Saturday, October 1st, 2016

Why Do I Feel So Guilty?

61

The Asia Jaunt is about to begin.  The day after tomorrow, I leave for New York; the next day, I fly to Bangkok via Seoul.

You’d think I’m excited — and I am.  I’m very excited, and I’m very much looking forward to my adventure. It’s just that an overwhelming guilt has taken over my body.

My parents are both really upset.

For the past four years, my sister and I have lived in Boston.  My parents, who are divorced, both live 20 minutes north of the city.  It was easy for us to see each other all the time.  Now, that’s gone.

I wouldn’t feel as bad if my sister were still around…but she just moved to New York.  And my parents are struggling with that as well.

While I know how upset they are, I hear the worst parts secondhand and thirdhand.  Family members and friends are telling me that my mom is crying all the time, that my dad is convinced I’m going to come home in a body bag.  They both worry they’re never going to see me alive again.

And I don’t want to do this to them!

I’ve promised to drop them a quick “I’m alive” email every day, at least until I get way off the beaten path, and we plan to Skype.  My mom wants to visit me in Thailand; I hope my dad can, too.

But this guilt is consuming everything I do.  Why can’t I just be excited for this trip like a normal person?

Then I started thinking more.  I’m excited for this trip, of course, but I have some worries:

What if I run out of money and need to come home early? I’ve been trying so hard to achieve my dream of becoming a digital nomad.  It would be humiliating to fail.

What if I become so shy I can’t climb out of my shell? This happens to me in new situations.  I know, you wouldn’t think so.  😉  I’m trying to fight it, but it’s so hard.

There are little fears.  What if none of my credit cards work when I arrive?  What if I can’t find tampons anywhere?

And the big fears: Illness.  Injury.  Robbery. Things I don’t want to think about.

What if I hate this trip? The darkest fear of all.  WHAT IF MY LIFE TURNS OUT TO BE A LIE, AND THE TRIP I’VE WANTED TO DO FOR SO LONG ENDS UP BEING AWFUL?

Worrying about how my parents are going to deal with my absence is giving me something to think about instead of my own fears.  I know my parents will be fine.

I just hope that I’m able to get over my own fears and enjoy my trip to the fullest.

Long-term travelers, have you ever felt conflicting emotions like these?  Does it get any easier?  What should I do?

Comments

61 Responses to “Why Do I Feel So Guilty?”
  1. Bo says:

    I think the guilt & fears are completely normal. I know exactly what you mean.

    But what if you don’t try? What if you don’t step out on a limb and attempt something new?

    That…not trying…that is my worst fear of all.

    • Exactly, Bo. The moment I moved to Boston, I told myself, “This isn’t it.” I knew that only living in Boston would become a huge regret of mine, so I always lived there with the thought of it being temporary. (And that’s also why I hate being in a relationship, but that’s something else altogether!)

      I won’t be the person who doesn’t try.

  2. I think fear of the unknown is natural. When we take ourselves out of our comfort zone, that leaves us with multiple possibilities of what can happen. Think about it this way. If you had stayed at your job, that would have been a decision to choose out of fear because the possibilities of what might happen are not as great as this trip you are embarking on. Someone once told me that when we make decisions in life out of love, that it’s scary because the possibilities are endless. That’s why many times we make decisions out of fear, because it is less scary. I hope I’m explaining this in a way that makes sense. Sorry if it seems like jibber jabber.

    I think you are doing the right thing by choosing a path that you want rather than conforming to what society wants us to do. Even if some of those fears happen, it’s not the end of the world. In the end, would you rather sit in a comfortable chair and watch the world go by or would you rather live life to the fullest? One more thing I try to tell myself is that worry never gets me anywhere. Usually the things I worry about are not even the things that end up happening. Hope this helps a little.

