Explaining to your friends and family that you’re leaving your job to travel

Published On April 23, 2014 | By Erin | Travel

You only live once.


How many times have you heard that saying?


It’s true, but it’s also easier said than done to throw everything aside and take off on a big adventure. I recently decided to take a career break and head off to do a summer in Turkey, which is something I’ve wanted to do for ages. The biggest problem I found wasn’t only saving up for my little adventure, but also the attitudes of people when I told them, and the actual telling of my plans, especially to my family.


I’ve always been very close to my family, and never really ventured too far, so my little bombshell was a slightly out of the blue. “Mum, Dad, I’m going to Turkey for seven months …”


Yeah, you can imagine that went down well.


Despite this, it’s true that family and friends, real friends, only want you to be happy, so if you can explain your reasons for the little shot of news, then you’ll eventually get them to see that this is only going to be a good thing for you.


1)     Formulate your plan first. If everything is clear in your head, you can explain it all to those that need to know, and answer the inevitable questions that come with it. For me the question was more about how I was going to afford it, but I’d figured it all out beforehand and come up with a plan, so I could easily assure my family that I wasn’t going to end up penniless, setting up a tent on the beach.

2)     Make sure they take you seriously. “I’m going to travelling” is something everyone says at least once in their life, and half the time it’s just a whim, and it never gets past looking at a few pretty beach pictures on Google. Because of this, whenever you say those four words to people, most of the time they’ll just roll their eyes and think ‘yeah, yeah’. It’s important to get them to take you seriously, and that’s where having it all clear in your head first will come in handy. Don’t roll in drunk one day and decide to declare to your housemate that he or she has to pay the rent on their own for a few months, because you’re taking off to Thailand to find yourself.

3)     Think finances.Money trees don’t exist unfortunately, so before you even tell anyone of your plans, look at how you’re going to be able to afford it. This could be finding a second job, juggling your current savings around, or working freelance whilst you’re away, but make sure you can afford it before you open up your heart to your family. They will be concerned about you, so having your money sorted out will assure them that you’re going to be safe, and that you can afford a return ticket home.

4)     Expect a few doubters.I’m going to get stereotypical now, but because my choice of destination was Turkey, I’ve had to bat off suggestions for months now that my choice is down to a man. They’re wrong, and it’s taken every bit of my self control not to throw my toys out of the pram and get stressed every time I heard a sarcastic comment. Rising to the bait will only prove the doubters wrong in their own mind, so just stay calm and keep your dream in mind. At the end of the day, you’re going to be the one somewhere a lot sunnier, or more scenic, than the office.

5)     Explain it all carefully to family.For me, telling friends was easy, but telling my family wasn’t. There were tears, but after I calmly told them my reasons, they did come around to it. They didn’t want me to go, but they understood my personal reasons for going.


At the end of the day, you have to follow your heart, and those that care about you will understand. Stay in contact whilst you’re away, promise to call x amount of times per week, and just be open and honest about the whole thing.

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