[My moroccan friends just said this could be a Bob Marley's song, but no, it's a true story.]
My parents were able to give me the education I needed to solve many situations in my life. They taught me that If I want to be respected, I gotta respect others. They showed me how important are values and how to live in a society. They gave me freedom... maybe too much freedom.
I have two hometowns: Loulé and Quarteira. Can't choose one. Since I born I lived in both places. In Loule during weekdays, school was there. Quarteira every weekend, holidays and school vacations. This means I travel since ever and are used to move and have tons of friends, everywhere.
In 2007 I finished College but I didn't want to stay in Portugal. I traveled Europe on a InterRail that Summer and I knew that from that moment my life would change. I figured out traveling was my lifestyle. I felt lost, where to go? what to do? For a week I searched on internet many projects and programs overseas until I found this International Learning Exchange called ILEX in the United States of America. It was exactly what I needed: One year, working on my degree as a Social Worker, with a $900 month salary, House and Bills paid. Perfect!
The moment I talked with my parents about this situation was rough. I was leaving home to live in another country and finally get my independence. But how you gonna tell this to closed minded parents? First I talked with my brother, no matter what, even if he doesn't understand my behavior sometimes, he always supports me. But if it was a crazy idea he would tell me straight. He encouraged me to talk with them so here we go!
When I told about the program, as soon as I said it was in USA my dad got excited, he's this kind of dad who thinks that getting good money means a better future and his fave countries for migration are USA or Australia, so he thought that after one year I'd decide to just move there forever. Cool! But my mother was pretty negative about the idea: "This program is fake and you will get kidnapped", "How will you get the money to book the flights and live one month there?", "One year away isn't it too long?"
I understand she was worried, her
crazy only daughter was about to leave her nest. It took days of talking about the subject, she was always "no, no, no" until I looked into her eyes and asked if she want my happiness. Obviously she answered "yes" and I said "I'm a bird, let me fly". Since then she changed her mind and supported me but we made a "contract" that I would send her a sms every 2 days saying I'm alive and talk on skype once a week. Deal! I'm pretty bad keeping in touch but I knew mom would drive insane so I did my part the whole year.
Same happened when I told her: "Hey mom, I'm going backpack alone in Asia. Don't worry I heard is safe." She froze for 3 seconds and then she asked me if it was for real and why does she have the craziest daughter in the world? It's hard to understand my lifestyle when we live in a society where you study, find a job and buy a house. This thing doesn't fit in the way I see happiness. But, in the other side you just can't say to another person "you can't do this" when is something that she/he really wanna do! It's like taking someone else freedom to express themselves or simply erase their dreams.
Now a days mom respects my lifestyle of traveling but she doesn't understand. It became so usual that when I say I'm going somewhere she says ok with a smile. Basically, I educated my parents. Dad is still trying to make me move to USA or Australia :)
Everyday of my life I'm thankful for the parents I have, part of me is them.