Something else that can be taught through travel is self-reliance. Whilst your children are sure to get a hefty dosage if they decide to go to University, there’s no problem with getting started early. Self-reliance whilst travelling is especially important, since you’re miles away from home, and helps a young person realise the value of their decisions. There’s also some amazing chances to develop skills in socialisation; a young person will have to make social connections of their volition, something very important which I believe falls under the umbrella of self-reliance.
Having made my case, I believe it is perfectly justifiable for a parent to let go of their anxieties and grant permission for a young person to travel. I can understand why it is daunting, but preventing it will only breed resentment and ultimately disdain. Communicate with your child and work out an understanding if you’re finding it hard to let go, as sometimes all you need are the right assurances.