  3. Priscilla says:

    Oh Kate,
    I can totally relate! I married and moved to the UK for 3 1/2 years. This was before internet, cell phones, etc… gave birth to first child overseas without family. Felt so completely guilty! Everytime a bomb went off in the underground we would get a panic call from family wondering if we were still alive. We thought nothing of it really which made them feel stupid at times, but helped us calm them down.
    Moved to dangerous Naples, Italy for a bit and they worried because years earlier there was a car bomb that killed some US Navy guys and we did not know if he was one of them for hours! Husband volunteered to go to Iraq/Turkey during 1st Gulf War and they worried. I went to Israel to visit him during height of violence in Gaza strip and our disco was bombed out days later. All killed. Narrow miss for us and of course family was beserk!
    Our families worry, but we still need to go on our adventures because that’s who we are. They will be okay. Especially since you have sophisticated methods of communicating with them. One thing, I would caution against getting their hopes up you will be in contact so much as technology has a way of letting us down and if they don’t it will truly panic them. I would give them a Sunday for sure deadline each week and if your technology breaks down, borrow someone else’s just to send a text that you are fine, but out of touch.
    As for your fear of failure – the MOST successful people in the world, failed at something in their path towards greatness. True failure in life is NEVER TRYING in the first place!
    Go for it! We are all behind you and don’t care if you are gone for 7 days or 7 months – you’ve already won our admiration for trying!
    Cheers & Bon Voyage!

    • Priscilla, THANK YOU for this What a great post! It’s nice to know someone who’s gone through the same thing.

      Great tip about the technology. I’ve been warning them that there won’t be internet in a lot of places — especially southern Laos and the Cordillera in the Philippines — but I think I need to emphasize that with them once again.

  4. Gary Arndt says:

    We fear what we don’t know. You can get robbed and beaten and killed at home. Remember the Boston Strangler??

    Because you familiar with home, those fears are discounted. When we encounter something new, we defensively think of everything which could go wrong, and ignore the fact that hundreds of millions of people in Asia every day are not beaten, robed or raped.

    You’ll be fine. You aren’t the first person to do this and I have yet to meet someone who travels extensively who regretted it.

    It will take you a week or so to adjust to your new surroundings, but you’ll do fine.

  5. I feel the same way with my parents, but at the end of the day, they should want you to live out your dreams, even if it’s upsetting at first. And tampons are seriously hard to come by in northern Thailand (unless you find a Boots somewhere) so stock up!

  6. Mary McManus says:

    Whenever you step way out of your comfort zone, you are gonna feel fear and angst. It’s called taking a leap of faith. So here’s what you do girlfriend – release all of the fears and focus on what YOU want to create as a result of this trip. If you check out my journey (while you’re waiting for planes, etc) http://www.newworldgreetings.blogspot.com, http://www.marymcmanus.com and http://www.youtube.com/marysunshine100 you’ll see I know what I am talking about. It is not about the traveling – it is about the adventure, following your bliss, and going where no woman has gone before (okay a little too dramatic maybe). You are going to succeed. If you dreamed this, then you are meant to live it. Wishing you safe travels, happy trails and the journey of a lifetime.

  7. Brooks says:

    I’ve certainly had and am having many of these fears too. Especially the concern about family, especially my mother. We’re very close, since my sister moved away 10 years ago, and I’m sure it will be tough for her (as she’s expressed), but after a bit that’ll settle down and she’s expressed a joy for me following my dreams. Technology can keep you together and will ease the transition.

    As for the big fears you mentioned, they’re just an expression of how important this is to you, so use it as a motivator. You got this!

    Btw – dig the design of your site!

