“Don’t tell my mom.” The default response any time you know you’re about to do something stupid and/or life threatening. It also seems to be something travelers frequently utter….right after they finish telling that story about the time they hitchhiked across the Sinai or went on a skiing trip in Afghanistan. Finding that line between leaving your loved ones in the dark or in a perpetual state of worry can be difficult, but your mom has a right to know before you get on a plane to some distant and potentially dangerous location. Here are some helpful tips on breaking the news.
I like to ply my mom with mimosas before I sit down and tell her I’m moving back to the Middle East. After the third one, she’s usually telling me that she’s really going to come visit this time.
Sometimes it just takes a little perspective. Consider this exchange:
You: Hi, Mom! Guess what? I’m going to go on a climbing trip to Afghanistan.
Mom: ::more silence::
You: Just kidding. I’m going to run a marathon in Morocco. But doesn’t it sound way better now?
Mom: I’m going to kill you.
You: But you’re okay with me going to Morocco, right?
If you really are going on a climbing trip to Afghanistan, skip down.
Tell Her You Have Emergency Insurance
Covers injuries in conflict zones, emergency evacuations, and kidnapping. Get it. Your mom will thank you.
Let Her Vent
Be prepared to spend part of the conversation with her expressing her irritation with your propensity to make her worry. She will probably hold you personally responsible for any gray hairs. Be warned: expressing irritation may also encompass throwing things at your head.
Send a Detailed Itinerary
This may or may not make her any less worried, but at least she’ll know where you’ll be and when you’ll be there. Providing the phone numbers for any hostels or hotels is always a nice gesture.
Call Her Often
If you can add a world traveling plan to your existing phone, that’s the way to go. It’s expensive as all hell, but being able to periodically text your mom from halfway around the world is worth a few extra bucks. Otherwise think calling cards or buying a SIM card as soon as you land.
She wants you to be safe so let her buy you one of these snazzy bullet proof jackets and then promise you’ll wear it.