Telling Your Friends & Family You’ll be Leaving for a Life of Full-time Travel

The best advice we can give you on how to break the news to friends and family that you'll be leaving for a life on the road.

an old brass doorknob on an old wooden door


Photo by Stephen Grebinski

You’ve made it, the big decision. You didn’t renew your lease, or you’ve put your house up for sale. You put in your notice at work and are well on your way to your own reliable income stream. You know where you want to go and how you plan to get there.

Now there’s just that little matter of telling your mom.

Whether you’re 18 or 35, this can be tough. Not everyone will want to hear your story of hitting the mental lottery, nor will they necessarily see it that way. So how do you approach people you love and tell them, “Hey, I’m so excited to be leaving this place we all call home for a life of travel!” without sounding like you’re saying “Later, suckers, I’d rather be living in a tent in Cabo than spend another day in this hell hole.”?

Good question.

It wasn’t easy for me when I first had to tell my parents that I’d be leaving, with their only grandchild, for destinations that would mean months or years away at a time, sometimes two or more airplane flights distance from them. I thought about it considerably, what I would say, how I would say it.

And then it struck me. This is something I felt was necessary to move my life forward, to provide the best possible life for myself and my son. To show him that we are not put on this world strictly to advance the machinery of society, but that we can listen to the strings being plucked by the pumping of our blood through our hearts and dance the nights away to that tune. If these friends I was worried about disappointing couldn’t understand that, if my own family couldn’t, then that would simply be an eyeopener into which people in my life are there out of love and support, and which might not be the worst folks to bid a fair weather farewell and leave it at that.

I can now count the people I truly consider friends on my fingers with plenty of room left to collect a few more down the road, and as for family? While there have been disagreements, no one was been estranged, and when we do get together there’s a true feeling of happiness to see one another. It’s nice to know who is really what in your life, and there’s no easier way to find out if someone is with you or not than by removing yourself from there everyday presence.

The ones that keep in touch are the ones worth altering your route for the next time you’re in their corner of the universe.