  8. Jayne says:

    Your fears are completely normal Kate! In the run up to a RTW trip there is lots of time for planning, saving and also thinking. Guilt is a natural part of this thinking process for lots of us. Once you get going however each day is so exciting, the people you meet and sights you see are so fascinating that there won’t be time for guilt! Enjoy the time you have left with your family and friends and then set off to have the time of your life. I recently wrote a farewell post to a friend who has just left for a RTW trip – its mainly tongue-in-cheek but you might find some of the points useful 🙂

    http://40before30challenge.blogspot.com/2010/09/farewell-to-friend-about-to-go-rtw.html

  9. The fear is good. First, you should feel a little fear — it keeps you on your toes. It will also help you to get more out of the experience, because your senses will be heightened. Talked to you directly about the parental guilt thing, so I won’t repeat here. As to “not liking it,” I tend to doubt it. You already have traveled and love it. Like you and I have talked about before though, you may hate a specific place. Follow your instincts. If 15 people you are hanging with love Bangkok or Hanoi or whatever and you don’t…. move on. Every place hits people different ways — follow your own wants and desires.

  10. Kate says:

    You can do it! It’s hard not to feel guilty about your parents and your family being so worried, but you can’t control their emotions. You’re doing something you’ve been dreaming about, and you owe it to yourself to take the leap! Their dread and anxiety are probably augmenting yours, and you have enough on your mind. As hard as it is to deal with, I think the best thing is to be loving and firm with your family: you love them, but you’re going. It’s only for a few months, and then you’re coming back. You’ll be in touch. And then… get on that plane and live your dream to the fullest!! Just by planning this trip and moving from dream to reality, you’ve done something huge. The journey itself will be a whole ‘nother adventure, and you can never know what will happen. Take it as it comes!

  11. JoAnna says:

    I don’t think you’ll fail if you at least try. One of the things that a lot of people don’t know about me is that my husband and I terminated our Peace Corps service early. Did we make it through our service like we planned? No, and sometimes we regret that we weren’t able to pull through. But did we fail? Absolutely not. We know we helped some people directly during our service, and we both grew exponentially as a result of the experience.

    When you leave for your trip, you will have moments of doubt and fear and regret. Many RTW and long-term travelers do. Heck, lots of people who take short vacations regret something … and so do those who stay home. There will be rough patches, but there will also be amazing moments that would never have happened had you not packed your bags and boarded that airplane.

    • JoAnna, that’s something that I always forget — that there are ALWAYS going to be bad times. Much worse than you imagine. But those things are going to happen, no matter what, so I’d rather experience them while traveling!

      I’m surprised at the number of PCVs who didn’t finish their service…you don’t hear about them, but there are a ton of them!

      • JoAnna says:

        There are a lot of us – I would guess about 25% don’t complete service for one reason or another, but I don’t know the exact number. There are lots of reasons – medical issues, safety evacuations, personal choice, etc. You probably don’t hear about them because it’s not necessarily relevant whether they finished or not. The point is that they did it, and I’d be willing to bet that most of those people got something out of their time while they were abroad.

  12. Amanda says:

    I think the fear is only natural, Kate. And the guilt too, perhaps. It’s always hard to leave the familiar behind for the unknown. And even harder when family and friends are worried and upset about it.

    It’s good that you’re concerned about your parents’ feelings; that shows you’re definitely not being selfish or anything like that. But they’ll come around. I feel like they always do.

    Plus, if you gave in to all these fears and decided not to go at all, I’m sure you’d regret it down the line. The “what ifs” in life are the worst. So, even if it turns out long-term travel isn’t for you, at least you’ll know from experience.

  13. Annie says:

    I think it’s all completely normal, it’s a new adventure and a big one! I know it’s hard to be happy when you know that your parents are super worried but they will eventually see that you are okay alone and that you are doing everything you wanted. Parents just want their kids to be happy and safe, and you’re a saavy traveler 🙂

    As far as what happens when you get there, everything is a new adventure and believe it or not the hard confusing and inconvenient things make just as great of stories! I think you’ll be surprised and if things go wrong for any reason, it’s never a failure just an unplanned adventure! 🙂

    Good luck!!

  14. Beach Senior says:

    Maybe you should feel guilty.

