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Grandparenting

My Granddaughter's going away

(42 Posts)
BeeGran Fri 26-Jan-18 09:46:12

Hello, I'm new on here. Just found the site but it looks really interesting.
My much beloved granddaughter whom I am very close to has decided to leave her very promising job and take a year off to go travelling. She's young (23) and I know so many young people do this and I used to be a keen traveller myself. But I can't help feeling this horrible dread that something will happen to her while she is away. She's travelling on her own and although she's very sensible..I'm terrified I admit. I wouldn't dream of raining on her enthusiasm though but doesn't anyone have any experience of this? Or advice on how to handle it? Or tips for keeping her safe I could subtly pass on? Her mum (my daughter) definitely doesn't have the same adventurous gene - made my parenting much easier in many ways! I do see a lot of myself in my granddaughter so maybe I know all too well the scrapes she could find herself in.

gillybob Fri 26-Jan-18 09:58:15

www.gapyear.com/articles/149061/backpacking-tips-for-girls

Some very useful information on this site BeeGran perhaps you could send her the link.

I hope she has the best time. smile

Alidoll Fri 26-Jan-18 10:27:18

Why don't you ask her to Skype you from different destinations so you can talk to her and check she's ok. Perhaps offer to buy her the phone / tablet to keep in touch and say you'd be excited to here about her adventures...

Alidoll Fri 26-Jan-18 10:27:56

Hear not here (autocorrect fail!

Anniebach Fri 26-Jan-18 10:35:30

Beegran, I so sympathise with you, I went into panic mode when my granddaughters went to university - 50 miles from me, you can keep in touch x

Missfoodlove Fri 26-Jan-18 10:36:38

My son volounteered in India at the age of 18 so I understand how you feel.
I insisted on having access to his bank account so in an emergency I could deal with the call centres etc.
We paid for comprehensive health cover.
We had a scanned copy of his passport and so did he.
We made sure he had the details of the British Embassy and also knew the emergency dialling code!
He has a severe penicillin allergy so he carried a medical card with him.
He was fine despite no running water or proper sanitation.
He returned to the UK after 6 months then went to work in Kyrgyzstan for the same organisation.
After his year out he started university in the Czech Republic and after 3 years now has a great job and life in Prague.
The travel gave him a huge amount of self confidence and helped mature him.
I doubt he would have been as happy or as successful if he had stayed in the UK.
My other less adventurous son got totally drunk in London and fell causing him to nearly lose an eye, he was operated on by one of the UK’s best surgeons and is thankfully OK so the reality is accidents can happen anywhere.
I hope your granddaughter has a fabulous trip

Nonnie Fri 26-Jan-18 10:52:28

I think Missfood has some great ideas.

Groovygran Fri 26-Jan-18 10:53:29

I sympathise with you too, but it seems that as soon as you have a child, a lifetime of anxiety begins. Such is life. I left England at age 19 and came to Australia, nonchalantly waving everyone goodbye. At age 71 I know now how my parents must have felt, and they only got a blue Aerogram letter once a month. When my daughter now in her 30s recently took holidays in Vietnam and Cambodia I felt as you do now. But daily texts are a brilliant quick way of getting reassurance, and it doesn't have to be an epic story, just a quick photo and message. And remember, for every horrific story that gets into the papers, millions of people travel safely.

NemosMum Fri 26-Jan-18 10:55:26

In all likelihood she will be fine, and have a great time. She will learn so much too. My younger daughter took off to Oz and NZ for 15 months when she was 22. Communication then was not what it is now, so I just had to wait for the odd phone call. She had some tricky times and she learnt that if you don't work, you don't eat, and so much else besides. As Mark Twain said, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness". DD has travelled many times since to SE Asia and lots of other places. She has a travel blog and her own business in web-marketing which have arisen from this early experience. You have said your granddaughter is a sensible young woman. My advice to you would be to take courage and think of the immense benefits to her of traveling. Of course, you will miss her, but communication is so much better now. When my DD was in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos recently, she was able to FaceTime me a couple of times a week from her phone, so I could see where she was and just chat. Quite frankly, I heard more from her than when she was living in London. Your DGD will be able to do the same. Be excited for her and try not to worry!

Kim19 Fri 26-Jan-18 11:17:00

Groovygran, how heartily I agree with you in that the joy of parenthood has undertones of anxiety from beginning to end. The secret is to control and never air them and live with a totally positive attitude even when the going gets rough. Would certainly change a few of the decisions they have made (as my Mother would have done too) but not for one minute regret having them anxiety and all. Some package eh?!9

Ruthyo Fri 26-Jan-18 11:17:03

When my daughter went off travelling to less developed countries, I bought her a sterile medical kit to take with her for use in emergencies. Thankfully it was never used but it gave me some piece of mind. We'll always worry though, we wouldn't be caring parents/grandparents if we didn't!

tanyaswisse Fri 26-Jan-18 11:26:55

I do feel for you as I know it is difficult not to worry about them. My daughter and family (two grandchildren) are leaving the UK and emigrating to the States on Wednesday next week, and we are devastated. Being in our 70's we wonder how many more times we will see them, and it is very hard. They are retired (early) and dont have to work but think life will be better in the US. They are excited about their new life, and we are so upset. The doctor has prescribed me anti depressants but I am loathe to take tablets having read bad press on them. Any help in coping with this would be appreciated.

