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7 Lies We Tell Our Parents Before We Move Abroad

by Cathy Brown Nov 17, 2014
1. I’ve got enough saved to live comfortably until I get settled in.

Little does mom know that your idea of ‘comfortable’ is Couchsurfing and raiding your host’s fridge for food the second they go to work.

2. I still need all of this stuff I am cramming into your closets/attic/basement/garage.

I call bullshit. You are attached to it emotionally. You do not need it. There is a world of difference between the two. I wager that you will not care about all of your old belongings when you are halfway around the world, perfectly happy (and probably even happier than ever) living with 5% of your previous possessions. A few boxes of old photos and a few keepsakes you want to keep in mom’s attic, fine. But when you come back, (if you come back!), you will probably shake your head in disbelief at the stupid stuff that at one time you could not part with.

Do your family a favor, bite the bullet, and part with as much as possible before your trip. They might love you to death, but not even family enjoys babysitting all of your shit.

3. I NEED to move for look for better work opportunities.

Let’s be honest, work opportunities are wherever you make the opportunity, and if you really wanted to, you could try hard and make something happen anywhere in the world. You are moving because you want to move and experience new things. It’s okay, we get it. If the work excuse makes you feel somehow more responsible, roll with it. No judgment here.

4. When I return, I’ll start up right where I left off.

Maybe so, probably no. One thing is pretty much guaranteed — you won’t come back the same person. Travel and living abroad inevitably makes you grow and see things in a different way, and gives you different priorities. You probably inherently know this, and, consciously or not, it’s part of the reason that you are traveling in the first place.

5. Having lived abroad will give me skills that will look great on my resume.

Language skills, maybe? Yeah…after four years of Spanish class in high school, you aren’t even able to order your own taco and beer at the Mexican restaurant, shedding doubt on your ability to come back fluent from where you are going. Your life aspirations at this point include surfing, local microbrews, and Brazilians. Who are you kidding? You will never be interested in the kind of job that actually requires a resume.

6. We can Skype every day!

Yes, you ‘can.’ That doesn’t mean you will. In the beginning, maybe. After the first week or month, not so much. There perhaps might come a point when putting a ‘like’ on your nephew’s Facebook post counts as good enough, because your parents will see it and know you aren’t dead, right?

7. I’ll be back home in one year.

Unless you fall in love with an Argentine and move to Buenos Aires. Or you decide to live out a childhood fantasy and join the circus on the road in Romania, because, well, you now can. Or you don’t do shit for the first 11.5 months of your trip besides drink beer on the beach, and you realize that there are still things that you actually want to do and see in your new country. Or you came to the realization that everyone in your family is an negative, dream-killing, soul-sucking bastard and you are quite enjoying your newfound space from them. Or you aren’t even close to being able to afford the plane ticket back home, and you realize the cost of the return flight could be spent bumming around for another year where you are if you are frugal. Or the thought of going back to your university or cubicle job back home makes you feel like vomiting. Or your sense of ‘home’ now has nothing to do with your old home. These things happen.

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