  15. Colleen says:

    I was terrified the first time Cindy went to Europe, but once I was communicating with her on a normal basis, I was fine. It’s also probably that your parents will miss you. Loving them like you do, just make sure that you try to communicate with them in SOME WAY at least everyday. This will make them worry less and miss you less as well. It’s just love, and parents can’t really help that.

  16. Amy says:

    As someone who comes from parents who make me feel guilty for any time I take for myself that doesn’t involve them, I can tell you that your parents will get over it. And if they don’t, well, that is their loss and not yours. You lived abroad in Italy for months and traveled throughout Europe – which I know is not the same as SEA infrastructure-wise, but you did it and you were younger to boot. You took risks but didn’t go insane, and you were totally fine. And you got mugged in your own Boston neighborhood! That stuff can indeed happen anywhere. I think that as long as you make smart choices (and you will) and keep in touch with your home base every once in a while (and you will), all will be fine.

    Every time I get on a plane I worry about what might happen, no matter where I’m flying. I am a nervous traveler, I will totally admit to that. I just tell myself, when it’s time to get out of bed and go to the airport for departure, “Amy, go put on your shoes and have an adventure.” And it’s never been a bad decision. I’m still here, healthy, etc. You got your wallet jacked in Buenos Aires, I got mine jacked in Edinburgh, stuff happens. But you’ve traveled enough and are mature enough to deal with whatever is thrown at you. Plus people turn out to be surprisingly nice and helpful because they know how they’d feel if they were in your situation. SEA has a very well-worn backpacker trail, and you will run into lots of others doing the same thing. You are going to be fine – yes, you’ll be scared sometimes, maybe you’ll wish you could go home sometimes. If you have to cut it short, then you will. But you’ll have gone! And you can move on to the next place if anything seems too awful. If you hate SEA to death, use a chunk of cash, fly to Paris for a long weekend, eat some croissants and write in your journal, and fly back to the States. In other words, DO WHATEVER YOU WANT. Your life, your money, your trip! Personally, I think you’ll come back in 7 months and we won’t be able to get you to shut up about SEA and its awesome. There will be epic blogs about Laos and Thailand and all the others.

    So, go put your shoes on and have an adventure! 😀

    • Amy, I love this comment SO MUCH!! Especially the part about Paris…haha!

      I’ve actually been watching a fellow traveler do that exact thing — Sally at unbravegirl.com. She’s been in Southeast Asia for awhile, but every now and then, just decided she wasn’t feeling where she was and took off for something new. She’s in Chiang Mai now (along with half the travel blogging community, it seems like!) and I plan to meet her there.

      You’ve given me so much confidence! Thank you so much!! And I know you’re busy with school and work and the wedding, but how awesome would it be for us to travel together sometime?

      And BTW — if I become one of those people who won’t shut up about where she’s been (if I’m not already), PLEASE slap some sense into me! You have my full permission!

  17. Anthony says:

    Kate, Congratulations- you’re a human being! It sounds that as overwhelming they may be, you are feeling all the emotions that a person would feel to be going on such an epic journey. Fear, happiness, excitement, doubt and of course the big bitch that is guilt.

    Yup, sounds like a checklist that’s perfectly acceptable. I still remember my then 7-year old brother crying in Newcastle airport as I went to live in Germany for one year, it was awful (I’ll get him back when he is older).
    The most important thing is regardless of your emotions- you’re still going! Have fun 🙂

  18. Line says:

    It is so nice to hear I am not the only one having all those fears… I am planning on travelling to South America in December for 4 months, but I have been putting of buying the ticket because of all those thoughts of what if I don’t like it, if I don’t meet anyone to talk to, or if I run out of money before time… But now I am gonna go ahead and buy it because of course I can do it and I know I will love it when I am actually on my way and if I decide to come home early it will not be the end of the world.
    Thank you for giving me that little push to actually get going.