Telly Fri 26-Jan-18 11:50:00

Well guess its our job to worry. But on the plus side she is 23 and not 18 so will have some experience of the world. I think its brilliant that she has such confidence.

anitamp1 Fri 26-Jan-18 11:57:15

BeeGran. I would feel exactly as you do. But I respect the adventurous spirit of the youngsters today. If you know what countries she is going to look at the government/travel sites advice for travelling in that country and make sure she reads it. Make sure she has a well paid mobile phone contract so she won't run out of money. Beyond that, I think you have to rely on her common sense. And bear in mind that many many young girls go travelling every year and have a fab safe time. We only hear about the tragic cases, but they are extremely rare, and let's face it, bad stuff happens in the UK too.

Smithy Fri 26-Jan-18 12:38:28

I know exactly how you feel, my heart sank to my boots 15 years ago when my daughter, having ended a relationship and hired with her job, announced she was off to the other side of the world. I knew she was sensible but you can't help but worry. She went to Fiji, NZ, Oz and then Thailand on the way back and had an amazing time. I was lucky, I flew out to join her in Oz for 3 weeks and loved every minute of it. We kept in touch by good old email - how did we manage withiut it. So give her your blessing, try not to worry (hard I know) and keep in touch with her all the time if possible.

Smithy Fri 26-Jan-18 12:39:13

Meant bored with her job!

Eglantine21 Fri 26-Jan-18 13:08:27

I've done lots of travelling since I retired and my experience is that the world is a much, much safer and more pleasant place than the news media would have you believe.
Don't look at the news!

I have had such a good time and if my children worried about me I am thankful that they kept it to themselves.

I would say don't expect regular, frequent contact. Sometimes it's not that easy when you're on the move and frankly sometimes the expectation can be a stress and a burden.

That sounds a bit harsh but part of the joy of travelling is that sense of freedom!

BlueBelle Fri 26-Jan-18 13:45:16

I totally feel for you A young lady or even a guy travelling solo is very very different to a family moving away or a child going off to uni it’s even different to a group of young people going travelling I would be worried sick and I m the greatest advocate in young people being adventurous and seeing the world I did it myself at 19 but it was to join a husband !
There is nothing you can do accept hold your breathe and hope all goes well My granddaughter mid teens is always talking about ‘when she goes travelling’ but so far there is always a friend mentioned too so I can only hope. It’s the solo bit that would worry me but as others have said the chances are high that she will be absolutely fine and a lot richer for it but huge empathy for you

BeeGran Fri 26-Jan-18 14:29:12

That is a comprehensive and very handy list, thank you MissFoodGran. I will heed all this wonderful advice and prep as best I can for her amazing adventure. She was talking about doing a blog too so there will hopefully be regular updates. And Tanyaswisse - I am sorry to hear your loved ones are moving away. Life can be so hard sometimes. I'm sure they will miss you dreadfully too. We just need to make a huge effort to keep in touch.

Coconut Fri 26-Jan-18 16:45:53

I felt this way years ago when my son travelled around Thailand and Australia. Talk to her, tell her all your fears and just make sure that she is 100% street savvy and aware of all scenarios of being alone, trusting others, where to go for help etc Can you fly out and join her for a holiday ? When you watch films like Taken, Hostel etc it puts the fear of hell inside you. However, realistically 1000’s of kids do this all the time and came home safe and sound. I feel for you 💐

newnanny Fri 26-Jan-18 17:10:37

Also tell her to be very careful of pickpockets especially in tourist destinations. Keep her money and cards separate. Ig her travel involves staying in hostels she will need a couple of padlocks one for rucksack and one for locker. Make sure you have her bank details and can pay in emergency cash if she needs it. Make sure she has comprehensive health insurance.

moobox Fri 26-Jan-18 17:18:00

Yes, make sure of the insurance. My DD had her smear the week before she left, and I had to wake her up in NZ with the news that she should have precautionary treatment. I said to have it there or come home, so she had it out there, but these things become a more of a huge thing when they are so far away

Grannyknot Fri 26-Jan-18 17:18:24

Beegran you've had lots of advice on here and some good tips. I think asking her to check in with you daily is a bit much (or setting any sort of target for contact). I say this because I was on the other end of that stick when a friend visited and was constantly checking her phone to see whether her daughter (far away) had contacted her - and then fretting when she didn't. It was a pain in the bum to be around her if I'm honest. I thought Whatever happened to no news is good news?

Just because we now have the technology to constantly be in touch, that doesn't mean we have to use it.

Trust the Universe - and your granddaughter.

Oldcroc17 Fri 26-Jan-18 17:18:25

My son and daughter both went travelling and I felt / feel the same as my son is now back but my daughter is still on her travels. Sometimes I’ve felt she’s been safer in certain places than if she’d stayed in London. I gave her a 5/7 day rule, that is I want some communication every 5 days and if it got to 7 days I would be worrying. It never got to 7 days! She has made LOADS of friends and never seemed to be on her own.

Morgana Fri 26-Jan-18 18:07:27

D.S. went on his own and had a whale of a time. Few tricky times. Told him to make sure he guarded his passport and his ticket back with his life. Made sure we had accounts at same bank so I could top up his account immediately. D.H
always says he went off a boy and came back a man! Wish her well, don't cry when you see her off and trust her to return safely.