    Have a fantastic trip 🙂

  19. Christine says:

    I’m really lucky to have an incredibly supportive family–my parents are so proud that I’m living the “gypsy lifestyle” and that I decided to go to France. They never understood why I didn’t study abroad, and so they’re happy that I finally decided to live overseas.
    I think having some doubts is understandable, but I’ve always believed in looking on the bright side. Worrying won’t really get you anywhere, and if you’re only thinking about what can wrong, you can miss a lot of the good stuff!
    In short, be optimistic and have SO MUCH FUN!

  20. Travel out says:

    Kate, all gonna be alright 🙂 Just relax, take a deep breathe. Here, from me with hearth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNjX1SK-Gvo.

  21. Giulia says:

    It’s not going to be awful. Period. 🙂

    And you know, I feel guilty too, sometimes I think “why don’t I spend more time with my family?” – I am afraid I’ll regret this one day.

    But I also know that I’m doing what I really want and there’s nothing wrong in it.

    So yes, keep in contact with your family but try to enjoy your trip – You’ve been longing for it for so long and now the time has finally come:)

    You know, your situation reminds me of mine too – I have a brother who “left first”, moved out and got married. So after that, I felt I just couldn’t leave because I felt so guilty.
    Then my parents divorced and I moved with my mother. Even worse. So I basically left her alone now… But she’s happy for me and that counts.

    I’m on the road now and I can tell you there’s nothing to worry about. It’s going to be awesome as you dreamed about or even better because many surprises are waiting for you.

    And if something bad is going to happen – illness, injury, etc. – you can’t know that in advance. So worrying in advance is plain useless:)
    And at least you were having fun and enjoying your life when that “something” happened.
    The only accident I had was while working. I’d rather get injured while having fun, believe me:)

    Good luck with your trip and I’ll stay tuned to read about it!
    G

  22. ayngelina says:

    One thing that really helps my mother is that every time I’m about to go to a new city I email her:
    1) the website of the hostel so she can see it’s nice
    2) Google maps pointing out new city so she can track where I am
    3) Flickr link of all the photos of that city so she can see it’s beautiful

    I also try to skype with her the night before I leave. At 33, she still worries about me. But you need to do this for you, she will learn how to deal with it.

    Good luck.

  23. Abby says:

    Awww Ayngelina, that’s so sweet! My mom is the same way — she needs to be able to visualize where all of her kids are. Kate, I know EXACTLY how you feel! Both of my brothers and I were living an hour flight to my parents, and then one brother and I moved overseas within a month of each other. Me to Costa Rica, him to… China. I felt so guilty! But it will all work out. Enjoy the nerves!! Have a safe trip!

  24. Candice says:

    Yes, I love to go on trips too but often times I think first about how they’re going to react and what they’re going to say. I can tell you too that it’s very tiring even before the planning starts.

  25. Dee says:

    You can find the same things and more in a Pharmacy out there as you do back home. We just couldn’t find specific herbal things like say melatonin. However…. I highly suggest you look into getting a diva cup for your travels if you still have time to go buy it! I took one on my trip to avoid the hassle of needing to buy supplies all the time and I LOVED it. Research it on google if you don’t know what it is. It was a life saver sometimes.

  26. Anthony says:

    I reckon I’m the only one who now knows what a “diva cup” is out of all my friends. Cheers google.

  27. Lissie says:

    I was very lucky with my mother – although she apparently did worry I never found out until many years later – she never let on to either my brother or I – not even when I was travelling solo in India and trekking in Nepal – frankly getting Bangkok was like a trip home to the West LOL

    I never knew how lucky I was – the reason we came “home” last year was basically the guilt my partner had for is elderly mother who never stopped with the “when are you coming home” so when she got ill… If they weren’t related to you it would be called blackmail.

    I should think you are already in Asia and having a great time – and let the parents get used to worrying about their own lives!

  28. Jenny says:

    It’s natural to go through the emotions you’re having. You’ll be fine.

    However, if you do go and find out that it’s not what you want, don’t feel like your ‘living a lie’ or letting anyone down. It takes trying new things to figure that out.

    I met a girl who left home with her best-friend to travel for a year. After 3-weeks one of them decided it wasn’t for her and went home while the other (the one I met) continued on her journey. Neither is wrong. It depends on what you want and like.

  29. Scott says:

    Kate,

    just discovered the site, really look forward to following your jaunt! Anyway, for me travel is always tinged with a little guilt. I always feel bad that I am getting to do all these exciting things and so many will never get the chance. It got the point this summer, that i literally just stopped talking about my upcoming trip to Europe, anyway safe travels!

  30. Focus Kate. You have lots of fun! It will be a life changing experience! AND YES, THERE WILL BE TAMPONS! Let the sole sisters know if you drop by Manila and maybe we can take some trips together!

    IT’S GONNA BE AWESOME!

  31. Focus Kate. You’ll have lots of fun! It will be a life changing experience! AND YES, THERE WILL BE TAMPONS! Let the sole sisters know if you drop by Manila and maybe we can take some trips together!

    IT’S GONNA BE AWESOME!

  32. Mark says:

    Kate,

    You never have to worry about your life being a lie. I’m sure you’ll have a blast, but even if you don’t, the only thing you’ll be guilty of is learning something. You’re exploring the world, to be sure, but you’re on a journey of self exploration, too.

    Relax. Enjoy the ride. When things go awry, just think of the stories you’ll be able to tell. Sometimes, you’ll find what you expect and sometimes you’ll find something completely out of left field, but that’s what makes the journey fun, isn’t it?

  33. Carissa says:

    Hey Lovie:

    YOU ARE GOING TO BE FINE. I have traveled a bunch, and although not for a trip longer than a month, I was fine. If I was fine, you’ll be fine.

    That said, sometimes things do happen, BUT you can handle it. You are good at problem solving and you will never be left in a situation without money. Now that we are in the age of technology, money can be wired or sent over the internet. You can always email your family or friends if you need something wired in an emergency situation (including me).

    One tip: Call your credit card companies before you leave and give them your tentative itinerary. AND THEN CALL AGAIN to confirm before you leave. Carry the 1800 numbers with you in case something happens; each country has a different number to call sometimes.

    And a second tip: Also put some emergency money in a safe place or two. I usually put some in the lining of my suitcase and some other easily accessible place… It makes me feel more self-assured.

    Anyways, you know where to find me if you need to chat or need anything else.

    XOXO,

    C

  34. Erica says:

    Kate,

    I’m currently going through the, “WHAT IF I’M LIVING A LIE AND FAIL?!?!?!?” question myself.

    My entire family thinks we’re nuts for leaving the “safe” confines of the United States. I even had someone say that he used to be Special Ops and that he hopes he doesn’t have to come rescue me in Colombia because he had done missions down there before.

    Good grief.

    I’m sure that once you are in the air, a heavy load will lift and I’m sure your confidence will come back.

    Best wishes girlie!

  35. Michael says:

    wow Kate, great post. I love the fall pics too 🙂 I think you summed up a lot of peoples fears, mine for sure and it’s great to see them just thrown on the table.
    I often think too, “what if it’s all a big lie and the life I dream about is one I won’t enjoy” or what if “I was to meet some travelers, heck maybe some of you and I was to shy to come out of my shell”. I also find that fear relevant to when I think about traveling because I too tend to be shell like at times.

    My parents both passed away this summer but I can understand you there, my mom would have been terrified.

    I think all your questions are great and it sounds like you are doing your best to provide solutions to some of them. Keeping in contact with mom and dad, etc. You of course will never be able to satisfy everyone’s fears but you can help lessen them.

    I also think the one question that makes all these questions nill is “what if I never did it?” And Don’t fret over how normal people feel about travel, this isn’t exactly a normal trip and you are having legitimate concerns that anyone would face. You are probably more normal to be having these fears. If you didn’t think about these things you wouldn’t be such a prepared traveler. Good for you.

  36. It’s hard to leave home. Moving to live far away from home there isn’t a day going by without me thinking how my parents feel. But I have to live my life, and in my case to think of my own family, so later I will not have to look back and regret not doing it.
    Being emotional about it is a good thing. I would be worried if you weren’t.

  37. When I left to travel around Asia and the Middle East last year, I told everyone I was going for six months. Because I was afraid that if I said any longer, it would be humiliating when I sold my passport for beans one night in an inebriated stupor or got robbed by determined Cambodian children and had to return home. Now, I’m at eight months, have yet to be robbed (touch wood!), and am thinking I am going to make the year-mark. Though I have yet to find out about if it’s easy to buy tampons here because I am toting so many that they fall out of my bag sometimes mid-conversation with a dorrmate who stares awkwardly when I grab two of them and pretend to be a walrus. The fears will fade; it’ll be enjoyable! My parents were worried too that I would be made into a human lampshade — but here I still am!

  38. Kate,

    I’m glad to know someone suffers from the same fears I do. The one that plagues me the most – and the worst of all – is the fear that I will come to hate travel. The fear that all the time I’ve spent into making my life location-independent is for naught. I think it’s natural, though – as others have pointed out, we possess a fear of the unknown, but yet have a fascination towards it; we are drawn as inexplicably towards the unknown as we are towards what is comfortable. It’s better to be scared and alive than comfortable and dead, I think.

    As for your parents, it’s their job to worry. You can’t let that stop you from living your life! So many people are conventional and will think those of us who have no need to settle are oddballs, and they worry that something is wrong with us. It is bad enough with friends; with parents it must be horrible. Nonetheless, they have to come to understand who you are and what it is you seek to accomplish – otherwise, they simply hold you back. It seems that much of their fear stems from the idea that the world is a dangerous place – get out there and show them that it is not!

    I’m not yet a long-term traveler, myself. I can’t tell you if it gets any easier, but I can sympathize with the way you feel now. My trip is scheduled to begin in slightly over a year, when I depart from home to bike my way across Europe and Asia. I’m both insanely excited, and absurdly terrified. While I worry about my own family, I also realize that if I do not do this, if I do not do everything within my power to make my life what I have dreamed of for so long, I will forever regret it, and I have the feeling that you are the same.

    If worst comes to worst, and you do decide that the nomadic life isn’t for you, then you’ve lost nothing and gained a world (literally) of experience that very few others have. You can return and start over from there.

    Good luck, and happy travels!

  39. Hi Kate! Parental guilt-trips can be so difficult! I feel your pain!

    I live in Asia where filial piety is practically an ingrained social value and even a central tenet of alot of our government policies. Parents here fully expect kids to support them in old age (which is totally fine!) but then there’s also an expectation that adult children don’t leave their parental homes until you get married. Even after marriage, it’s pretty common here for couples to live with their in-laws. Multi-generational families are actually encouraged and the norm here.

    It’s changing though – alot more youngsters these days (i.e. my generation) are taking the leap to live independently & travel more.

    But there’s still so much guilt with leaving home, especially if you’re single!

    I fully plan to support my parents even if I’m live apart from them when I’m older. But I think I’ll feel guilty for not physically being there day to day.

    I’m hoping to work abroad someday since that’s probably the only way to live away from home without feeling too guilty! I dream of taking off to travel the world someday like you too – though I’m not sure how I’ll break the news to my parents!

    Know that you’re not alone in feeling conflicted! Hope you have a wonderful start to your Asian gallivant! If you’re ever in Singapore, feel free to say hi (:

  40. Mike says:

    Kate this is very helpful and relevant to me! I’ll be leaving to teac in Spain in about 6 months and these feelings of disappointment and why if scenarios creep up on me some days. However I know that if I don’t do this, I will always regret this. Plus I know that I will grow so much from this experience. I’m glad I found this post. Thank you Kate!

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